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Often called the winter blues or seasonal depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can actually occur during any season. It is a more common affliction than most people realize and affects millions.

Causes

There is no exact cause known for the disorder. Yet, most experts agree that it is connected with changing seasons, shorter days, and lower light levels. Our natural circadian rhythm is also thrown out of whack whenever we don’t follow a normal day to night routine. This is quite common for people working the night shift and sleeping during daylight hours.

The amount of light we are exposed to every day has a direct effect on our body’s chemistry. A connection to the level of substances such as melatonin and serotonin has been found. Melatonin affects our sleep patterns and serotonin balances our moods. Patients suffering from SAD often have diminished amounts of both.

Risks

Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect anyone, but women seem to be more susceptible to it than men. The largest population age-wise that appears to be affected are mid-teens to late fifties. Studies have shown that the chances of people getting SAD for the first time goes down as they get older.

It has been found to run in families so if a close relative has SAD, it is likely that you might also experience it. It is also clear that the farther away from the equator a person lives, the higher their chances are of having SAD. They are exposed to even less sunlight than those in closer proximity to the sun’s rays.

Symptoms

Because having the winter blues is essentially a form of depression, many of the symptoms can be the same or similar. Those with bipolar disorder can also be affected adversely from SAD. Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Low energy, feeling sluggish
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Feelings of depression all day, every day
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Easily becoming agitated
  • Craving and eating more carbohydrates
  • Loss of interest or joy in activities you once loved
  • Feeling hopeless, guilty, or worthless
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts or death fantasies

It is always a good idea to contact your doctor if you are having any types of the symptoms listed above. Medical professionals can do tests to rule out things such as thyroid issues or other health concerns. A mental health evaluation can be useful. It may help determine if it is just SAD that you are dealing with or something more serious.

Therapies

The most common therapy for treating SAD is getting more light into your life. Getting out into the sunshine is one of the top prescriptions for SAD. In areas that receive extraordinary amounts of rain and gray days, this may seem impossible – but it’s not. There are many products on the market that can mimic sunlight and help your body adjust.

Most doctors will prescribe light therapy or phototherapy. This is the practice of sitting in front of a special light box that emits a powerful fluorescent light. It is said to be more than 20 times brighter than normal light found indoors. Researchers claim that the extra light stimulates the body to produce more serotonin. This, in turn, elevates your mood. Lightbox therapy is usually an ongoing treatment and not something that is a quick fix.

There are several medications that may also be prescribed for this type of depression. They will vary with the type of symptoms you exhibit as well as with each individual doctor. Different drugs have a wide variety of side effects so be sure to do your research before beginning any new prescriptions.

Get Out and About

If you think there is a chance you might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, you can do several things to help your body adjust to the shorter, darker days of winter.

Get outside as much as possible and seek that sunshine. Exercise and get the blood flowing even if it is just walking in your sleeping garden. Finally, try to get as much rest and sleep as your body needs. These simple things can improve your mood as well as your overall health and help you fight those winter blues.

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Not Accomplishing Your Business Goals? Here’s Why

No doubt, you have a business goal. Maybe you want to start a company or write a book. You think about your goal often, but don’t turn your dream into a reality. You imagine you’ll take action one day, but that day never comes. Sound familiar? You can be sure there’s a reason you’re not accomplishing your aim.

Your beliefs hold you back

Limiting beliefs will stop you moving ahead if you don’t smash them. First, though, you need to recognize them. Typical examples of views that prevent people reaching their goals include not being intelligent enough and not having time. The truth is that you are sufficiently bright and you can fit your ambition into your life.

Examine your beliefs about money, time, success, and your ability to achieve your goal. Ask yourself if your views are realistic and where you got them. You may have picked them up from the mistaken ideas of others. Or, you may have undervalued your resources and talents. Consider the concept that nothing can stop you moving ahead. Look at reasons you can carry out your business aims rather than looking for setbacks.

You fear failure

Sure, it’s safe in your comfort zone. From a place of comfort, you can kid yourself you will achieve your goal in the future. You never will, though, if you worry about failing and what people think of you. Bear in mind successful business people make mistakes. Most of them fail many times before reaching the top of the ladder; this is how they learn. Change your attitude toward making errors. Choose to see getting things wrong as lessons that help you flourish.

It’s too much effort

There’s no getting around it; accomplishing your business goal requires sacrifice. You might have to reduce your social life and relaxation time. Additionally, you will need to expend energy. None of these things sound like fun. However, you have to take action to get what you want. Think about how things will change for the better when you carry out your business aim. You might have a better quality of life, more income, and greater satisfaction. Aren’t such benefits worth the effort?

Disorganization

Perhaps you have taken steps toward your business goal but haven’t got far. You’ve tentatively looked at how to move ahead but not developed a plan. If so, it’s time to make a serious commitment. You’ll benefit from creating a timeframe in which you expect to make progress. Also, aim to shift closer to success each day, and you’ll advance.

You might not have accomplished your business goal yet, but you can change matters. Smash limiting beliefs and develop the courage to climb outside your comfort zone. Also, commit to your aim and plan how you will succeed. Remember how you’ll benefit, and you’ll stop daydreaming.


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