Feeling blue? Some of us notice that our mood becomes, well, less than sunny, when the days become shorter and the light wanes. This is known as S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder and up to 10% of folks in the U.S. have it. But you can take your cue from these smiling gingerbread folks and turn that frown upside down! Try these tips to feel better fast:
1. Get a sunshine alarm clock. It’s called a dawn simulator and the light that comes from it will wake you up naturally. This light stimulates the pineal gland to produce serotonin, a kind of “natural Prozac” which can help us feel happier. Serotonin also affects blood pressure, immunity, pain and daily body rhythms. Research shows that dawn simulators also help boost energy, productivity and quality of sleep. You may also want to use a bright light box for 2 to 3 hours in the morning as well. You can find more information at www.lighttherapyproducts.com.
2. Hit your yoga mat. Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine found that when volunteers practiced yoga it increased their GABA (gamma-aminobutyric) levels which can help ease depression and anxiety.
3. Go fish for essential nutrients. Eating fish and seafood can help banish the blues because they are full of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Choose cold water fish like cod, salmon and mackerel for the best benefit. Or you can take fish oil supplements, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), to improve the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Nordic Naturals is a good brand. Alan Logan, N.D., author of The Brain Diet and an invited faculty member of Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute suggests taking omega 3, folic acid, B12, selenium, and zinc together.