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Things Only People With Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Understand

Things Only People With Seasonal Affective Disorder Can Understand

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common disorder that affects approximately one in every 30 Americans, which adds up to the entire population of Michigan. Rosie O’ Donnell is known for famously voicing her struggles with SAD. This seasonal depression is often caused by a lack of sunlight and can be worse during the winter months when the days are shorter.

There can be a lot of stigma around SAD due to lack of understanding and just writing it off simply as “winter blues,” but it is crucial to go see a professional if you suspect you might be suffering. Here are some other things associated with SAD that are simply not true.

SAD is interchangeable with the “winter blues”

During the winter, it can be quite common for individuals to feel a change in their mood and loss of energy due to the sun setting earlier and the temperature getting colder. SAD does not fall into the same category. It should be thought of as a very real illness that requires medical attention.

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A person suffering from SAD often cannot recover from feeling down like a person who has the winter blues can by simply changing their scenery or being motivated to do something that they like. It often takes professional counseling, medication, and phototherapy (exposing patients to light to increase melatonin and serotonin levels).

SAD only can happen during the wintertime

It is most common to hear about SAD occurring during the winter months, but there is also a less common type of SAD that happens during the spring and summer months. The triggers for this type of SAD are attributed to warmer weather, humidity, and a change in schedules (especially if you have kids).

Individuals who experience this version of SAD often go through the same symptoms of anxiety and depression as those who suffer in the wintertime, but can instead have an increase in appetite and sexual arousal.

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SAD sufferers also have general depression

Those individuals who are affected by SAD are not depressed year-round — in fact, they cannot be diagnosed with SAD if this is the case.

Once someone with SAD goes through a depressive cycle, they are able to bounce back to their old selves again. In order to be properly diagnosed, you have to be able to recover from these depressive bouts and have them around the same time for two consecutive years.

SAD sufferers are only adults

Like general depression, children can be affected with SAD as well as adults can. The symptoms can be similar to those of adults, where children act withdrawn, have unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite, excessive sleeping, and trouble paying attention.

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It is important to recognize these signs and not mistake SAD for general moodiness in a child. The most important thing for a parent to do for a child who is suffering from this disorder is to be supportive and patient. Offering a helping hand with homework, cooking them healthy meals, or setting aside extra quality time to talk is invaluable.

SAD sufferers are only women

It is commonly known that 90 percent of SAD sufferers are women, but individuals from any background, gender, or age can develop SAD. Although men are less at risk, they usually suffer from more severe symptoms.

This disorder can happen to anyone at any age, but studies have shown that younger people are more prone to developing SAD. Individuals who live further from the equator and experience bigger extremes between light and dark hours are more likely to be susceptible. One more contributor to the likeliness of having SAD is genetics, where individuals who have had family members that have suffered are more likely to be afflicted with the disorder as well.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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