Coping with Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder
By Lynn Shaw, Laugh Therapist
"I'm gonna laugh that gray right out of my day."
remember the commercial with the theme song, "I'm going to wash that gray
right out of my hair" - or the South Pacific musical song, "I'm gonna
wash that man right out of my head," then you'll know the tune to the
opening sentence. Wouldn't it be wonderful to just laugh and wash away the
blues? It really can be that simple; yet for many this time of year, the idea of
a ho ho ho during the holidays is reserved for the commercials and ringing
For some, the month of December is a time to hibernate and avoid the family
gatherings - or memories of missing family members. Of particular concern is the
arrival of the winter doldrums often identified as Seasonal Affective Disorder
also known as a three-letter word: SAD. The symptoms of SAD may include
increased eating, craving carbohydrates, increased sleep, experiencing chronic
fatigue, and increased weight gain. These symptoms are not the same as
overindulging on the holiday feasts, waddling over to the chair and dropping
into a post-meal nap and snore. On the contrary, SAD can last for weeks and may
greatly impact finding the joy in the holidays.
Treatment for SAD may include light therapy with a light box, counseling and
evaluation for other resources and support. The good news about SAD is that many
find relief and their symptoms abate with the signs of longer days and warmer
weather. As a suggestion for those who may be experiencing winter doldrums now,
I offer you this short meditation.
Begin by focusing on the word, joy. Say it softly. Joy. Say it again...Joy. Then
inhale the fragrance of joy, the sounds of joy, and the spirit of joy. Breathe.
Say the word, joy. Now imagine that joy has a laughing sound. You make it up.
Go with the first sound that comes. Now, instead of saying the word, joy, laugh
the word. Ha Ha, Ho Ho, Hee, Hee, Hee, Joy Ho Ho. What does your laughing joy
sound like? Even if you have to simulate it, go ahead. Your body will respond
as if your genuine laugh is in the joy sounds. As you lean into this experience,
let yourself visualize your laughing joy as your light therapy. Rejoice in how
empowering it is to generate the light you need and notice… it began with a
different three-letter word…JOY.
Lynn Shaw resides in Indiana and is the creator and
instructor of the Self-Healing Expressions course
Laughter for the Healing Heart
Learn more about Lynn and her course here:
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