How to Be Happy in the Dark

How to Be Happy in the Dark

Its no secret that it’s starting to get darker earlier, and when you wake up its staying darker longer. This happens every year, yet I never seem to be ready for it. The dark is often accompanied by colder temperatures. The combination of the dark and the cold can lead to many people experiencing what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) or seasonal depression. If you have more trouble getting out of bed, avoid social interactions, find yourself eating more/less than usual or have feelings of heaviness or fogginess, you might be dealing with S.A.D.

Its more common than you may realize! Its been discovered that as many as one in every five people struggle with S.A.D. It’s a form of depression which has been closely correlated with a decrease in daylight and a change in your circadian rhythm. According to “American Family Physician” journal, the most common treatment for this is “light therapy”. This includes sitting in front of a special light or wearing a special visor with a light, which simulates the sunlight and helps to regulate your body’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for mood regulation, so sitting in front of the light can essentially lead to increased happiness!

You may also consider antidepressants or other medical treatment for S.A.D. as well. Oftentimes a combination of treatments are very effective. Meditation, regular exercise and positive thinking can help to improve your mood and reduce feelings of sadness or irritability. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution, but I suggest reaching out to your family doctor and getting into the gym as a good starting point.

If you’re reading this and think you may be struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, know that you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are there with you and there are effective treatment options. Keep your head up and see what works for you!

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Cameron Dennis

Physical therapist at Back on Track Therapy and Wellness

Wapakoneta, OH