Raising the Mood

Debby Downer

I won't lie. As soon as hints of winter arise, I become a Debby Downer. I don't like the cold, I don't like the dark and I don't like the wet. None of those things are my friends! As a result, I become a little bit melancholy after pretty soon after October.

I'm not the only one. I live in Washington State, and it is a not very wintery place. By that I mean we don't get the thick fluffly blankets of snow, or if we do, it doesn't last long and just turns to ice and nothing more. We get rain and slush. Many people in my hometown are pedestrians or bikers, and this weather just does not cut the mustard for non-driving traveling!

Washington and north depression rates are high in the winter. It is not uncommon to feel the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). For some it is mild, for others it is intense. I will stop you now, I have no answers for the intense symptoms. However, the general blues I can help you beat.

Tools to a Smile

Smiling
A simple thing one can do to be happier is to just smile. Even if you don't want to, even if you don't want any one else to see your smile, just smile. You can do this when you get up, when you go to bed, when you're in the bathroom, when you're walking your dog, when you're cooking lunch - any time! This doesn't mean smiling no matter what. If you find out you just got a pay cut or your dog got hit by a car - it is OK not to smile! What I mean is to make smiling a ritual and habit, something you can do without thinking.

Chin Up
Most people when they walk look toward the ground. This may not seem like anything significant. You many simply be ensuring your steady step, shielding your eyes from the brightness of the sky, or just feel awkward looking at the on-coming people. However, looking down can un-align your chakras, and disrupt the flow of energy, which can have an emotional effect.
As well as this, the sun, even through a duvet of clouds, enters in through your eyes, and stimulates the pineal gland, which is the gland that secretes hormones such as melatonin (when it's dark) and serotonin (your happy chemical). If the sun is unable to stimulate this gland then melatonin can be released, and serotonin will not be released.
Charlotte from Charlotte's Web had it right: "Chin up, it'll lighten up the darkest place!"

Plants
Plants in the house help to purify the energy and clear the air. They bring an element of life to a room, especially during the winter when the only green is the evergreens, and even they look a bit glum. Don't be afraid to have plants, even if you lack a green thumb.
Plants can also relax you and ensure you have a cleaner breathing environment, which is especially important if you live near a busy road. They take in the carbon dioxide we exhale and return it as nice clean oxygen. Having plants in the bedroom can also help to induce sleep!

What are your exercise solutions?

  • I jog
  • I go for walks
  • I go to the gym
  • I do yoga
  • I dance
  • I ride my bike
  • I do palates
  • other
See results without voting

Exercise
I am lazy. I will not be afraid to admit that. But, it is true that one can be happier the more active they are. This will bring blood flow to the brain and help one to perk up, be more alert, and get out of one's own head! It causes the brain to release endorphins which have a similar effect as morphine (though much healthier!).
Some good ways to ease into exercise, especially if you're a sloth like I am, are:

  • Walk everywhere, or at least, increase your walking destinations. This will work doubly to your advantage as it will cut back on car usage, thus gas usage, thus less money stress!
  • Yoga. Yoga is a very simple yet profoundly powerful exercise tool. It feels easy as you get into it, but the benefits are immense, as I will get into later.
  • Kitchen exercise. That sounds silly, I know! But it's simple. When you reach down to get that heavy caste iron pan, turn it into a squat. Then, "forget" the pan and stand back up, and go for it again. Repeat this a few times. When you go to reach for the bag of flour, put it on the counter, then put it away, put it on the counter, then put it away. Turning general activities into an exercise is a good way to get yourself pumped for a good work out later.

Eat it!
Ensuring a healthy diet is important not just to your body, but to your moods as well. When you get the nutrients you need, your body isn't working so hard to break your processed food down and sort out what can be used in the body and what needs to be going to waste. More energy is a good way to a good smile. I personally find a pint or two of fresh juice is a good way to get me going an happy.

Source

Fire
Lighting a candle can be beneficial. It is said that it is bad Feng Shui to have a room without a lit candle. I have found that the physical heat and the energetic warmth that it brings to be quite soothing, and I have always enjoyed scented candles as well. Simply watching the flame can be a means of centering the self and letting go of little stresses, and coming to understand the fragility of energy. Experiment and make sure there is a candle burning in the room you're in. Do not forget basic candle and fire safety!

Cleansing
This can mean cleansing the self, cleansing the house, or just generally cleaning! Negative energies hide in dark little nooks and crannies, and a clean atmosphere in all aspects can make a world of change in a mood! If your house is already clean, try smudging. This is the act of burning white sage and bringing it around the house, especially under cupboards, fireplaces, closets, under desks, and so on. This doesn't mean leave your burning sage there, but just making sure the smoke gets to these places. Another method is clapping three times in these places as well, or ringing a bell.
Self-cleansing can be as simple as a bath. See my Preparing for Ritual Hub for more details.

Adjust Your Expectations

There's no harm in aiming high - I'm a firm believer in shooting as far as you can, and seeing where you end up. However, be flexible with what you expect. It's alright for things to not turn out the way you planned them to. The fun of life is that you don't know where the road is going to take you. If you expect that you'll always be moving forward, and that life is a learning journey, then as long as you're learning along the way, you won't be let down.

Play
This sounds so simple, yet can be so difficult as adults! We forget what was so basic to us as children, the letting go of poise and just remembering how to have fun! This can be dancing, going to a park and getting on the jungle-gym (yes, I do mean playing in the park), having a silly game night with friends - anything. Just play.

Be Social
It's easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and not see your friends as much. But it can make a difference when you do, especially if it is regularly. Have a dinner night with your friends once a week, rotating who's house everyone makes dinner at. Have tea at a posh tea shop during a lunch break. Go to music shows and meet strangers!

Say Yes!

Don't Forget to Fly

A huge part of just being bummed out is being bored. Don't let yourself get bored! What have you been wanting to do all these years? Where did you hope to be at this age? Why aren't you there? Set yourself projects that get you excited. Plan a trip, take up a new hobby that you don't think you'll like. Try something new.

Imagination in the spice of life, so don't forget to put that thing to use!

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Comments 7 comments

Kerry43 4 years ago

Good afternoon, what a great hub about happiness. I am not like most people, my winter blues are actually summer blues.

It was good to see the physical act of smiling mentioned - most people are not aware that this increases brain activity in the relevant areas pertaining to happiness. I also employ the following, candles, exercise, and healthy diet.

Thank you for sharing.

Kez


ThompsonPen profile image

ThompsonPen 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA Author

I'm glad you enjoyed it! How odd that you get the summer blues! While the sun makes me sleepy, but it definitely has a positive effect on me.

One thing I did forget to mention is laughter too! While smiling is a good habit to get into and can trigger that brain activity, laughing can do just as much good.

Thanks for stopping by and reading!


moonfairy profile image

moonfairy 4 years ago

I'm from the Northeast and I have a hard time with winter as well. I make the best of it, like you and have found that the easiest way for me to feel good is to begin lighting low lights and candles as soon as twilight begins to descend. For me it's instant comfy cozy. I read more books and write more in the winter months, so it enables me to catch up on things that I've totally ignored during the warm months! Great hub and great advice!! voted up and useful.


ThompsonPen profile image

ThompsonPen 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA Author

Thanks so much! I find I definitely delve into more projects in the winter, I have to or my sanity!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

Great suggestions for helping beat the winter doldrums. I, too, have a tough time keeping my chin up when I am walking on snow and ice! Not just because it is impractical, but because I don't care for winter. Living in the upper Midwest doesn't help any. But at the same time, if we didn't have winter, I would miss it. Thanks for the tips!


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Lucky me, I've never had the seasonal spleen, except some time following an injury, but that's gone.

I've stayed with my interest, language. I always do some language things and they balance me. If I'm happy, I want my language thing. If I'm unhappy, I want my language thing. :)

I think that beside concerns such as the light, the scent, or physical exercise, it could be worthwhile to think about something intellective, something to enliven the brain. It could be philosophy, mathematics, whatever of interest. :)


visionandfocus profile image

visionandfocus 4 years ago from North York, Canada

I agree with plants helping to clean the air of toxins, but not all plants are suitable for the bedroom, so we should do some research before choosing which ones to place in which rooms. I don't have a green thumb, so I make sure I only get those that are more or less hardy. ;)

Winter is such a downer for so many people. And I agree that rain and slush can be worse than snow, though having said that, snow does stick around a lot longer. :0

Great hub! Voted up and interesting!

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