Weekly Health Tip: The Winter Blues

Brought to you by Deepak Chopra, MD, Alexander Tsiaras, and TheVisualMD.com

 Have you had enough of winter? Are you ready for the golden days of spring and summer? The shorter days from December to March can bring the curtain down on our moods and well-being. Some people experience a distinct form of depression in winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The disorder is rooted in the interplay between our natural circadian rhythms, the brain chemical melatonin, and the warmth and light of the sun. Melatonin is secreted by the brain’s pineal gland, highlighted above in red. The absence of sunlight triggers melatonin production, so most melatonin is naturally produced at night when we are sleeping. When someone is in darkness for longer than usual, it can result in an overproduction of melatonin, which can lead to symptoms of depression. People affected by SAD want to shut down, and spend far more time sleeping. They crave sweet and starchy foods, so many gain weight during the winter. What else is affected by sunlight and warmth? Our circadian rhythms, which control our sleep-wake cycle among other daily cycles. In sleep studies, the moods of many subjects seem to follow the circadian clock, being at the lowest most depressed level when the body’s temperature is lowest, and improving as temperature increases. For most SAD sufferers, the return of sunlight and warmer temperatures brings the return of energy and a positive outlook on life.

Learn more about the positive health effects of joy:

TheVisualMD.com: Embrace Joy

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Deepak Chopra

About Deepak Chopra

Time Magazine heralded Deepak Chopra as one of the 100 heroes and icons of the century, and credited him as "the poet-prophet of alternative medicine." Entertainment Weekly described Deepak Chopra as "Hollywood's man of the moment, one of publishing's best-selling and most prolific self-help authors." He is the author of more than 50 books and more than 100 audio, video and CD-Rom titles. He has been published on every continent and in dozens of languages. Fifteen of his books have landed on the New York Times Best-seller list. Toastmaster International recognized him as one of the top five outstanding speakers in the world. Through his over two decades of work since leaving his medical practice, Deepak continues to revolutionize common wisdom about the crucial connection between body, mind, spirit, and healing. His mission of "bridging the technological miracles of the west with the wisdom of the east" remains his thrust and provides the basis for his recognition as one of India's historically greatest ambassadors to the west. Chopra has been a keynote speaker at several academic institutions including Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Business School and Wharton.His latest book is "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul."

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