I don’t know about you, but even when everything is going right in my life, I can get a little down at this time of year. It can be down right depressing to leave the office at 5 and have it be dark out already.
You probably already know that this is called SAD, short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Though the shorter days are a definite for the next few months, SAD doesn’t have to be. Here are five things that make us happier, courtesy of Dr. Josie Howard, psychologist and Simple Skincare Advisory Board Member.
1. Touch/physical intimacy. This can be as simple as a hug from a friend or a massage. The body releases oxytocin, which is a neuropeptide associated with empathy and compassion, in response to touch. “Feelings of greater compassion and motivation towards cooperation in turn bring us closer,” she says. Offer to give a friend a hand massage using a lotion like Simple Skincare Hydrating Light Moisturizer and you’ll both get a boost.
2. Nature. Take every chance you can get to be around trees, flowers, and nature and work on increasing your mindfulness of these experiences by tuning in to all your senses—sight, smell, touch, sounds, suggests Dr. Howard. (That’s why I like to exercise outdoors.)
3. Music and sound Turning down the volume on our thinking, analytic minds and turning up the volume of pleasurable sounds can lead to positive feelings of joy and relaxation, says Dr. Howard. Unlike #2, this is fabulously portable—and may also result in some dancing too.
4. Social connection Spending time with your family, friends, and loved ones and actively nurture these relationships. “Focusing one’s attention on others can be incredibly healing and grounding,” she says.
5. Finding meaning in life. This doesn’t mean you have to find the meaning of life, simply an activity that full engages you, she says. “It often involves components of engagement and flow–like how a great athlete is when at peak performance. “For me, this involves volunteering at a dog shelter. I can be distracted by a million things, but as soon as I arrive at the shelter, I am fully present with my canine friends and completely lose track of time and worries. Moreover, every time I go, I feel an immediate sense of accomplishment and contribution.”
What makes you happy? I would love to know!
This post was created in connection with my appointment as an ambassador in the Simple® Skincare Program. Visit www.facebook.com/SimpleSkincare to share your story on sensitive skin.