Anticipating Winter with Dread?

Winter Image BlogWe’re getting into that season of dark, winter days. Or are we?

It’s easy to focus on the dark, cloudy days but most winters include many, many sunshiny ones. And, there are many, many days when the weather is mild.

Yes, I know, it isn’t tropically warm but it IS comfortable when we’re dressed for it. Are you the type of person who focuses on the negative — both in weather and in other parts of life? Or do you focus on the positive? If not, notice: You CAN train yourself to see and appreciate the sunshiny and mild weather” in this world.

It is really up to you. It’s impossible for someone else to do it for you. Most of you can choose to feel more cheerful a good deal of the time by altering your expectations and view of the world. It may take a little time but IT CAN BE DONE! We all know there are “winter days” in our lives. So why are we surprised by them? Why do we allow them to interfere so much with the pleasure of people and activities in our lives?

Sure, we all wish for everything to go well for ourselves and those for whom we care. BUT IT IS JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN 100% OF THE TIME — RIGHT?! So, get real! Take the time out to pay attention to the good things that happen to you. And, find ways to make the best of the bad things.

I know, some of you out there are saying as you read this: How can she say that; she doesn’t know what sickness and loss and financial problems and relationship problems are. BELIEVE ME, I DEFINITELY DO!

Have I sometimes cried? Have I sometimes felt sorry for myself? Yes, and yes. But, do I often take responsibility for enjoying the small things in life — YOU BET! It didn’t come naturally; I developed this ability over time — quite a bit of time.

I know that some of you out there suffer from Clinical Depression, maybe even S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But, even those of you with these unfortunate conditions can find ways to feel better. Get the medical help you need. There is medication that can improve your mood, often “talk therapy” and light boxes help. There are a myriad of books with suggestions on ways to help yourself as well. A new one that I like is Undoing Depression by a therapist who has helped himself with his own major depression, Richard O’Connor, Ph.D.

But many of you have no diagnosable depressive disorder. You just find it hard to feel as good when it is cold and dark as when it is spring, summer or fall.

Well, to you I also say: Make some choices. Brighten up your mood in small ways. A few colorful flowers, friends over to play board games, music, a romantic candlelight dinner, exercise (for an “endorphin-high”), putting on clothes you like (bright colors?), taking a bubble bath, listening to a relaxation tape, practicing with some new makeup or your golf swing, calling someone to whom you haven’t spoken in a long time (maybe even someone with whom you’d like to patch up a disagreement — take the risk—it may turn out very well — and if it doesn’t you can handle it), turn on a lot of bright lights (There are well-documented cases of light being a mood-lifter), take up a winter sport.

So, take a few minutes at least once a day to reflect on the positive parts of the day: your schedule went according to plan, people paid you compliments, you were pleased with the outcome of a project, your dinner tasted good, you laughed at a joke, your headache went away. And do some things that make you feel good.

No one can do it for you. Why feel bad when you could feel better? Don’t wallow in self-pity. Take charge of your “winter.” As an added benefit, your physical health may be affected positively.

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