In Norway, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, there is no sun from late November through January. Yet, there is little incidence of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which affects almost 10% of people in northern New Hampshire, hundreds of miles to the south. Research indicates that an explanation of happiness in months of darkness is a positive winter mindset.
A study compared light therapy, similar to sunlight, and cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of “talk” therapy. In the first year, they were equally effective; in the second year, talk therapy was more effective. The talk therapy focused on addressing the subject’s beliefs about winter.
Dreading the onset of winter makes it emotionally worse.
People are becoming more stressed in 2020. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports a 65% increase in calls and emails since March to their Helpline. The combination of winter and the pandemic could make things worse.
One way to change one’s mindset is to focus on helping others.
A few suggestions:
Donate Blood There is a tremendous shortage because of fewer sponsored sites and a decrease in capacity because of social spacing at the sites. To donate, or for more information, visit vitalant.org/Home.aspx.
Read to the Visually Impaired This can be done from the comfort and safety of home. For information, visit Sun Sounds of Arizona at sunsounds.org/flagstaff-affiliate.
Tutor a Child or Adult This can be done online.
Make Calls for a Favorite Non-Profit December is a great time to remind people about year-end giving and the tax deduction or tax credit they can take for giving to a local non-profit organization.
Contact an Isolated Person This is especially important now. Although it is myth that suicides increase over the holidays, the number of suicides has been increasing in recent years. The pandemic is likely to make things worse, especially when considering multiple factors, including prolonged isolation.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, with 24/7 live coverage. For more information and resources: Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org).
This a good time to take care of each other and ourselves. Finding out if someone needs any help and reaching out ourselves will make it an easier winter.
2021 will be here soon. FBN
By Don Berlyn
Don Berlyn is a practicing therapist and owner of Flagstaff Hypnotherapy and Coaching. For more information on hypnotherapy, coaching or anything related to using the power of your mind, reach him at 928-699-8263 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Consultations are always free! Sessions conducted in person, by phone and online. For more information, visit FlagstaffHypnotherapy.com.