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Entries from February 2009

What to do if the Weather is Bringing You Down


   Gloomy weather

Short overcast days and long cold nights can make you sad. There’s even a psychiatric  diagnosis that uses sad as an acronym – Seasonal Affective Disorder. It happens when you lose energy, can’t seem to focus, crave sugar and “bad” carbohydrates, and have a sense of defeat with feelings of worthlessness. Some say that people with this response are in tune with nature and are empathically experiencing a kind of winter period alongside the trees and shrubs (when winter land is kind of glum and non-fruitful too). Yet, the world goes on and doesn’t seem to allow for hibernation in humans. Perhaps that’s why western medicine has stepped in to help the half a million Americans that complain about SAD every year.


The solution is light therapy. People can receive up to 30 minutes of light at an intensity of 10,000 lux (in lumination measurement). To contrast, your household lamps generally put off about 100 lux whereas a bright sunny day can dose you with 50,000 lux or more. Researchers are investigating different timing periods and different light sources. In one study, Columbia University researchers discovered impressive results by calibrating light exposure to natural melatonin rhythms. The difference shows improvement in 80% of the patients that were timed appropriately as opposed to 38% (Mother Nature must be really good as most of these patients’ SAD symptoms improve with the onset of spring).

Still, if you can’t wait for spring, check out the Society of Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms to learn more. But before you run out to get your light therapy, know that certain medications and conditions can cause retinal damage from light therapy. This includes: St. John’s

Wort (a natural herb for treating depressive symptoms), Lithium (used for bipolar treatment), Melatonin (a natural sleep aid), antipsychotic medications, and conditions like diabetes and retinal conditions.

The Danger of Getting Stressed Out by the Current Economy

No matter what country you live in, you most likely feel effects from the current global economic difficulties. People are losing homes, jobs, relationships, and security. When this happens, desperation and despair takes over. Stress thrives and is contagious.

According to a survey by the by the American Psychological Association (APA), 58% of people take their stress out on their loved ones. Other APA research reveals that stress manifests as illness in the body for even more people—up 77% of people in stress report having physiological symptoms and 73% of people in stress reported psychological symptoms. When this happens, more people are impacted by stress and a viscous stress cycle continues to grow and expand.

What can you do to keep stress at bay? Take time to heal yourself before stress gets out of control. Take time to breathe throughout the day (deep breathing can be a miracle cure for many ailments). Remember what’s important. Get back to basics. Stress thrives in chaos and confusion, and tends to diminish in simplicity. Live simply—from the heart—and you will feel better. So will the people around you.


If you are experiencing serious side-effects of stress, please seek help with a therapist or counselor immediately. Stress gets worse if left untreated. If you're out of a job and can't pay, many will work with you if you ask them. Please feel free to contact my office if you would like to discuss your needs.


How to Choose the Perfect Valentine

Baby_cupid Valentine’s Day is almost here. Have you singled out your special sweetheart yet? Well before you start sizing up the candidates in your little blackberry, consider this: How you select your Valentine may very well indicate how you choose your life partner—and how you choose your partner can reveal your overall relationship success.


Rule #1 is to be selective—be VERY selective—don’t just run out and find a Valentine (or life partner) because a holiday is here; because everyone else is doing it; because you’re lonely; or because you feel ‘fond enough’ of someone.


To enhance your selectivity, use these tips for choosing the perfect Valentine (and/or life partner):


  • Friendship & Trust—you must feel safe with your Valentine and have a strong friendship that allows you to be your real self.


  • Laughter & Lightness—no relationship can endure non-stop seriousness. Find a Valentine that loves to play and laugh with you.


  • Attraction & Tenderness—love blooms with mutual attraction, but it also needs tenderness to keep your Valentine’s love alive and thriving (cuddling, caring about each other’s feelings and desires, genuine interest, real listening, etc.).


  • Values & Depth—your Valentine needs to match your values and depth level to keep balance in the relationship. Any imbalance in this area is destined to implode.


  • Meaning—you and your Valentine connect best when you have a shared story, purpose or reason that makes it feel as though you’re somehow destined to be together.


Be patient if you don’t have a Valentine that fits the bill. Remember, nature abhors a vacuum, so make room in your heart to allow your perfect Valentine to enter.


Happy Valentine’s Day to all!