The Science of Happiness Part 3: Don’t be SAD this winter

winter sunsetI came across a fascinating article the other day about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It said up to 4% of Canadians are clinically depressed in the winter. Another 10-15% suffer from SAD, most of them women.

The reasons are interesting. SAD is said to stem from the genes of our cave-dwelling ancestors who thousands of years ago would have hibernated during the winter months.

Fast forward to the average Canadian today. In November and December, we get up in the dark, drive to work as the sun is coming up, and drive home again at night in the dark. There are days when some of us literally do not see daylight. It’s incredibly unnatural and unhealthy.

I’m lucky. I’ve never suffered from any of these conditions, but I do crave sunlight during the winter months. Even doing such a tedious chore as cleaning my windows today made me feel good knowing that the warmth of the sun’s rays would wash through my sunroom during the long winter’s months ahead.

This week’s #HappyAct is to increase your exposure to sunlight. Get out for a walk at lunch. Clean your windows. Get a high intensity ultraviolet light. Do what you need to do to beat those caveman genes.

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