Taking Care of Yourself this Winter

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The winter blues, the January blahs, depression. We’ve heard about them, but how do they happen?

On a conscious level, people don’t choose these things. No one wakes up one day saying, “I think I’d like to have the winter blues this year, or I’d like to be in a clinical depression for the next five years”. Our conscious minds never choose symptoms. Consciously, we all choose health, wholeness, joy and vitality. But there is something else at work in us that manifests symptoms and causes us various problems. And that something else is our subconscious mind.

There are times when change cannot be effected through conscious effort. No matter how hard we’ve tried or how many times we’ve tried to beat our subconscious mind into submission we remain stuck in the same place.

The subconscious mind is fear-based and quite infantile in its judgement. It is the subconscious mind that chooses faulty coping strategies and self-sabotage in all kinds of creative varieties. This is the part of us that presents our symptoms.

Symptoms that can indicate the presence of a depression include things like the following:

  • Diminished interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Weight loss or weight gain along with decreased or increased appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, hopelessness, excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate

When the symptoms are minor to moderate, activities like exercise, yoga, massage therapy, meditation and acupuncture can be effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms.

However, if the symptoms are moderate to severe, a more rigorous approach is needed.

Unfortunately, most of the traditional therapeutic tools do not access the subconscious mind and medications have little impact on the workings of the subconscious mind.

Typical antidepressants known as SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors- are prescribed to correct an imbalance of serotonin levels, believed to contribute to depression, poor mood, anxiety, stress, and OCD.

SSRI antidepressants are believed to help increase serotonin levels by limiting the reabsorption rate of serotonin in the brain.

A recent study completed at McMaster University ranks Canadians among the most prolific users of antidepressants. Lead study author and university professor, Paul Andrews said there are alternatives to taking antidepressants such as psychotherapies that don’t have negative physiological effects and work just as well.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that psychotherapies and psychosensory therapies, such as Havening Techniques, that combine specific intention with sensory input produce a number of beneficial physical results such as increased production of serotonin, opioids, and GABA, regulation of cortisol, pain reduction, slowed heart rate, decreased anxiety, and an increased sense of calm.

It’s these beneficial physical results that effect lasting change in the subconscious mind.

If you find yourself struggling a bit or a lot this winter, take steps to remedy the situation as soon as you can, because help is available. Whether its exercise or a massage, or psychotherapy and psychosensory therapy, there is hope and a way back to mental vitality.

 

Originally Published: December 30, 2017

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Liane Wood, Contributor and ReThink Me Psychotherapy & Counselling Services

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Liane Wood is a Certified Havening Practitioner and counsellor. She helps people find clarity and direction during confusing and/or difficult times.