Why so SAD?
When autumn starts the blues
Some of us experience their good mood leaving as soon as summer does. Grey skies and early darkness start to cloud the mood and wake up the autumn blues. From a medical point of view, this is a seasonal disturbance of the emotions called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
With two or three days of lassitude it's not yet the autumn blues. Only when the bad mood lasts for more than two weeks and cannot be influenced by positive external impulses, is it spoken of. It is estimated that about every fifth person is affected, with women suffering from it more often than men.
The body would like to hibernate
In the beginning, active and sluggish days still balance each other out. Gradually, however, the latter become more frequent. This is simply due to organic processes: More melatonin is produced by certain factors such as darkness and rain. The sleep hormone stimulates our hibernation gene, which is switched off but still existing. For peaceful hibernation, serotonin, the happiness hormone, is also transported out of the brain in large quantities and no longer released.
The following symptoms occur:
- Weariness and a lack of drive slow down motivation und creativity.
- Tiredness and a lack of energy result in exceeding the required sleep duration.
- Negative thoughts trigger negative expectations.
- Cravings combined with a lack of exercise lead to weight gain.
Quick help against the autumn blues
With darkness in charge, the antidote is clear: light. Walks bring a quick relief of the symptoms. So, several times a week you should get some fresh air, even if the sky is cloudy. If the sun is shining, avoid wearing sunglasses so that the light receptors in your eyes have "best reception". The exercise itself is also good for you.
For a more persistent autumn blues, medically supervised light therapy is recommended. Lamps that emit white fluorescent light with an intensity of at least 2,500 lux are used.
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Colors, scents, and music
According to color therapy, colors also influence the mood. Yellow and orange lift it, blue has a stimulating effect, green is calming.
In aromatherapy, citrus scents are used against tiredness. While lavender has a calming effect, cinnamon and rosewood convey a feeling of security.
Last but not least, music can improve mental well-being. Listening to your favorite songs releases dopamine in the brain. Studies have shown that it only takes 15 minutes to lift your mood that way.