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As the darker months approach, it’s more common for people to be affected by the lack of sunlight on a mental/emotional level.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.

It can feel paralyzing and cause people to lose motivation. 

To combat it, I start my day with a gratefulness meditation, which usually involves my physical health to some degree. I intentionally frame my meditations this way to help me stay motivated to keep active during the colder months.

For example, I might meditate on how “I’m thankful for my ability to walk because there are plenty of people who can’t.”

This style of gratitude meditation stimulates the brain in a way that:

  1. a) makes it easier to notice the things we are grateful for;
  2. b) highlights that, since we are grateful for said things, we don’t want to lose them.

As a result of reflecting on my physical, functional abilities, I then feel motivated to USE what I’ve got. After all, if I took my abilities for granted or let them go to waste, it would be spiteful to those who don’t have that choice.

Another way I’ve found affirmative thoughts and statements to be helpful is to pay close attention to the way I word things related to nutrition and exercise.

To illustrate, instead of saying, “I shouldn’t eat that,” it’s more intentional to say, “I don’t eat that.” Instead of saying, I shouldn’t miss my workouts,” I will say: I don’t miss my workouts.”

Whether you suffer from SAD or not, see if a change in your perspective can lead to positive changes in your life.

By HealthEase Fitness Specialist Tierney Young