Scandinavians: they have solutions to avoid winter depression.

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A type of depression associated with the Scandinavian winter months.

Depression (SAD), a form of depression associated with seasonal changes, often affects people in the winter months, beginning and ending at about the same time each year. Surprisingly, Scandinavians have low rates of this type of depression, even though they live in one of the coldest regions on the planet (certain areas reach minus 20 degrees and experience a rare presence of sunlight).

Stanford University researcher and health psychologist Kari Leibowitz explored this phenomenon in Tromsø, Norway, where the sun barely approaches the horizon during the harsh winter months. Scandinavians, contrary to expectations, not only avoid seasonal depression, but also eagerly await the arrival of winter.

A positive attitude.

The key to this positive attitude, according to Leibowitz, is to appreciate winter and focus on the opportunities it offers, rather than fixating on the limitations. This mindset leads to strategies that can be incorporated by everyone to improve well-being during the winter.

Adapting behavior, seeking activities consistent with the season and finding ways to enjoy winter, is essential to changing the perception of this challenging season. Among these strategies, the emphasis on socialization and the search for activities that promote mental well-being stands out.

  • Culture of Coziness (Hygge and Koselig): Scandinavians value the idea of ​​creating warm and welcoming environments, known as “hygge” in Denmark and “koselig” in Norway. This culture of coziness involves soft lighting, candles, warm blankets, and shared meals, providing emotional comfort during the dark months.
  • Outdoor Activities: Despite harsh weather conditions, Scandinavians are known for embracing nature and engaging in outdoor activities, even in winter. Practicing winter sports such as skiing and ice skating not only promotes physical activity but also helps combat the negative effects of winter.
  • Artificial Light and Light Therapy: Given the lack of natural light, many Scandinavians invest in light therapy, which involves regular exposure to bright artificial light. This practice has been shown to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of seasonal depression, helping to regulate circadian rhythms and improve mood.
  • Healthy Eating: A balanced, nutrient-rich diet is an essential part of the Scandinavian approach to mental health. Including foods that promote the production of serotonin, such as fish rich in omega-3, can contribute to emotional balance.
  • Socialization and Community: The importance of socialization is widely recognized in Scandinavian societies. Maintaining social connections, whether through regular meetings with friends and family or participating in community activities, plays a crucial role in maintaining mental well-being.
  • Vacations and Rest: Many Scandinavians take advantage of the opportunity to take vacations during the winter, looking for warmer climates and a break from their routine. Rest and a change of scenery help alleviate the stress associated with seasonal depression.

While seasonal depression is a significant challenge in Scandinavian regions, these communities’ holistic approach to wellness, combined with the incorporation of specific coping strategies, allows many individuals to maintain a positive quality of life even in the coldest months of the year. .

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