by VR Sreeraman on  January 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM Mental Health News
 Healthy Traditions May Help To Keep Winter Blues At Bay
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have suggested that people should establish healthy traditions to increase happiness and prevent cold-weather blues.

Avoiding workouts, staying indoors and overindulging in foods usually leave many of us depressed during the winter months.

They said people should try out activities and habits that promote health and can be shared with spouses, friends and family members each year.

"When thinking about New Year's changes, a good first step is creating a vision for the future by picturing yourself happy and healthy," said researcher Karen Sherbondy.

"Identify positive and negative aspects of your health and the health of others, including friends, family members, spouses and children," he said.

"This provides a starting point for establishing new behaviours, avoiding negative habits and seeking help from others," he added.

Steve Ball, associate professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the university, called for establishing healthy traditions to beat the cold weather.

"Try new things, such as dance classes, swimming or water aerobics, or check out exercise videos from the library. Invest in home fitness equipment such as jump ropes, DVDs, treadmills and stationary bikes," he said.

"Think of things that are enjoyable - spending time with kids, crafts and watching movies - and incorporate physical activity to enhance them," he added.

"There are several easy ways to improve mood during the winter," said university health educator Alejandra Gudino.

"Wearing bright colours, reading or watching something funny and laughing out loud - laughing reduces stress hormones and increases endorphins. Socialize and spend time with family, old and new friends and those in need. Creating social ties can boost happiness, improve self-worth and increase sense of purpose," he said.

"Set realistic goals with measurable results. Small changes are easier than big changes and can add up over time. Focus on changing one or two behaviours. Once those are mastered, set new goals," said Sherbondy.

Source: ANI

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