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SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder

As one who is always looking at underlying causes for human behavior, as well as my own behavior during particular times, I found this article at MSNBC to be timely {Feeling SAD? How to cope when the sun goes away}> In particular to note is one remedy for this seasonal disorder that affects a great many of us: EXERCISE. Of course most of you know of my dedication to physical fitness. I can now add another good reason to make fitness a part of ones lifestyle.

Prime notes in the article:

Symptoms of SAD
Unlike conventional depression, SAD is unique in that it always recurs at a particular time of the year. And although SAD is frequently thought of as a winter depression, it can affect patients during other seasons, too.

The cause of SAD is unknown, but it has been hypothesized that the lack of sunlight disrupts the body's circadian rhythm. According to research published in the journal Nature by Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists, our eyes have special photoreceptors that monitor light levels. These could be linked to the "non-visual" ways we respond to light, such as setting the body’s circadian pacemaker and affecting mood and temperament.

"I get the classic symptoms of depression when the weather is gray, like feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, obsessive worry and just a general inability to be joyful about anything," Rebecca Davis said.

How to cope
While some SAD sufferers may be too lethargic or depressed to leave the house, outdoor activities and regular exercises can help alleviate the symptoms. A 2007 study by Duke University researchers confirmed that exercise is comparable to antidepressant medication in treating patients with major depressive disorders.

And because the illness is linked to the production of serotonin in the brain and the duration of exposure to bright sunlight, according to a 2002 Lancet study, increasing your exposure to daylight can be comforting.

"I felt the difference immediately after I moved from New York to Florida. Actually this is pretty much the case as soon as the sun comes out, regardless of where I lived," Davis said.

When moving to a sunnier locale isn't an option, a light box can help.

Like people with other mental illnesses, SAD patients can benefit greatly from cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy...
is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do.

SAD can be a long-term illness, but it doesn't have to be debilitating. Davis has been coping with it for 15 years and has kept her symptoms in check with antidepressants and exercise. She is also adapting very well to sunny Florida.

"I think most of my advice would be intuitive to anyone who craves sunlight. Insist on a workspace with natural light. Same goes for finding a home with ample windows and good sunlight. Throw back the blinds and shades on sunny days, even if it is cold," she said.

"And during the day, exercise, exercise, exercise!" she said. "Nothing gives me more energy on dreary days."

If you have those days where you feel sad, look at the weather and determine if there is that connection. I believe we all experience some form of 'sad'-ness when the weather turns dreary, I know I do. And it can be debilitating if there are other stressful factors. This has been a hard winter thus far for my construction business and my worries with being able to feed and house my furry felines are always a concern. But I have two great assets to turn to so not to let that negative mind become a real problem. One is my belief that when you follow the 'Hero's Path' there are always those helping hands to help in the journey. And thus far, for the past 18 years, this has been true. And of course my exercise routine. Not only has this part of my life been a positive when I feel 'sad', it was a 'savior' long before I found my 'calling' to the hero path in 1992.
exercise, exercise, exercise!.
A remedy for so many of the ailments in life, especially in later life when pay me later becomes a reality. It is never too late to begin an exercise routine no matter your physical condition.

One last note about physical fitness. I have mentioned my abilities with a basketball and my belief such abilities are tied to my developed intuitive sense {and as in yoga, to learn to let go and let the senses take charge}. I do intend to video my workout {50-60 minutes} and place it on-line for others to see. But I also want to make a video for others to use in developing their own workout program using basketball. Not for the ability to shoot with accuracy but the many benefits it offers in keeping the body in shape. I use a form of meditation in my workouts, stopping at least 4 times each session and 'centering' myself. Along with the dribbling a basketball as a way to help dexterity, the running and jumping {I continue to shoot the ball until I put it in the basket, a great way to work all the muscles}, including a meditative program as a part of my routine adds to the ability to 'let go' and the intuitive senses. Of course that will require some understanding of meditative yoga, something that has already become a common workout for many.
And most important about my basketball routine; it is really FUN . If there is one thing that helps in maintaining a continuous and successful workout routine is that it must be fun.

When you see my routine you will see what I mean about it being not only being fun but also how one can learn to develop the senses. These senses I use are inherent, something man used in early development and evolution but since lost because we no longer need them as a tool for survival. Tapping into those senses, especially those intuitive abilities, does provide greater abilities in life. At least that is my belief, and experience.


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Re: SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder

I've made a big deal about the sensory abilities humans possess and how those 'extra-ordinary' abilities can be enhanced. It is an important aspect to perform beyond the norm in my physical routine playing basketball. In today's edition of the NY Times there is a new study that concludes {as many other studies have done} that meditation can improve ones moods and outlook on life. It actually causes physical changes within the brain. I believe these changes are not something new that develops within the physical brain but are aspects we already possess, are a natural part of the physical body/mind. Through meditation we are able to tap into these extra sensory abilities that prove to positive contributors to good health.

We all are familiar with meditation yoga and the stated benefits that can result from 'letting go', placing the focus on body sensations instead of letting the mind roam. You put yourself in the 'moment', the mind as well as the body centered on the sensory feelings such as breathing. All other thoughts are pushed to the side with the goal to 'not to think' but to feel/sense. You let go, the mind is closed to thoughts and centered on the senses. You are not you, the ego centered being, but a physical being in its natural state void of negativity and full of the sensory self.

This study as well as so many others provides evidence if not 'proof' that meditation is good for us physically and psychologically. Not only does meditation produce better attention span but it also lowers blood pressure. This Eastern philosophy has become a standard tool for better health, new to the West, making us re-evaluate our understanding of the physical body.

The point is that by 'letting go' there are benefits that are yet completely understood. Studies such as this one provide new insights to the aspects of the brain/mind. It is these sensory aspects I believe I have tapped into that allow me to perform beyond the norm when shooting basketball {the physical aspects are a result of 30 years of physical fitness as a part of my lifestyle}. And senses I use in dream interpretation, letting my intuitive mind delve deep into the symbolic images to gain a 'sense' of what the dream is trying to convey.

As for the physical abilities {which I will state one more time for clarification}. I use my intuitive, sensory abilities physically in my exercise routine, not concentrating on shooting the ball but letting the natural senses take control and letting the 'developed' physical abilities do their thing. Of course there are those physical attributes involved, the ability to run and jump, controlling the ball when dribbling, the proper form in shooting the ball. These aspects are the norms for any player and with practice those with the physical abilities can perform with distinction. But beyond the norm, when shooting the ball facing away from the goal, or take the ball on the rebound with one hand and in the same motion {requiring the physical abilities to do so of course}, and without thinking, shooting the ball and it goes in. And on a continuous basis, as a norm and not just on occasion. 'WOW!', what a feeling. It is 'high' beyond the normal high one experiences when exercising {those who exercise regularly know to experience the 'high' experienced when working out}. And makes exercise fun.

I guess what I am wanting to get across is that we all need to learn to put ourselves in the moment and not let the pressures of life control our motions and emotions. My exercise routine is both physical and mental. My experiences with meditation, not just the act itself but understanding the psychology of meditative exercise, let me delve deeper into those 'hidden' aspects that primitive man used to survive. Because we no longer need these sensory abilities in our lives for survival we have pushed them out of sight, deep into the 'unconscious' {psychological} matter of the physical brain. These sensory abilities are still there, available for development and use in our conscious lives. It is merely a matter of tapping into and accessing them {if we stop using them evolutionary controls may eventually cause us to loose them completely}.

I know it may seem I am beating this horse to death but I would like some feedback on this subject of extra sensory abilities {we want to call them metaphysical, mysteries beyond the normal physical aspects and not natural, but which are in reality natural aspects we all possess}. A true psychic has the ability to tap into this deeper layer of the mind {Edgar Cayce a great example, the $10 corner psychic are not}. Can it be if we use meditative yoga as a regular routine, make it a part of the lifestyle, we can develop these greater senses that will make us better humans, more conscious of the world around us and not so focused on the ego self? These studies seem to point to such a possibility. And most all state it is good for the physical as well as the psychological self. At mid-life and beyond, a stage of life most of us have experienced or in the process of experiencing, the old proverb of 'pay me now or pay me later' becomes an important reason to better understand what will provide a better physical and psychological self as we age. Isn't it much more desirable to be 75 and in good health than to be 75 and confined to a limited existence? Meditation and physical exercise together will provide a better quality of life in later life. At least that is my 'experience'.

As for gaining a better knowledge of understanding meditation yoga I direct you to Joseph Campbell's Transformations of Myth Through Time and his chapter on Kundalini yoga {and 'The Perennial Philosophy of the East}'. This is where I began and I believe it can provide a deep understanding of the philosophy of yoga that opens the eyes to greater possibilities.

How Meditation May Change the Brain


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