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Exercise Your Mind, Body To Kick Winter Blues

Short days, excessive snow and bitter cold: These are just a few of the things that could cause Seasonal Adjustment Disorder, or SAD. Dr. Susan Freedland, a Greenwich psychologist, says the key to kicking the winter blues is to keep a positive attitude. "People who have depression have a negative view and see the glass as half empty," she says. "Every time you come up with a negative, think of a positive."

Jennifer Hanson, owner of Glow Yoga in Greenwich, said her clients enter her studio frazzled but leave smiling. "Our busiest classes are in the morning ... it usually takes about 15 minutes for them to start to let go," she said. Glow Yoga is a heated vinyasa studio, so clients have the added bonus of getting out of the cold.

Exercise, meditation and freeing your mind can increase endorphins and change the way you feel, an important thing for many who are dragging through the doldrums of winter, said Freedland.

"People could take a 15 to 20 minute walk outside," she said. "Any physical activity like dancing or walking up and down the stairs, it doesn't even have to be a set exercise."

She also cites the Chinese medicine chart. It is based on nature, with five elements related to organs and each one relating to a season. "The season that we're in is related to the kidney," said Freedland. "Animals hibernate in the winter and store up their energy. We live our lives and use up our energy. We don't work with nature. We do the opposite. Instead of conserving our energy, we're depleting it."

For some, exercising the mind helps ease the pain of winter. Joel Baher, a longtime Buddhist and teacher who leads a Buddhist Practice group Wednesday nights in Old Greenwich, said he emphasizes nonresistance when dealing with sadness and anxiety. "The teachings are not designed to deal with specific pathologies, but it ends up happening anyway," he said.

"I teach being mindful of feelings, not trying to transform it, but allowing it to happen. If we stay with them, then they eventually dissolve."

How do you chase away the winter blues? Leave some tips below for others!

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