SAD and How to Kick it With Martial Arts
Well, itís that time of year again when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is starting to affect us here in the Northwest. Even though SAD has been noted as early as the late 1800ís it wasnít actually given a name until the 1980ís. That doesnít mean people havenít been suffering from it, however. Seasonal affective disorder is mostly caused by the lack of light people are exposed to this time of year. Our brains secrete a hormone called melatonin which, at increased levels, can cause symptoms of depression. This hormone is produced when your body is exposed to dark, so it makes sense that its levels rise in months when the days are shorter.
The full-blown seasonal affective disorder is thought to affect as many as 10 million Americans every year. They suffer the debilitating symptoms of depression through the fall and winter months which recede to less-drastic or non-existent symptoms in the spring and summer. Other people get the winter blues which are milder forms of the symptoms of depression such as gaining a little weight, feeling sleepy or having difficulty focusing during the fall and winter months when the weather gets colder and the sunlight gets shorter (especially with all of the rain we get).
There are many different methods of treating SAD such as light therapy (either using a special artificial light or arranging to get natural sunlight during the day), herbal aids, altering nutrition and getting the right amounts of exercise. Some methods work better for some people than they do for others, but one method that tends to help people feel more energized, less sleepy, more able to focus and concentrate and less likely to overeat and gain those extra pounds is martial arts.
Martial arts is a special kind of activity that not only treats, strengthens and improves your physical health, it also treats your mental health as well. People who practice martial arts need to be able to concentrate and focus on their training because martial arts is not an activity that you can do mindlessly. This concentration and focus eventually carries over into all other parts of your life. Furthermore, the physical exercise you get while training martial arts is energizing and will help prevent you from gaining those extra ďwinter poundsĒ that many people dread. Itís worth it to give it a try because youíll feel better, mentally and physically, and when the weather gets nice in the spring youíll be ready to hit the outdoors with a sense of energy that you finally didnít lose over the winter.
About the Author: Robert Jones runs 3 successful martial arts schools in Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Federal Way Washington. For over 20 years he has been helping families to improve their lives through the practice of martial arts. To help people choose a good school he has written a comprehensive consumer guide on How to Pick a Martial Arts School