Ask Chuck: Are you feeling sad this time of year?

By Charles Colson
Feb. 20, 2014 at midnight
Updated Feb. 19, 2014 at 8:20 p.m.

Charles, since you therapists deal with people's moods, can you tell me if it is normal to feel sad this time of year with reasons beyond my control?

Very thought-out question. This was mentioned recently in a To Your Health magazine. The article was quite interesting in that it seemed to open our minds to a new world of therapy.

According to Dr. Julie T. Chen from San Jose, Calif., she deals with this matter with her patients. Would you believe the disorder is called seasonal affective disorder?

She explains it is quite normal to feel depressed and down not only in the fall and winter months, but the disorder can easily move into the spring and summer times. Seasonal affective disorder happens in the fall and winter, when we have less sunlight, which affects our serotonin and melatonin levels in our bodies.

Even if we are already depressed, this disorder can still add to our depressive state. Chen said not to be discouraged about this and to feel free to discuss it with your doctor, who is very well-educated on this disorder.

So many ask, how do I then get happy, so to speak. Chen is a strong advocate for alternative medicine, like keeping active and trying out different techniques of massage therapy, for example. She also believes strongly in a therapy called phototherapy. She seems to think it works wonders for our bodies. Try to Google phototherapy and see how much more educated you might become.

She says not to ever feel alone if you experience seasonal affective disorder. There are many of us who experience it. We just don't talk about it. How about we all get happy and not stay so sad? Remember, this can effect us all year-round.

Maybe this is a stupid question, but since we are talking about mood swings, can stress affect our children to the point that they feel unhealthy and upset about even the smallest of matters?

Definitely. According to the magazine listed above, this was addressed in a recent article.

Many times, adults get so wrapped up in our own stressful matters, we easily forget what our kids may be going through; they think it is an enormous, rough situation in their lives. Even though kids are quite carefree, they are still subject to the effects of stress.

The article explains this can happen to all of us because the world is filled with uncertainties. Many times, children have a problem coping.

A few wise tips to help kids in stressful matters was mentioned. One is to be a good listener. Listen to what they have to say and show them you realize how important it is to them.

Talk less and you will be surprised of the outcome, and before you know it, you are learning more about their feelings.

Secondly, teach them to be open and honest and patient with issues in their lives. Kids can benefit greatly from just knowing how you handled things when you were their age.

They just want to feel they are normal, too. Just the fact that you are concerned about their concerns can create a tremendous bond between the two of you.

Lastly, the article added a wise tip to help your kids' emotional well being. This advice included thinking of fun activities to do, such as finding the best solutions together for their crisis type issues.

Just expressing your gratefulness for how smart they are keeps them physically healthy in many ways. Your child will benefit from frequently using good breathing techniques. Try it out. It will become one of their best sedatives.

Breathing deep and counting to 10 is probably good medicine for us all. Let's stay happy, and I bet we'll live longer.

Charles Colson is a local hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to or call 361-575-5331.



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