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Dear Winter, I feel glum: How writing a letter to the season or sitting by a window helps beat the blues


  •  3 per cent of adults suffer seasonal affective disorder during the winter season

As winter approaches, with its gloomy days and longer nights, it’s no wonder we can feel a little down.

But experts may have finally found an answer to the ‘winter blues’ – and it involves having a word with the season itself.

Around 3 per cent of adults suffer seasonal affective disorder, or Sad, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists –while many more feel daunted or depressed at the prospect of a long winter ahead. 

Researchers from the University of Glasgow found that writing a letter beginning ‘Dear Winter’, and telling the season how it makes you feel can alleviate feelings of depression.

Techniques, including using candles and going for bracing walks, are cheap and effective alternatives to sun-simulator lamps. 

Around 3 per cent of adults suffer seasonal affective disorder, or Sad, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Around 3 per cent of adults suffer seasonal affective disorder, or Sad, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists

When it is dark and wintry outside, using candles, mirrors and shiny objects to create more light at home may also help

When it is dark and wintry outside, using candles, mirrors and shiny objects to create more light at home may also help

Another idea is to imagine being sat in a medieval sun room – a room with large windows found at the top of castles – or surrounded by stained-glass windows.

When it is dark and wintry outside, using candles, mirrors and shiny objects to create more light at home may also help. 

Other suggestions include sitting by a window when having to work inside, and using walks to look up at the sky and note its colours.

Professor Hester Parr, of the University of Glasgow, said: ‘Instead of thinking about how grey and dark it might be, people can count the colours in the sky and notice how the light is changing or breaking through the clouds.

‘The idea is to maximise light whenever possible, and maybe go to all the autumn and winter festivals celebrating light, like Bonfire Night or Halloween, when people light up jack-o’-lanterns.’

The tips are in a book called Light Is A Right: A Guide To Wintering Well. Researchers are also offering a free online cognitive behavioural therapy course called Living Life To The Full, which aims to help those with Sad. Their project will be launched on October 28 online and at Glasgow university. The public can attend.



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