Lifting Seasonal Affective Disorder

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the Gary Craig website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or for EFT coaching support.

Now that winter is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere, many are beginning to feel a familiar depression, often bordering on hopelessness, identified with short, cloudy, days and seemingly endless nights.  Called Winter Blues, Seasonal Depression, and, clinically, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this emotional distress is a potentially serious condition whose symptoms include anxiety, sleeplessness, food cravings and subsequent weight gain, and debilitating lethargy.  Physicians treat SAD sufferers, who are mostly women, with a variety of pharmaceuticals that mask symptoms.  There are, however, reliable remedies that actually help to shift the negative emotions associated with SAD, including EFT, aka Tapping.

I have suffered from SAD for most of my adult life.  Happily, as I grow older, my symptoms are not as debilitating as they once were, but I still count on a few very simple, non-medical remedies to help me to enjoy winter as much as I enjoy spring, summer, and fall.  These remedies are safe and readily accessible.

First, I use full-spectrum light bulbs in my reading and working areas.  These light bulbs are available at most good hardware stores.  I use these in my living room, at both ends of my sofa where I curl up to read or watch movies, and in my kitchen, so that when I am preparing meals and cleaning up I am enjoying the same beneficial effects of a walk out of doors.  Speaking of which . . .

Walking out of doors is my second strategy for lessening the depression at the heart of SAD.  On sunny days, I stand without sunscreen and take a sun bath, closing my eyes and exposing the skin on my face and hands for at least 10 minutes, longer if the day isn’t too cold.  Here in Vermont, when we have sunshine, we have SUNSHINE!   On cloudy days, I go out and walk but when I come in, I sit beneath one of my full spectrum lights, tilting my head and closing my eyes to make sure the light shines on my entire face and floods my eyelids.  This 10 minute light break calms any agitation I feel and allows me to return to work feeling energized.

Finally, when a depressive mood gets the better of me, I complete a tapping session in which I address the troubling emotions I’m feeling as well as how I feel about having these emotions.  Below is an example of an EFT session I have employed to reduce SAD’s impact on my life.  Any readers unfamiliar with the tapping points can visit Carol Look’s primer on EFT at the following link:

Tapping on the Karate Chop Point:  Even though these feelings of hopelessness have returned, and I hate feeling them, I trust that these emotions will lift now as they have lifted in the past.  Even though I feel like staying in bed today, I know that my lethargy is temporary and that my usual enjoyment of life will return.  Even though I feel angry about this SAD condition, I’m okay with my anger and accept all my negative feelings about this time of year.

Tapping through the face and torso points on the negative feelings SAD triggers:  I hate this feeling of anxiety; I hate this feeling of depression; I miss my usual sunny outlook on life; why does this have to happen every winter; being depressed frightens me; I have no perspective and sometimes I’m afraid I’ll be stuck in this scary place; I really hate these feelings of hopelessness and helplessness; I feel like I’ve lost my way and I don’t know why.

Depending on the seriousness of the depression I feel, I might stay with the above approach for several rounds.  Once I’m feeling less afflicted by fear and doubt, I move on to more positive feelings.  For me, positivity comes with the possibility of change:

Tapping through the face and torso points on the possibility of shifting SAD feelings:  I think I feel a little better; I think I feel it is possible to live through this negativity; I think these feelings of despair might be like storm clouds; a part of me knows that storms don’t last forever; I think its possible that my body feels trapped in these feelings of depression, but that there is a part of me that can’t be trapped; that part of me believes in the possibility of change; that part of me believes in the possibility of resilience; that part of me is hopeful even when things look most bleak.

I sometimes stay with this shift to a more positive point of view for several rounds.  Each time I go through the points, I trust that I’ll say just the right thing.  Even if I say something like, “I haven’t a clue what to say about this,” the tapping itself breaks up the negative energies trapped in my energy system that are feeding my depression.  Sometimes I tap without saying anything as I feel the negative emotions.  Both approaches are effective in lifting my sense of despair.

Since developing my Tapping skills and applying them to my Winter Blues, I have noticed that the length of my depressive episodes is shorter.  I have also noticed that these episodes are less severe.  I believe that full spectrum light bulbs, out-of-door exercise in sunshine, along with my regular tapping sessions are vitally important to my winter experience of well being.  I have found that educating myself through experimentation is empowering, and empowerment is a very strong defense against the feelings of helplessness that plague sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Winter is rapidly becoming a season I look forward to, thanks to these simple remedies for SAD.

Until next week



Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner,, 802-533-9277