Gloomy Apprehensions

Dreary weather got you down? You’re not alone. Many Americans experience melancholy days, especially during this time of year — when colder temperatures and less light dampen the mood. In fact, a Duke study determined that 24% of American presidents between 1776–1974, including Lincoln and Washington, coped with their own depression symptoms. Thomas Jefferson once said of our nation’s first commander in chief that he was “inclined to gloomy apprehensions.”

For most, the winter blues pass without incident. But if you need some help brushing off your own gloomy apprehensions, try these tips:

Laugh. Find ways to tickle your funny bone. Pop in a comedy or break out the comics in the newspaper. Look in the mirror and make a face at yourself. You’ll lighten your mood instantly.

Get altruistic. Performing a random act of kindness for someone you know or a complete stranger can help almost immediately. Write a thank-you note to a friend or coworker; buy the meal for the person behind you at a drive-thru; bring cookies to a local nursing home.

Go outside. Fresh air will do you good. Take a walk around the block, sniff some plants. If it’s raining, stand under the water and let it soak your face.

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