Over the last few days it has felt like winter in Cardiff – cold, windy, threatening rain and very grey. The odd burst of sun has peeped out from behind the clouds to provide some reprieve – only to disappear as quickly as it came!
Everyone seems more hurried, windswept and irritable; a stark contrast to the recent hazy laid back vibe of the sunny bank holiday.
‘When the sun is shining, people tend to feel happier and more energetic. Conversely, when it is dark and gloomy, people tend to lack energy and feel less sociable.’ (www.nhs.uk)
On a physical level our bodies need exposure to sunlight for vitamin D production. We also know that not getting enough exposure to sunlight can affect our mental health. For example Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern and is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year.
Unfortunately it seems that winter like days in the UK – across all seasons – seem to be getting more frequent.
This got me thinking about ways that we can lift mood without relying on unpredictable things like the weather. If you been following my blog you will know that I recently attended a talk by Dr David Hamilton. Amongst many other insights; he shared some tips for staying positive. One of my favourites is what I like to call ‘sun in a jar!’
Ingredients required for sun in a jar:
- An empty jar
- Somewhere safe to store the jar
- Paper and pen
Each time that something positive happens in your life – write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your jar. This can be anything from a large life changing event (i.e. getting a new job/marriage/new baby) to a thoughtful compliment you have received. It can also be good things that have happened to your loved ones that have had a positive impact on you. Basically anything that makes you feel good – write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your jar.You will be surprised how quickly this builds up over time!
After a year (or six months if you feel the need) the jar may well be full, (or you may even be on your second jar) and you can open it and look back through all the good things that have happened in your life. It can be quite overwhelming to review all the positive things that have happened to you but it serves as a fantastic reminder of what has brought you joy.
It is surprising how many good things happen to us that we quickly accept and move on from without really acknowledging how fantastic they are. Keeping stock of them allows us to remember what we have and to show gratitude for the good things in our lives. So why not store up your very own sunshine? I’ve found it very handy – especially for a rainy day.