This is not humbug. It is true. Winter season is the saddest season of the year. It is also the darkest season of the year. It is a time of the year when the number of daylight hours in the light–day cycle of each day has decreased the most. Winter is a time when the serotonin level in the brain is lowered.
Serotonin is a hormone that is most commonly known to affect mood. It is a neurotransmitter – a chemical substance that transmits impulses that cross the spaces between nerve cells (synapses). Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone. But, low levels of serotonin in the brain cause sadness and depression.
When sunlight shines on our eyes, it transmits a signal from the eye to the brain to make more serotonin. In winter months, with less sunlight and dark overcast days, our brain is making less serotonin. Lower levels of serotonin cause us to have feelings of sadness, irritability, depression, and headaches.
According to research, lower levels of serotonin are correlated with higher levels of irritability, impulsiveness, and aggression. Scientists know that increasing serotonin levels in the brain helps relieve symptoms of depression.
Promises to Keep
December 21 is the winter solstice – the shortest, hence the darkest, day of the year. Robert Frost wrote about this day in his poem, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.” …[continue reading]