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Published:December 27th, 2006 05:50 EST
You are my Sunshine...

You are my Sunshine...

By Alex Alex

...My only sunshine. There is only one true source of light, when it comes to receiving my daily dose of day-glow: that big bulb in the sky. But when life finds me squandered under the dreary skies of Chicago, sunshine is a little harder to come by for about nine months out of the year. As Seasonal Affective (or should we say, Defective?) Disorder (SAD) becomes more and more well known, people are beginning to recognize the trend between their levels of happiness and the amount of sunshine they receive. Guess that`s what makes Los Angeles so dang enticing to us snowbirds. Just as soon as Christmas bells begin trolling in the distance, the pages of newspapers and magazines overflow with the same insights into SAD. The same insights we have heard about for the past five years, when SAD suddenly became yet another reputable excuse to have a bad day (or month).

But if you find yourself anywhere outside of Los Angeles-- for example, the Midwest, SAD can be very damaging to your lifestyle during these long and arduous months. People who are highly susceptible to SAD (such as Pisces) often fall into a depression that may have serious consequences to their relationships and career. And once depression sets in, it can be very difficult for some to rise up again once spring hits.

One of the key factors to SAD is the lack of sunlight an individual gets during the winter. "Lux" is a measure of sunlight. When sitting by a window on a sunny day, an individual may receive about 7,000 lux. Sounds impressive. But on a cloudy day spent outside, that number shoots up to 70,000-80,000 lux. Those sunny days can bring that number as high as 100,000 lux. Talk about your smiles. Obviously, the affect of sunlight on our disposition has a bit more to do with brightness. The serotonin levels we receive through our retinas are more powerful than a plate full of noodles (yes, those bad carbs do have a good side affect, after all). However, things like bright colors and light bulbs do hold influence. If you`re feeling down during the winter, switch on some light and turn on some music in your home. Filling your surroundings with movement, life, and overall good vibes prevents you from falling into a blues funk. 

Even something as simple as donning some bright colors can stop the pity party. Vogue`s November issue highlighted some of the new trends in "Resort Wear" in a fashion spread titled "Get Happy!" Believe it or not, even Vogue was willing to move away from some of the dismal fall trends of dark and heavy wools to more neon-inspired mood lifters. Eager to end the black-streak à la Emo, the spread featured extra-bright pinks and yellows. Wearing the funky gear makes us feel like a kid again; silly, fun, and oh-so-exciting.

While many psychologists these days suggest parking your buns next to a "light box" - something that is exactly what it sounds like - to boost mood levels during long winter months, I take a different approach. Take it from someone born and raised on the rainy streets of Chicago: the best thing you can do for yourself is get up and OUT and shake it all about (sorry, I couldn`t resist). Take a Salsa Dancing class next time your at the gym; use any excuse to get goofy, even if you don`t really feel like it. Your body really does want to be happy, so move your thang!