Thanks to the weather, I made huge progress on my outside projects and my mind and body thanked me for the increase in serotonin production.
I totally love blue sky and sunshine, but am not of the camp that believes “the hotter, the better.” Rain is essential, especially in our semi-arid climate, so I also appreciate it. However, like sunshine, too much of a good thing can cause problems and we know all too well that applies to rain as well.
If you are one of the few people who does not enjoy sunshine, please put on your sun hat and fake it. Smile and pretend – remember it’s always a good day when a person is on the leafy side of the grass. One of my sisters cannot get enough sun. She tends to get depressed or moody during the dreary winter months and has been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). What woman doesn’t get moody in the winter, especially after their 40th birthday? SAD is more prevalent in northern latitudes and women are three to four times more likely to have the disorder than men. Approximately four to six per cent of the population may be affected. Since a person’s serotonin level bottoms out in the winter and peaks in the summer, the treatment women prefer is a mid-winter vacation to a hot climate. I think a tanning bed and a good movie or imagination would be an effective and low-cost alternative.
Another treatment that is unofficially used is social media. It is being self-prescribed in large doses daily at regular intervals. Others choose to use it on a more frequent basis which generally means totally open access whenever time permits. In either case, it can buoy up people emotionally and give them a sense of purpose. The sad fact is social media – like any media, including this column – can be a source of deception.
I am not out to bash social media. I do not belong to any social media sites, but that may change soon. I personally think they can serve a positive role in the lives of people and be a great source of fast information, but social media also has hazards and pitfalls.
For example, people often post telltale information on a site that notifies others they are away or out of the country. In doing so, they become an easy target for individuals who specialize in criminal activities, the most basic being break-ins, thefts and vandalism. I am sure everyone can name their real friends, but can they name their social media friends? People with evil intentions easily hide behind a name or alias on a social website.
Unfortunately, people are often locked into a mindset that their number of virtual friends somehow indicates their popularity or value. Their self worth is incorrectly based on the number of people who become on-line friends or associates. Such rationale is totally false, but it is a very easy trap to fall into.
Vanity loves to pat us on the back and tell us that others really value our thoughts and actions. I am sorry to admit that if I don’t know a person well, I don’t truly care what colour they painted their bathroom or if their child has a runny nose. I don’t care if they have a headache, hangnail, halitosis, or an orphaned calf they are feeding by bottle until they can make time to butcher it. Now, if it is a two-headed calf that is being bottle fed, I would definitely want to check out their photos and be the owner’s friend. In that regard, I typically try to contact them and then visit in person if time and resources permit.
It also seems like social media sites are often little portals into a person’s isolation and negativity. Venting an opinion is all right (I do it weekly at the very least), but the approach that is taken should be carefully considered. All too often people go totally overboard regarding their opinions or words they post since their emotions are in control at the time. This is especially hazardous on the Internet where information can be taken out of context or manipulated to crush a person’s reputation and career – basically ruin their life. Statements and images that go viral cannot be revoked.
Too many people believe that they are the center of their own universe and everyone else is simply waiting for their next social media update. The sad fact is most of us (including me) live rather mundane lives and it is actual face-to-face contact with other people that adds value to our existence. Use social media, but don’t live your life through it.
May your serotonin level soar this week as you enjoy the view from the top side of the grass.