Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Sunshine Therapy Lessons from Winter Vacation

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jan 13, 2014 9:31 PM

It can't be that everyone in Florida is happy. Certainly, there are mentally ill people, criminals, poverty, poor health, divorces and social issues in many beautiful, warm climates, including here. I must be seeing a biased sample of people who chose to be here, still feel lucky and appreciate their privileged lives. Sure, there are a fair share of privileged retirees and seasonal or on-and-off working types, but there are people with shaky finances and labor jobs, too. Yet, mostly I just see smiling, talkative, nice, cheerful transplants from Up North. Could it be that regardless of health (since lots of people have health problems), relationship status (since many have lost their spouses or partners one way or another) or income, blue sky, sunshine, rainbows, green bushes and trees, grass and flowers, ocean and beaches, lakes and canals really do provide a sort of therapy?

I remember visiting a hospital in the old Soviet Union in the early 1970's, where the walls were papered or painted with nature murals to relax the patients. It worked and treatments progressed better for it, according to the staff. So, when people add green plants to their apartments, buy and use therapy lights against their depression, and escape to warm vacations, there's a real happy effect usually. It may not be rocket science, but even imagining this sunny situation can help.

So, if you're feeling stuck, cold, lonely, or down, take yourself to the beach, garden, or any paradise of your choice mentally. Do it sincerely, meditatively, and with your whole heart often. It's got to warm up your spirits.

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