How to beat depression the natural way

The Good Life Letter

Friday 28th October 2011

  • Discover the reason for a less than perky Ray
  • How to beat depression the natural way
  • Space may be the final frontier... but it might perk up your vegetables!

Maybe it is because I'm Welsh, or male or just old - but this week I seem to be on a real downer.

There has certainly been a sadness hangover from the Rugby World Cup, and seeing the final just made it worse because I think Wales could have been world champions by now.

Neither side sparkled in the game; I'm sure my boys would have exploited the indecision in the Kiwi backs better then the French were able to.

But it was not to be, however, and events on the other side of the world can't have been the only reason for being a bit low.

Maybe my letter last week held a clue to my malaise when I talked about the change in daylight hours affecting emotional state.

If you feel the same find out how to deal with it here

You certainly seemed to agree with me that this is a real problem for so many people.

This seasonal affective disorder or SAD as it's commonly known, has been a recognised phenomenon for several years and has been taken seriously as a medical condition since the early 1980's.

I heard from Mrs Otto in St Andrews who told me;

"I moved from East Anglia two years ago along with my husband and three children and it has taken me until now to deal with a change in all our moods over the autumn and winter months. I am convinced that due to a change in daylight patterns that we have experienced we all all just a bit SAD...I am going to invest in a bedside lamp for all of us and a lamp for our front room"

I'm convinced that she is on the right track here, and it is something that I am sure anyone who makes a move to a more Northern location would experience - I would be interested to hear from anyone who has made the reverse journey - does mood improve?

That's not to say I think my fellow Celts in Scotland are miserable souls - far from it, I have many friends in that part of the world who are always upbeat, even in the face of sporting travesty!

Make a positive move to lift the gloom

Anyway, I decided to follow a bit of my own advice and seek out ways of cheering myself up. If you missed my letter on happiness read it here

I broke out the complete works of Ronnie Barker DVDs and sat with my kids enjoying a few belly laughs - it really does work wonders you know.

We feasted on a tray of homemade honey flapjacks and the last of the blackberries whizzed up into a yoghurt smoothie, which really did satisfy the inner demons of misery.

Then to end a perfect day, we took the dog out on a good long ramble, letting the weak sunshine warm our skin whilst the gusts of wind whipped the leaves into little piles at our feet... and also made the dogs ears flap around his face!

By the time I got back in I was a little chilled, but felt a real glow of happiness deep within me - almost a virtuous parent as well.

I sometimes feel that I let the school holidays pass by without giving the kids a positive experience, something that feeds their imagination and builds understanding about the world we live in.

The mistake is to believe that we need to spend huge amounts of money to achieve it.

There really is nothing simpler than a bit of home baking, a shared laugh and a good long walk that allows conversation to flow freely - and it is this last point which actually makes all the difference.

Busy lives means that parents are not always on hand to chat to, or are so tired that they find it hard to engage with their kids.

It really is worth putting an hour aside to chew the fat with the next generation - you might be surprised what you can learn from them!

Space seeds and giant plants

My fourteen year old is a bit of a wild one, preferring an outdoor life rather than anything that involves sitting quietly and reading. As a result school is a series of challenges for him.

It was a bit of a surprise then to hear him talk excitedly about space seeds which grew into giant vegetables - I thought he had seen a rerun of the Day of the Triffids!

As it happens, he had read an article about Chinese scientists who claim to be making huge vegetables grow from seeds which they blast into space in satellites which are then planted when they land back on earth.

Apparently, the results of these irradiated plants are delighting the research teams involved.

For instance, cucumbers are bigger and better tasting with yields increased by upto 20%. With a world population increasing exponentially this is being heralded as a way to feed all those extra mouths.

Not sure I'm a fan of carrots which have met Captain Kirk, or melons nurtured by Han Solo though...

Can you imagine what Arkwright would have said in 'Open All Hours'?

I'll leave you to ponder that one.

On Sunday I will be telling you about an easy way to lift the winter gloom, keep your mind active and maybe grab a freebie or two in the process.

Yours, as always






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