Winter Improvement Months: Beating depression during Cold Months

It has been thought for a long time that depression occurs the most during winter months, and people are generally less happy in colder environments as well.

There are on the other hand studies pointing out that the increasing number of depression and suicides happen in spring, which would completely contradict the information that has been thought of before.

Likewise during states of depression we are less likely to work harder and to improve ourselves, however now we have clear guidelines on how to navigate all of the issues described above.

For Men: Is testosterone crucial?

In regards to depression: I have heard many times the advice that this one compound will solve everything. This was talked about testosterone, lowering estrogen, or many other drugs that apparently should work to improve the mood of the person.

States of depression are not just dependent on one chemical to be more likely to happen, but there are cascading events that will always lead to states of depression. Testosterone does play a crucial role in those events, because testosterone regulates neurotransmitters (which is a fancy way to say chemicals like dopamine, cortisol, epinephrin and others).

Therefore, yes. Raising testosterone will alleviate the effects of depression by increasing the volume of the hormone. However – what is the biggest issue that usually is not discussed, is why it was actually low – and usually lowest during winter months, and secondly why actually most suicides happen in spring.

Winter’s effects on hormone levels

The effects of winter can be paraphrased by 2 sentences: It’s Colder, and there’s less sunlight.

The effects of cold had been long discussed – the body functions overall better in warm environments, releasing more growth hormone and being less stressed.

This was a critical state during our evolution, since we didn’t have it easy to find shelters, or homes to live in during winter months. This equaled to having a high state of arousal in winter months – arousal meaning alertness to find warmth, look out for dangers or worsening climate environment.

Sunlight exposure

Sunlight exposure has a direct effect on increasing testosterone, and estrogen, through exposure in your skin.

Testosterone and estrogen is kept in a balanced ratio no matter if you’re a male or female, but still raised higher during summer months.

This in turn affects neurotransmitters we have discussed (dopamine, cortisol, epinephrine), in a positive ratio during summer.

That allows you to have generally improved mood, higher likelihood to mate and seek social interactions. You can think of it as a cascade of positive habits or occurrences, which makes us generally be more proactive during summer months.

Winter: Improvement Months

As we have discussed the elevated moods during summer, we can also correctly assume that once there is less and less sunlight, people are more likely to feel exhausted.

Those people are then more likely to have signs of depression (in general) and more likely to have more negative effects on their mood during winter months.

This is true for the majority of the population, and we can also see the effects across many other species: with less sunlight the fox’s skin changes, bears are less likely to roam around, wildlife in general isn’t as active as well.

There are different but similar effects across all of the species – we have evolved to benefit greatly from sun exposure during summer months together.

Now, this should give you a clear context for two things: People will tend to do less during winter months, and, as another thing, there are generally less activities to do during winter months.

I consider the cascade of these 2 things as a perfect way to actually work on your fitness, business and any other activities you should do with even greater resolve, since the effects are much, much greater during the colder months. You may just not know it yet.

If winter months lead more to depression, why do suicides happen more often in spring?

This was a big thorn to the above conclusions in the past, since we would estimate that people would be more likely to have suicidal thoughts while being at the lowest point of their lives – which generally happens in winter.

However, there is an even more obscure effect of neurons – and in turn – psychology of the brain that leads to most suicides rates to happen exactly when sun – and mood – starts to be more frequent and come back.

If you have noticed the last sentence, then it might be clearer to you already what is the reason behind spring’s suicide rates being much higher.

Brain: a cascade of prediction

The brain is very much in a cascading effect not able to “believe” – in neurological way – that things are about to turn to a much better state. It is kind of an opposite thought and thinking to the person who has been and is in depression – they very much think that the world has small meaning, and that nothing can be actually worthwhile to live for.

However just at the time when Sun – and sunlight exposure increases – and the effects on mood are slowly (very slowly) starting to improve, this acts as a general contradiction of a person’s state of mind.

That happens for what could have been months (if not chronically for years, if the effects were strong enough to even persist through summer months), the contradictory motion still leads both to sense of depression, but now also losing meaning of themselves.

I would estimate it’s a complete sense of apathy towards one’s self, but not being able to get out of it easily.

I would estimate that yes: Testosterone does help massively for mood elevation for men, but there are behaviors that happen and change due to natural environmental effects of changing seasons that one can prepare themselves for.

Work itself has a great effect on person’s mood (due to working on something meaningful) – which generally counteracts any possibility of depression developing, and in turn helps you to have even further improved effects on mood, which will help you both to do more work than majority of population, and to benefit from increased mood in the months to come.

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