Research has found that exposing people in the northern hemisphere to artificial sunlight, by using lamps for 15 minutes daily, markedly reduced episodes of winter depression.

So what can you do to keep yourself jolly, and gay, with the chilly season almost upon us? You could try an artificial sunlamp to wake you up in the morning or think creatively about other ways to make life more enjoyable in winter.

Embrace winter more by enjoy wearing warm and fashionable clothing, inviting friends and family over more often for a hearty meal, stoking up the fire and doing different things at night.

As a behaviourist, I am a great believer that by changing the behaviour you will change how you think and feel. For instance, just turning off the television and listening to music will change the way you feel.

I’m sure also, like me, there at things and places you don’t want to go to at first but once you got there it turned out to be a really good experience, like attending social events. I encourage people who are depressed to challenge the habitual behaviour that makes them happy.

Our brains hold us back as it likes to do the same thing over and over. Once creating a pathway it does not like to take any risks or to change. Test this by going to a different convenience store next time to buy milk or walk a different way to get to work. It will not feel right because the brain is programmed to repeat the same thing.

Kick the brain it in the bum (very hard to do — it’s just an expression) and do it and experience the new — you will be challenged.

Exercise will definitely make you happier and more energetic by releasing yummy chemicals in the brain. Having more sex with your partner, or others, will also do the same thing — more yummy chemicals. Yoga and meditation will also boost your immune system enormously and centre your mind for greater serenity.

Apart from the winter blues, depression can be brought on by other considerations like having a genetic predisposition to it, unresolved negative childhood and adult experiences, or even short-term happenings like losing your job, splitting up with boyfriend/ girlfriend, losing a pet, not getting a call back from the spunk you recently met, etc.

How do you know if you are depressed to a stage where you need medical intervention or counselling? Just email me on gerrynorthcounsellor@gmail.com and I will send you an easy 10 questionnaire that will show you what state of mental health you have regarding depression.

Depression is a normal state of mind for most of us at some time. Winter depression or depression brought on by the gloom of winter can be better handled by embracing the season and thinking of creative ways to change the way we behave at this time of year.

What a great opportunity to dress up to the nines like Oscar Wilde, throw that scarf over your shoulder and dance to work or the theatre. Bring it on I say to you, brothers and sisters.

INFO: Gerry North is a gay and lesbian counsellor and can be contacted on www.gaycounselling.vpweb.com.au or email him for your depression questionnaire at gerrynorthcounsellor@gmail.com

© Star Observer 2017 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.