As we transition into the winter months, we all know what’s ahead of us: the winter blues. The darker and colder days are especially distressing for those who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that arises during the winter season. While SAD is highly prevalent in America, Scandinavian countries that receive even lesser sunlight appear to have no significant increase in rates of depression during the winter season. In fact, people living north of the Arctic circle in a Norwegian city called Tromsø exhibit great psychological resilience during the winter despite receiving only 2-3 hours of sunlight in a given day. Their secret to better overall mental health ultimately comes down to one thing: cultural mindset. Scandinavians view each winter as an exciting opportunity rather than a threat and strive to enjoy its beauty. The concepts of “hygge” from the Danes and “koselig” from the Norwegians embrace change and highlight the excitement of snuggling under blankets with loved ones and having candlelight dinners. Adopting this simple Scandinavian secret and shifting our attitudes can bring us all one step closer to beating the dreaded winter blues this year.
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