The science of Sad: understanding the causes of ‘winter depression’

The science of Sad

For many of us in the UK, the annual ritual of putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues as autumn well and truly beds in. This might be felt as a lack of energy, reduced enjoyment in activities and a need for more sleep than normal. But for around 6% of the UK population and between 2-8% of people in other higher latitude countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that these people are unable to work or function normally. They suffer from a particular form of major depression, triggered by changes in the seasons, called seasonal affective disorder or Sad.

In addition to depressive episodes, Sad is characterised by various symptoms including chronic oversleeping and extreme carbohydrate cravings that lead to weight gain. As this is the opposite to major depressive disorder where patients suffer from disrupted sleep and loss of appetite, Sad has sometimes been mistakenly thought of as a “lighter” version of depression, but in reality it is simply a different version of the same illness. “People who truly have Sad are just as ill as people with major depressive disorder,” says Brenda McMahon, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Copenhagen. “They will have non-seasonal depressive episodes, but the seasonal trigger is the most common. However it’s important to remember that this condition is a spectrum and there are a lot more people who have what we call sub-syndromal Sad.”

Around 10-15% of the population has sub-syndromal Sad. These individuals struggle through autumn and winter and suffer from many of the same symptoms but they do not have clinical depression. And in the northern hemisphere, as many as one in three of us may suffer from “winter blues” where we feel flat or disinterested in things and regularly fatigued.

Putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues.

One theory for why this condition exists is related to evolution. Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood. In older women, the prevalence of Sad goes down and some researchers believe that this pattern is linked to the behavioural cycles of our ancient ancestors. “Because it affects such a large proportion of the population in a mild to moderate form, a lot of people in the field do feel that Sad is a remnant from our past, relating to energy conservation,” says Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto. “Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance. However, as to why a small proportion of people experience it so severely that it’s completely disabling, we don’t know.”

There are a variety of biological systems thought to be involved, including some of the major neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are associated with motivation, energy and the organisation of our 24-hour circadian rhythms. “We know that dopamine and norepinephrine play critical roles in terms of how we wake up in the morning and how we energise the brain,” Levitan says. One particular hormone, melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles, is thought to be “phase delayed” in people with severe Sad, meaning it is secreted at the wrong times of the day.

Another system of particular interest relates to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood. Increasing evidence from various imaging and rodent studies suggests that the serotonin system may be directly modulated by light. Natural sunlight comes in a variety of wavelengths, and it is particularly rich in light at the blue end of the spectrum. When cells in the retina, at the back of our eye, are hit by this blue light, they transmit a signal to a little hub in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that integrates different sensory inputs, controls our circadian rhythms, and is connected to another hub called the raphe nuclei in the brain stem, which is the origin of all serotonin neurons throughout the brain. When there is less light in the wintertime, this network is not activated enough. In especially susceptible individuals, levels of serotonin in the brain are reduced to such an extent that it increases the likelihood of a depressive episode.

The most popular treatments for Sad is bright-light therapy.

Read More: http://snip.ly/25gi4#https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

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Assessment-based prediction is an effective tool for hiring the right candidate

Undoubtedly, hiring should rate as being among the most important activities for an organization. This is so because it is through this process that the organization takes in its most important resource –people. At the time of hiring, as well as while considering promoting, HR and the other important decision makers need to make up their mind by asking critical questions with which to make predictions about a potential hire. These questions could relate to how well the resource can perform in the assigned role, for how long the resource could stay in the organization, and making an assessment about the person’s ability to handle more responsibilities.

Not all HR and other hiring managers could be right all the time in predicting the outcomes of their actions about a candidate; yet, a good understanding of principles of assessing the candidate, combined with proper preparation and inculcation of a little disciple will go a long way in helping them become more accurate in their predictions. When the hiring managers are not too way off their mark in predicting the attributes of a useful hire, they are more likely to get a better candidate and avoid much of the unpleasantness that a bad hire can cause.

Learn the art of predicting the usefulness and relevance of a candidate

It is to equip participants with the tools needed to design a process for selecting and promoting for any position across any industry that a two-day, in person seminar is being organized by GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance. Harry Brull, who is President, Laurdan Associates, Inc. and Co-Founder of BCG Consulting Group, will be this seminar’s Director.

professionaltraining

To get an understanding of how to get the right insight into a selection process that is relatively error-free and effective, just log on to http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=900717SEMINAR to register.

Insights into getting the hiring and promoting process right

At this seminar, Harry will explore the use of standardized instruments in designing and using simulations for maximizing return on references. This is in addition to the most often-used selection tool, the pre-employment interview.

He will also discuss other important areas of the hiring process, like defensibility and avoiding complaints from unsuccessful applicants, ways of judging a candidate’s interpersonal skills, other capabilities and motivators, and other factors which determine whether there is a good fit between the individual, the position, and the organization.

In addition, Harry will also look at adding other selection tools such as testing and simulations (job samples) to the selection tool mix, which can greatly improve prediction accuracy and provide an alternative view of candidate skills, and techniques which improve the usefulness of reference information, including eliciting vital information from sometimes reluctant sources.

Harry will cover the following areas at this seminar:

  • The big-picture look at selection/promotion
  • How to analyze position and organizational requirements
  • Effective recruiting
  • Designing and using screening tools
  • How to design and conduct high-yield interviews
  • Adding testing and simulations to the selection toolbox
  • Avoiding legal problems
  • Maximizing return on reference inquiries
  • Putting it all together – designing a selection process.

The interconnectedness between human resources and project management

Although a superficial look may suggest nothing in common between HR and project management; upon scratching the surface a bit, one discovers a close relationship between the two. Project management and HR are very closely related to each other, if one considers the similarity in the approach to the two disciplines:

Project management is rooted in planning. A detailed, systematic, team-involved plan is at the core of successful project implementation. Therefore, the project leader who plans well succeeds in executing the project and taking it a notch higher.

hr3

The ability to plan precisely is of equal importance for HR, because much of what progresses in the organization hinges on HR’s planning ability. When HR plans and implements properly and effectively, that is a sure prescription for the organization’s success and growth. Like project managers, HR is also expected to transform a vague concept into a measurable outcome by channeling a broad array of knowledge, skills, and resources toward a critical organizational goal.

A learning session on the link between HR and project management

A proper understanding of this link between HR and project planning is the learning that a two-day, in person seminar being organized by GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance, will be imparting.

professionaltraining

The speaker at this session, Cathleen Hampton, a professional consultant with over 25 years of HR experience, will talk about strategic and effective management and implementation of programs and ways in which HR professionals can facilitate both of these in their organizations. To gain learning of the crucial link between HR and project management, just log on to

http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=900725.

Understanding the similarities

Over two days of learning, Cathleen will expose participants to the basic principles concerning the nuts and bolts of planning, scheduling, and budgeting. These will be the outcomes of this learning:

  • Strengthening of skills and understanding how to generate valuable benefits for the organization by achieving crucial results that align with organizational objectives
  • Knowledge of the communication skills it takes to get ideas, instructions, and requests across quickly and accurately, thereby minimizing development time
  • Effectively using resources to stay on top of deadlines and expenses
  • How to rebound quickly from surprises and setbacks
  • How to get the best from people who don’t normally report to them
  • These are the objectives of this seminar:
  • Learning the imperative questions to ask before even beginning
  • How to use the planning and scheduling tools that professional project managers use, such as GANTT charts, the critical path method, work breakdown structures, project management software, and others
  • Best practices for team work
  • Understanding when and how the “Murphy factor” could hit the project and impact it in a big way.

 

Assessment-based prediction is the basis to good candidate hiring

Hiring is among the most important activities for an organization, because it is the process by which the organization takes in its most important resource –people. At the time of hiring, as well as while considering promoting, HR and the other important decision makers need to make up their mind by asking critical questions with which to make predictions about a potential hire. These questions could relate to how well the resource can perform in the assigned role, for how long the resource could stay in the organization, and making an assessment about the person’s ability to handle more responsibilities.

Not all HR and other hiring managers could be right all the time in predicting the outcomes of their actions about a candidate; yet, a good understanding of principles of assessing the candidate, combined with proper preparation and inculcation of a little disciple will go a long way in helping them become more accurate in their predictions. When the hiring managers are not too way off their mark in predicting the attributes of a useful hire, they are more likely to get a better candidate and avoid much of the unpleasantness that a bad hire can cause.

Learn the art of predicting the usefulness and relevance of a candidate

It is to equip participants with the tools needed to design a process for selecting and promoting for any position across any industry that a two-day, in person seminar is being organized by GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance. This seminar’s Director is Harry Brull, who is President, Laurdan Associates, Inc. and Co-Founder of BCG Consulting Group.recruiter

To get an understanding of how to get the right insight into a selection process that is relatively error-free and effective, just log on to

http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=900715.

Insights into getting the hiring and promoting process right

At this seminar, Harry will explore the use of standardized instruments in designing and using simulations for maximizing return on references. This is in addition to the most often-used selection tool, the pre-employment interview.

He will also discuss other important areas of the hiring process, like defensibility and avoiding complaints from unsuccessful applicants, ways of judging a candidate’s interpersonal skills, other capabilities and motivators, and other factors which determine whether there is a good fit between the individual, the position, and the organization.

In addition, Harry will also look at adding other selection tools such as testing and simulations (job samples) to the selection tool mix, which can greatly improve prediction accuracy and provide an alternative view of candidate skills, and techniques which improve the usefulness of reference information, including eliciting vital information from sometimes reluctant sources.