Not A Myth! The Changing Of The Seasons Really Does Affect Your Mood

The leaves are starting to change, the days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping and the pumpkin spice euphoria of early September is starting to wear off.
If you find yourself feeling a little less cheerful than you were during spring’s transformation into summer, rest assured it’s not your imagination: There is a science-backed reason you’re more likely to feel down in the cooler months.

“It’s real,” Kathryn A. Roecklein, an associate professor in the department of psychology at University of Pittsburgh, told The Huffington Post.
The changes don’t necessarily affect everyone the same way, Roecklein added. But seasonal mood shifts often include less energy, feeling less social, losing interest in favorite activities, having cravings for carbs and changes in sleep ― either having trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep more than usual.
Scientists know there are a lot of biological and physiological reasons our moods tend to change with the season, Roecklein said. But a big factor in those seasonal mood swings is light.
“The scientific evidence says that length of day, which is shorter in the winter and longest in the summer, is the main seasonal variable that affects mood,” she said.
And since those sunsets are well on their way to getting earlier and earlier as soon as fall begins, it’s not unusual if you start to feel those mood shifts around the same time.
Your body knows when the sun is hiding
It’s your body’s circadian clock that monitors changes in day length, Roecklein explained. The circadian clock is the body’s internal time-keeper; it tells us when to feel sleepy and when to wake up, and plays a big role in a lot of other systems in our body, like hormone release, temperature regulation, metabolism and mood.

So when there’s less light during the day, some of those processes affected by the circadian clock, including ones that influence our mood, get disrupted. One study showed that individuals actually produce less serotonin ― one of the hormones that helps regulate mood and contributes to our feelings of wellbeing and happiness ― in the winter months, and more when there was more sunlight.
It’s a biological response to changing light levels ― NOT something we can overcome with sheer willpower alone.
Kathryn A. Roecklein, associate professor in the department of psychology at University of Pittsburgh
Other research shows changing light-dark cycles affect body temperature, how long it takes us to fall asleep, and how much we produce of melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleep. It also affects the production of stress hormones.
One key point to remember about the so-called “winter blues,” Roecklein said, is that “it’s a biological response to changing light levels ― NOT something we can overcome with sheer willpower alone.”
These cold weather pick-me-ups really work

If your symptoms aren’t that severe, your fall and winter don’t need to be downers. Here are a few things you can do.
1. Let the sunshine in.
Light ― or more specifically, the lack of it ― is part of what contributes to your low mood in the first place, Roecklin said. So doing things like opening the blinds and taking a walk outside in the sun in the morning can definitely lift your spirits.
2. Get moving.
Exercise (even just one workout) has been shown to be a big mood enhancer and stress buster. There are decades of research in people with depression that confirms a little sweat is a good idea, Roecklein said.
3. Eat right.
It’s raining. It’s cold. And you haven’t even dug that heavy sweater out of the back of your closet yet. While a batch of warm brownies may sound comforting, simple carbs and sugars can spike your blood sugar levels in your brain and then send them crashing down, with your mood tagging along for the ride.
Instead, focusing on fruits, vegetables, omega-3-rich foods, proteins and complex carbohydrates ― and drinking plenty of water ― can help keep energy and mood consistently up.
4. Make time for your friends.
There’s a reason a good chat with your bestie makes your day. Research shows spending time with your friends helps relieve stress, make you feel a sense of belong and improve well-being.
Spending time being social and engaging in hobbies and other activities you enjoy is a proven method to lift your mood, Roecklein said. It’s recommended for people battling depression.
How to tell when it’s more than a mood shift
All of us are susceptible to the mood-changing effects of seasonal shifts, but estimates suggest that about four to six percent of people have symptoms severe enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis of depression ― seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
“It’s is a well-defined clinical diagnosis that’s related to the shortening of daylight hours,” Matthew Rudorfer a research psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist at the National Institute of Mental Health, said in an agency blog post. “It interferes with daily functioning over a significant period of time.”
And the condition should be diagnosed and treated. Three treatments have been proven to be effective for treating SAD: bright light therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications.
A psychologist can help determine if symptoms require treatment, but signs that you’re experiencing more than the typical “winter blues” are the same as the common symptoms of major depression: if you are not able to keep up with work, family and your regular behaviors or if you think treatment would help.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Creator Of Hamilton, To Host SNL!

Saturday Night Live is about to get the Hamilton treatment.
The sketch comedy show has declared that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be hosting SNL’s Oct. 8 episode, with musical guest Twenty One Pilots.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04:  Lin-Manuel Miranda poses for a portrait at the 2016 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Reception on May 4, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 04: Lin-Manuel Miranda poses for a portrait at the 2016 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Reception on May 4, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Miranda recently completed his Hamilton run on Broadway, and next week’s episode of SNL will mark his first time serving as the popular late-night program’s host.
Saturday Night Live returns Oct. 1, with Margot Robbie as host and The Weeknd as musical guest.
But back to Miranda, the Broadway big shot has had a lot on his plate since leaving Hamilton in July. He’s composing music for Disney’s Moana and will be starring in a sequel to Mary Poppins opposite Emily Blunt as the titular character.
“You guys will be so sick of me in this part, because I intend to out-Ted Neeley Ted Neeley,” the 36-year-old actor told ET in June with regard to leaving Hamilton, making reference to Neeley’s long-running role in Jesus Christ Superstar. “I’ve written a part I can’t age out of, so even if I take a break, I’ll always come back.”
“This is just not the ending of anything,” he added. “I don’t know when I am leaving yet, but I believe that I constructed a house I can come back to any time I need, so I’m actually excited about that.”

Final Trailer For ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Released

Disney has debuted an all-new trailer for the upcoming “Star Wars” standalone film “Rogue One,” ahead of its highly-anticipated launch in theatres later this year.

The clip – which runs for two minutes and 37 seconds – shows more about the movie’s plotline, following an initial teaser which was unleashed in April, followed by a TV spot in August.

This latest peek opens with a flashback, in which Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) remembers her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen). He tells her: “Whatever I do, I do it to protect you”, before the clip reverts to the present day where Jyn is locked in a prison cell, and then recruited by the Rebel Alliance where she is pressed about her father’s location.

Galen Erso’s link to the creation of the “Death Star” is also supported to in this second teaser, with Mon Motha (Genevieve O’Reilly) telling Jyn that “he’s critical to the development of a super weapon”.

Flashes of Galen Erso at the mercy of Darth Vader and a few inspirational photos are also integrated, such as Jyn’s epic line: “We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” arrives in theatres on Dec. 16, 2016.

Rihanna Rocks Dramatic New Dreadlocks

Rihanna took to Instagram on Monday to showcase her brand new ‘do.

Posing with her back to the camera, RiRi showed off her thick, long dreadlocks, captioning the photo, “buffalo $oldier.”

The dreadlocks reached down past her backside. Prior to her latest hairstyle, Rihanna sported slick black locks at various Paris Fashion Week events.

Gigi Hadid Fights Back After Being Manhandled By Prankster

Gigi Hadid was the latest victim of an assault by human trash fire Vitalii Sediuk after a fashion show during Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday.

In a video obtained by TMZ, Hadid and model sister Bella are seen leaving a building flanked by security, as the two pose for pictures with a mob of fans. Seduik can be seen hovering in the background wearing a broad-brimmed hat before seizing Gigi from behind and lifting her up into the air.

“Let go of me,” Hadid yells as she elbows him in the face. “Who the f**k are you? You piece of s**t.”


Bella also attempts to wrestle her sister from Seduik’s grasp, until Gigi scrambles away and he flees the scene.

An understandably upset Gigi then beelined to her vehicle before instructing her team to “find that guy.”

Seduik, a former Ukranian TV journalist, has been terrorizing Hollywood for years, racking up a series of altercations with A-listers ranging from Madonna to Will Smith. He might describe himself as a serial prankster, but really he’s only using that title to attack celebs with minimal consequences.

Possibly his most high profile incident happened in 2014, when Seduik accosted Brad Pitt at the premiere of “Maleficent” by charging at the performer and burying his face in Pitt’s crotch.

He was later sentenced to 3 years of probation, a year of psychiatric counselling and was banned from being within 500 feet of award shows, entertainment occasions and red carpets.

Hadid expressed her frustration with the way the incident was being reported in mainstream media later in the day, responding to some headline that described Seduik as a “fan” and Hadid’s reaction as “aggressive.”

“I’m a HUMAN BEING and had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself,” she wrote. “How dare that idiot believes he has the right to man handle a total stranger. He ran fast tho.”

Minnie Driver Says ‘Good Will Hunting’ Producer Didn’t Think She Was ‘Hot Enough’ for the Part

In 1998, Minnie Driver was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Good Will Hunting — nonetheless, the star says she almost did not get the part because the producers did not find her appealing enough.
The Speechless star sat down with Andy Cohen on Wednesday’s Watch What Happens Live, where she was asked what the rudest thing anyone in Hollywood has ever said to her.
“I really can not [name names] because then I’ll never work again, and I have to work because I have a mortgage,” Driver said, before offering, “You know what? The producer of Good Will Hunting did not think I was hot enough to be in that picture, and didn’t want me in the picture.”
While Good Will Hunting had several producers and executive producers, the 46-year old actress said she did not remember who gave the word, describing it “came from the top.”
However, it was the movie’s stars and co-creators, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as well as director Gus Van Sant, who championed Driver to get the part.
“[They] struggled really hard for me to play that part,” Driver shared. “I ’m thankful to them until this day.”
Despite getting the part, and snagging an Oscar nomination for her work, the performer declared that the remark did sting a little, and remained with her for some time.
“But I was also together enough to understand that hotness is a perception, not a point of view,” she added.

Son Asks Mom For An Extra Lunch To Feed Classmate In Need

A son inspired his mom to act selflessly, triggering a chain reaction of awesomeness.
For the past two months, Josette Duran of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is packaging two lunches for her 14-year-old son, Dylan. When he first asked her to make him an additional meal, she figured he was just hungrier than usual. But eventually he told her he’d been giving the spare lunches to a boy who only had a fruit cup to eat every day.
Duran, proud of her son, continued packaging two meals — and left the boys inspiring sticky notes to read at lunch — until one day the principal at her son’s school called her in for a meeting, per KOAT, an ABC affiliate in Albuquerque.
The other boy’s mom had found out that Duran was feeding her son and needed to pay her back.
“She says, ‘I know this isn’t substantially, but I just got a job, and I understand you’ve been feeding my son,’” Duran explained in a Facebook video she posted on Oct. 14. Her original post no longer exists.
But Duran denied the money.
Duran also said, per KCCI, the players on the volleyball team she coaches raised $400 to pay her back for the great deed. She took that money and used it to pay off past due bills for children at her son’s school cafeteria.
“So now, nobody in that school owes any money,” she said in the video above. “And now everyone can eat.”
Duran’s great deed is now inspiring others.
On Oct. 18, Iowa guy Jerry Fenton wrote a $700 check to pay off delinquent lunch invoices for children at a local elementary school he attended as a kid. Fenton told The Des Moines Register he felt motivated to donate after hearing Duran’s story.
“I don’t need to tell people what to do … but it’s always nice when people do nice things,” he said.

Donald Glover to Play Lando Calrissian in Upcoming ‘Star Wars’ Spin-Off Movie

The Atlanta star has been cast as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars standalone film revolving around a young Han Solo directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Lucasfilm announced on Friday.
“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us,” Lord and Miller said in a statement. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”
Childish Gambino
The still-untitled movie, which is set to premiere in 2018, will center around Calrissian — who was played by Billy Dee Williams in the original films — and Han Solo, delving into their “previously unexplored” backstory, according to the Star Wars site, and showcase “Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld — years before the events involving Han, Leia, and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and his rise to Rebel hero in Return of the Jedi.”
After the announcement, Lord continued his praise of Glover on Twitter, writing, “This part rests on very capable shoulders.”
We’re honestly looking forward to this so much.
This is just the latest casting news for the 33-year-old actor and musician, who earlier this year was cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, years after a fan campaign online attempted to make him the franchise’s new hero.

Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery Engaged To Woman He Met Once

Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery is now engaged to a girl he’s only met once in real life.

The 54-year old found love with Las Vegas legal secretary Lynn Hartman, 53, after the two exchanged letters, then daily phone calls, over the last eight months.

Avery is now serving a life sentence (without the chance of parole) at Waupun Correctional Institution for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach and illegally possessing a firearm. Netflix’s Making a Murderer is a 10-part documentary series that follows the case of the Wisconsin native, who’d previously been jailed for 18 years for a sexual assault in 1985, and was exonerated in that case by DNA evidence in 2003.

READ MORE: Steven Avery appeal delayed 3 months, his lawyer asks for more time

Two years later, Avery brought a US$36-million lawsuit against Manitowoc County, Wis., for the wrongful conviction. Making a Murderer calls into question the investigation and trial that put Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, behind bars, and alleges the investigators and authorities in the case planted evidence and otherwise manipulated the result of the trial.

“I’m happy,” Avery told the “She treats me decent, she adores me – she’s kind of spoiling me right now. I just want to be happy and enjoy my life. I believe I did enough time.”


Hartman’s Twitter account, which is protected and inaccessible to the people, describes her as a “Legal Asst/Bankruptcy Paralegal and Supporter of the Wrongfully Convicted Steven Avery.”

The pair eventually met in person when Hartman came to the prison in September. They plan on wedding when Avery is released from prison — something that may never happen. His current attorney, Kathleen Zellner, is working on an appeal to overturn his sentence.

Applesauce Recipe You Need to Know

Nothing beats the flavor of homemade applesauce, and it’s so easy to make! Each year, starting in mid summer with the Gravensteins, and through late autumn with Granny Smiths and Fuji apples, my dad processes dozens of batches of applesauce from apples picked from his trees. He freezes them in big quart-sized mason jars for us to enjoy all year long.
The secret to my dad’s applesauce is that he adds several strips of lemon peel to the apples while they are cooking, as well as some lemon juice.
The tartness of the lemon serves to intensify the taste of the apples, and helps balance out the sweetness of the sauce. The result is a refreshing, completely delectable applesauce.
He also likes to mix other fruit in with the sauce. He’ll combine fresh cranberries in with the apples for cranberry applesauce, or stalks of rhubarb for rhubarb applesauce. Plums and pluots occasionally find their way into his applesauce also.
-3 to 4 lbs of apples (about 7 to 10 apples, depending on the size), peeled, cored, and quartered* (use apples varieties that are good for cooking such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Gravenstein, -Mcintosh, Fugi, Jonathan, Jonagold, or Golden Delicious)
-4 strips of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths, zest only, not the pith)
-3 to 4 Tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste)
-3 inches of cinnamon stick
-1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
-Up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
-1 cup of water
-1/2 teaspoon of salt