march 25

Is there something you’re so afraid of that just the thought of it makes you cringe, shake your head in disgust and then cover in eyes?

I’m terrified of snakes and spiders. I'm also absolutely terrified of someone opening the door while I'm flying on a plane. I realize that the former are fears are extremely common among people, but there is something about the slithering and the creeping and the crawling that curls my skin like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Over the years, I’ve talked to people about what they’re petrified of, and I find myself surprised at the number of people who have “phobias” and what they are. Some are afraid of the sound balloons popping and I even know a girl who is terrified of the word coupon - what?

Phobias can be nothing more than shying away from whatever it is your afraid of. But if it takes over your life it's become a mental health issue that needs to be addressed in order to stay healthy.


The snow is gone, but is it too early to celebrate?

This weekend was GORGEOUS and the week is shaping up to be much of the same. On Saturday the temperature reached a snow melting ten degrees, plus ten! Most of the snow around the city and all the snow in my backyard is gone, really gone, and it’s only mid March. As you can imagine, I’m really happy about this. So happy in fact that getting into a fight with my boyfriend and having difficulties with the ENG cameras were only minor inconveniences. This lead me to wonder, are people happier when it’s nice outside? Of course they seem like they are, but are they?

I mean I’m happy in the winter when we set our clocks back an hour and not when I lose an hour when the clocks move ahead. But, this doesn’t last long because there is less daylight, and when it gets dark outside I’m less motivated to do, well, anything. I’m much happier, however, when it’s warmer and a lot less likely to let anything get me down.

Like the other day I was talking to my grandma and we were talking like we always do about the weather. She said to me, “I won’t be surprised if we get a snow storm before it gets too nice.” “Really, grandma,” I said. “Even with all this El Nino stuff?” Oh course, she went on to say. This made me feel a small tinge of apprehension. Yuck, I didn’t want winter to come again after it just went down the drain I just started to feel a lot better about, well, everything.

I wanted to find out just how much the weather affects emotional health, so with the help of Google Scholar, I found an academic paper on the winter blues called Winter Blues: A SAD Stock Market Cycle. And you’ll never guess what the first few lines of the paper say. It says “Depression has been linked to seasonal affective disorder, (that’s what SAD stands for) a condition that affects many people during the seasons of relatively fewer hours of daylight.” Wow, this is actually a disorder. Then I started to wonder, what can be done about this? Move somewhere warm 12 months a year; that’s not going to happen anytime soon. So then what? What can we do to help alleviate seasonal affective disorder?


Olympics bring Canadians together like never before

The 2010 Winter Olympics have come to an end. After 17 days of events, Canada truly owned the podium winning a record breaking 14 gold medals at home creating a sense of community among a nation that has struggled to feel united. One question that seems to be on the mind of many is, does Canada feel more united because of the games? Personally, as someone who watched ridiculous amounts of Olympic coverage, I feel that Canadians are more connected after these last 17 days because of the sense of pride we feel towards our athletes regardless of winning a gold medal or any medal at all. I am amazed that a sporting event can bring a country together.

As a Canadian I feel like it's always been a struggle to unite the country because of the enourmous geographic distance between us as well as a lack of identity among us. But somehow sport seems to bridge the gap between people who have little in common. As Canadians around the country and the world sat in front of their TVs or stood in the stands in Vancouver, I believe we felt like we where achieveing a common goal; We wanted our athletes to do the best they could and we wanted the rest of the world to experience the amazing and wonderful things that we love about our country.

I wonder would it feel different if the Olympics were held in a different country? Did having the games at home create a magnitude of feeling that just cannot be replicated any where else?