English Phrases: What Are The Benefits Of Listening To Native English Speakers For Language Learners?
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Most Unusual Words:
Lack Boost Seasonal Mindset Affective Disorder Immune Correlation Cosy
Most common 3 word phrases:
|And It Means||2|
|You Come From||2|
|A Lot Of||2|
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Transcript: Use Native English Speakers To Help Improve Your Pronunciation Vocabulary And Intonation
Boost yourself in the winter time!
Hi there. Today let's talk about something which affects your health and my health, and particularly so if you live in a northern climate like the UK.
It's wintertime here and there is a lack of light. 'Lack', L A C K is a noun, and it means there's not enough of it, so a 'lack of light'. It's getting better. The days are lengthening because it's February, but winter isn't finished with us yet. So today let's talk about things that can give you a boost.
That's B O O S T. A 'boost' in the wintertime. And things which are worth all of us considering if we're concerned about our health.
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People can struggle with winter in the UK
OK, so this health boost for the wintertime, then? When I work sometimes in my practice with people who come from much sunnier parts of the world, I sometimes meet people who struggle with the British winter. If you come from somewhere in Africa or South America, perhaps New Zealand or Australia or the Caribbean, then the northern European winter can seem particularly difficult if you're not used to it.
And it's not so much because of the cold. In the UK, certainly in the south, it gets kind of cold, but we're surprised if it gets as low as minus seven at night. It's not that cold and we don't get a lot of snow. But what we do get is a lot of dark days and cloud and rain.
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD?
So depending upon where you come from in the world, this might be very different to what you're used to. And some find it 'mood lowering'. It affects your level of happiness, in other words. That word 'mood', M O O D. We use it as a technical word in a mental health context. And it means 'a range of happiness or sadness', I guess, your 'mood'. So dark weather can affect people's mood. There is actually a disorder called 'Seasonal Affective Disorder', or S A D, 'sad' for short. That's an appropriate acronym, isn't it?
So 'seasonal', S E A S O N A L, means 'of the seasons'. And the season we're concerned with here is 'wintertime'. 'Affective', A F F E C T I V E means 'to do with feelings', 'to do with our emotions'. And 'a disorder'? D I S O R D E R. That's a medical term and it means a condition where 'all is not well'. Things aren't right for you if you have a 'disorder' of some kind. So that's Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
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Do you have enough Vitamin D?
There may be some biological basis for SAD. Apparently people do typically make less serotonin in the wintertime. As well as all of this, one critical and quite well known fact. If you live somewhere relatively north like the UK in the wintertime, then pretty much everyone is short of Vitamin D.
This has been known for a long time, but our experience during the COVID epidemic underlined this. We were encouraged to take Vitamin D supplements to help our immune system. The immune system in the body, I M M U N E. That's our system for fighting off diseases. So good advice during a pandemic. Taking a daily Vitamin D capsule became the routine for many.
Normally the rest of the year, our bodies make enough Vitamin D because we see sunshine. The action of sunshine on our skin helps us produce Vitamin D. But the problem in countries like the UK, in the wintertime we don't see enough sunshine. And even when the sun comes out which it does sometimes, if you go outside, it's too cold to expose your skin very much. So pretty much everybody in the UK is short on Vitamin D in the winter.
Take Vitamin D supplements?
So our NHS website advises that you supplement, you take a Vitamin D supplement between September and May. So most of the year! The NHS website also says 'If you have dark skin, for example, if you have an African, African-Caribbean, or South Asian background, you may also not make enough Vitamin D from sunlight.
So it seems that the lighter your skin, the more quickly it makes Vitamin D from sunshine. And if you have darker skin, then you may be even more in need of a Vitamin D supplement, if you live somewhere like the UK. That's worth knowing, isn't it?
But 'mindset' and expectations of winter count too
But thinking of my clients from the southern hemisphere, who find themselves struggling with the lack of light in Britain in the winter, there's also some interesting evidence around 'mindset' and expectations for wintertime. ' Mindset', M I N D S E T. That means your way of thinking about something, your expectations.
So for example, if you're used to mainly living outdoors, eating off a barbecue, swimming in the sea or outside most of the time, playing a lot of sport in the sunshine, and those are the main ways that you get your pleasure, you can find yourself at a bit of a loss in London in December. How to enjoy yourself? What is there that's enjoyable when it's dark and cold and rainy outside? There are things, but it can take a lot of adjustment sometimes for people.
Experiments in Tromsø, Norway
A Health Psychologist called Kari Leibowitz also became interested in this. She went to live in Tromsø, Norway, well within the Arctic Circle to try to find out more. Pronunciation of that town name? I believe in Norwegian, it's more like 'Tromsø'. Tromsø. So I'll try and say it like that.
Now Tromsø, so that's T R O M S Ø - the name of the town, doesn't get much sunshine. Or rather it doesn't get sunshine at all between mid-November and mid-January. So if you want to understand Seasonal Affective Disorder, then it's a good place to go to study it.
There is light in the daytime, even at this time of year. They get two to three hours of indirect sunshine. So it doesn't appear above the horizon, but the sky becomes light for two to three hours a day.
It had already been identified that people from Tromsø don't particularly suffer from depression in the winter though, despite the low light levels.
Why not? If the problem is entirely biological, you would think that living in those conditions would lower people's mood and be quite difficult.
Use Native English Speakers To Help Improve Your Pronunciation Vocabulary And Intonation Ep 613 Article Image
A sunny winters day. Make speaking English easier and gain confidence: start learning English fluently now!
SAD may be psychological, rather than biological?
So Kari Liebowitz, the Health Psychologist, did some really interesting work with this. She became convinced that it was much more about the 'mindset', the expectations of the people who lived in Tromsø.
A 'Wintertime Mindset Scale'
She even designed a 'Wintertime Mindset Scale' to try and measure this in a questionnaire. Here's a quote from her work. She asked participants in Tromsø to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like these.
There are many things to enjoy about the winter.
- I love the cosiness of the winter months.
- Winter brings many wonderful seasonal changes.
And negative statements like these.
- Winter is boring.
- Winter is a limiting time of year.
- There are many things to dislike about winter.
Not surprisingly, Kari Liebowitz found a correlation - that's 'correlation', C O R R E L A T I O N and 'correlation' means 'a link' or 'an association' - between people who answered these questions more negatively and this wintertime low mood.
So it seems that some of Seasonal Affective Disorder is about your expectations around wintertime. I guess if you see wintertime as an opportunity to do winter sports, go skiing, maybe some ice skating, maybe a bit of snowboarding, then you might well be excited about the winter season!
My personal feelings about late winter in the UK?
Although January and February are not my favourite times of year, I don't find that they make me depressed or lower my mood. It's not that I dislike winter. I love all the seasons and what I like about the UK is how much the seasons vary, how different they are.
I think what influences me, I grew up in the north of the UK. So my expectations of winter are that it will be dark, cold, and rainy with the occasional beautiful sunny day when it's crisp and frosty. But you still go out for a walk. Wintertime is an opportunity to ignore the garden, which takes so much of my attention the rest of the year, and focus on making the inside of the house nice and 'cosy'. That's C O S Y.
I might do decorating and house projects. And the idea of nestling under a blanket and watching Netflix with a hot cup of tea on the side is very appealing. Or lying on your bed and reading a good book. That's great too!
We're even about to take a winter holiday in February in the UK! For me, as long as you've got your waterproofs, your boots, and some jumpers and you've got a nice place to stay and some nice places to eat and possibly a log fire, there's still plenty of pleasure to be had in the wintertime.
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Give yourself 'a boost' in the wintertime - unless it's summer where you are!
So there you are. Some tips on how to 'give yourself a boost in the wintertime'. And if you live in a sunny climate somewhere where perhaps it's summertime at the moment in February, or where the weather's good all year round, this may still be interesting information for you, but at least something that you don't have to worry about!
There's some good vocabulary in this podcast. Lifestyle, biology, geography, climate and health. We do like to cover a variety of topics in the Adept English Podcast, but always with a view to helping you improve your English language skills at the same time.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon.
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