“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” — Hafiz of Shiraz

It’s easy to let our inner light dim during the cold, short days of winter. Research shows that the lack of sunshine, combined with the low temperatures, can easily bring on the winter blues due to the lack of vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin levels. That’s why it’s more important than ever to embrace positivity at this time of year, and let our inner light shine through the darkness.1 And when our own light shines bright, we encourage everybody else to shine their own light more brightly too.

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” — Shakti Gawain

Research carried out by self-compassion expert Dr. Neff has shown that embracing our imperfections, and treating ourselves with as much love and care as we treat others, will lead to better health, lower anxiety levels, and a more happy and optimistic outlook. Loving our own light by adoring our own true self is the key to brightening winter.

We recommend beginning this process of self-love with this simple exercise: Stare at yourself in the mirror, notice all the traits that make you unique, then smile, show your teeth, and start laughing. Forcing ourselves to laugh, and looking intently at ourselves while doing so, will draw us one step closer to seeing how radiantly our inner beauty can shine.2 This raw, luminous energy that rings out with our smile and laughter improves our own mood, and, when shared with others, will infect the rest of world with light.

By eating well, sleeping enough, staying hydrated, and spending time with loved ones, we are nurturing our inner light. Looking after our physical being impacts our mental being, and vice versa, so it’s important to take care of both. Practicing yoga and meditation have both physical and mental benefits, by calming the mind and creating space for self-reflection.3 Don’t neglect either body or brain during these winter days: Studies have shown that Netflix and a glass of wine is not always what we really need.

When you feel your flame flickering, try channeling your light and energy onto aims, goals, and dreams. It’s always a good time (and the New Year is an especially popular time) to focus on what you want from the coming weeks, months, and years. Setting these intentions will ignite your passions, and encourage your true self to shine brightly.

“The true yogi is one who is like a lion with himself, always striving to eradicate that which shadows his inner light, and like a lamb with others, always striving to see their inner light, no matter how dense may be the clouds that hide it” — Prem Prakash

There will always be times when our inner light starts to fade, but it will never go out. Remember that there will always be light beyond the darkness: the sun will rise; summer will arrive; energy and joy will return. We just need to give these beautiful moments the space to reenter our life. Your own shining light within yourself is all you need to peacefully and confidently guide yourself through every season.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of a single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” — Buddha.

1. Fredrickson, B., et al. Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 2008.

2. Lesley, Lyle. Laugh Your Way to Happiness: The Science of Laughter for Total Well-Being. Watkins Publishing, June 2014.

3. Pilkington, K., et al.Yoga for depression: the research evidence, Journal of Affective Disorders, December 2005.