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Got the blues in January?

Winter TreesHow to beat the blues

According to some formulae, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year (the calculation involves bad weather, Christmas debt and time since failing to fulfil New Year’s resolutions, among others) and has been tagged ‘Blue Monday’.

Although there is no scientific basis to this formula there is no doubt that this is a difficult time of year for some people and why the day has developed this status isn’t that surprising. Any party that lasts from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve is bound to result in a serious hangover, and the return to reality after a long break can be depressing for some. It’s especially true in the current economic climate, where the news may appear to be an unrelenting and daily dose of decline, dour weather and increased prices and lower income.

However there are simple things that anyone can do to cheer themselves up, even on this allegedly bleakest of days.

Firstly, exercise. Many people will have joined a gym in the New Year but this isn’t strictly necessary, and it is easy to fall away, particularly when the nights are cold and dark and you have all those DVD boxsets that you received as presents to watch. The best thing to do is to make small changes to your routine which increases the amount of exercise you do.
Examples of these small changes could be getting off the bus a stop early or, for those that drive to work, parking the car a five-minute walk away.Even minor activities can improve your mood.

Another thing that can improve your mood is diet, so try and eat healthily. That doesn’t necessarily mean not eating things that you like, but trying to achieve a reasonable balance between those things that are good for you such as fresh fruit and vegetables and those that are ‘naughty but nice’. Good nutrition supports your brain as well as your body.

Many people may not feel that they need this advice after a heavy festive period but being careful about alcohol intake is important. It might feel like having a couple of drinks can cheer you up but you need to remember that alcohol can act as a depressant, and what goes up must come down.

It is unlikely that ‘sleeping well’ will be in many peoples’ New Year’s resolutions but getting a decent night’s sleep is vital to anyone’s wellbeing. Having a good routine is key, as sleep irregularities can negatively affect mood.

Some people find sharing their problems difficult, and this is especially an issue among some men, who think talking about their feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is actually the truth. It takes great courage to ask for help and there is no shame in it. If you feel uncomfortable talking to people you know, then organisations like the Samaritans are available 24-hours a day and you can call anonymously. And always remember that feeling sad at times is just part of the human experience. It will pass.

People who feel low often isolate themselves from others but this is the last thing they should do. Spending time with people whose company you enjoy and engage in activities such as going for a meal or to the cinema. If money is a problem, then go for a walk or visit a museum or art gallery. There are plenty of things that you can do for free.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is so much you can do to improve your mood, whether it’s exercise, watching a film you enjoy or socialising. The New Year can be a new and more positive start.

If you regularly experience sustained periods of anxiety or depression then make an appointment with your GP.

If you would like to know more about Life-Goals Psychotherapy in Warrington, Cheshire and South Lancashire click here.

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Have you started feeling low?

Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_002

Sorry that you are feeling low.

You will get over it fairly quickly and stop yourself sinking into a full depression if you stick to a few simple principles.

First: do get out of bed each day at a regular reasonably early time. Try to eat regular nourishing meals even if you don’t really feel like it. Wash and clean your teeth. This will stimulate your system. Go to bed at a regular reasonable time that means you’ll get about 8 hours sleep. Getting your body clock into a routine will help your mind adjust and stop you from getting into a full depression.

Second: Keep active even if you don’t feel like it. Act as if you felt like it at first, and soon you will. Choose things to do that you will enjoy. Don’t sit and watch TV. Being a passive recipient will leave you time to brood. A film is better than TV if you want to sit and watch something for a bit, because you are likely to be more engaged. Aim to do something active each day.

Third: Talk about how you feel and what is bothering you to a friend. Listen to their response, and then let it go. Don’t keep thinking about it. This is called rumination and will make you feel worse. If only’s and self reproach will not help. If there are lessons to be learned from what has happened then make a vow to yourself that “next time I’ll …..” and then let it go.

If you want to know more about this then read http://www.life-goals.co.uk/wordpress/natural-ways-…

Natural ways to lift Depression

Depression

One of the ways of overcoming depression, which is often overlooked, is the positive effect of activity. It is hard to stay feeling really low if you are doing something. One of the reasons for this is that depression is made worse by thinking about feeling low, and being busy stops this process of thinking about being depressed, called rumination. The other way in which doing something helps, is when what is done gives a sense of achievement or pleasure. Most people will naturally choose to do some things that give the sense of achievement or pleasure, but if you focus on mainly these activities, then depression will lift faster.

If you are feeling down, keep a diary for a few days or a week of what you have done. Record on a scale of 1 – 10 (where 1 is really low and 10 is happy) how you feel, as you do various activities. Then mark which activities give you a sense of achievement or pleasure, by putting an A or a P by them. Try to increase the time spent on these A & P activities.

Achievement and pleasure activities give us positive feedback about life, positive reinforcement that life is worth living, pleasurable, and good. This is the opposite of the hopelessness and pointlessness that cause depression.

If you want to use this approach to feeling better its important to do the activities even if you don’t feel like it sometimes. Act “as if”. The feeling better often comes later, so begin even when you feel low, and keep going. You will most likely suddenly realise that you feel better without realising how and when it came about. It’s a natural and low tech, side effect free way to lift mood.

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