Mood-boosting tips will help shrug off the blues

Exercise helps keeps your mind and body healthy
Exercise helps keeps your mind and body healthy
Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

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One in two women and one in five men will be affected by depression at some point in their life.

For some people, conditions like depression or panic attacks may be triggered by a one-off occurrence – for others it can be an ongoing condition that can cripple everyday activities.

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, winter can make many people feel down, so it’s important to keep your mind and body healthy throughout the next few months.

The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) is a tool used to assess wellbeing. The test can be taken online at nhs.uk.

Even if your score is average, it could be beneficial to explore ways in which you can improve your feelings of wellbeing. The following tips can help improve your mood:

· Socialise: connecting with people can have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing.

Developing and maintaining relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will not only contribute to making you feel better in the short term, it will also have a positive longer term effect of giving you a support network of people to turn to if you have problems

· Keep an active body and mind: even a small amount of exercise can go a long way to improving your wellbeing.

Go for a walk with friends or go for a gentle swim to boost your mood. Taking up a new sport can help you to socialise as well as giving you a chance to exercise. Developing this new skill will give you a sense of satisfaction.

Keep your brain active by constantly challenging yourself. Learn a new language, read a book you find difficult or try maths puzzles, like Sudoku, to give yourself confidence and a sense of achievement.

· Give something back: Think about doing something which benefits others. It’s easy to let a busy life get in the way of trying something new, but make a little time to do something kind for other people.

It can be anything from helping your elderly neighbour with their shopping to volunteering in a charity shop. Helping someone else will give you a sense of satisfaction.

· Don’t sweat the small stuff: Try to keep your problems in perspective.

If you are stressed out at work, take a short break. Ten minutes away from your desk to make a cup of tea or chat with a colleague will help you detach from the problem, often making it easier to find a solution.

If you’re struggling with day-to-day activities as a result of very poor mental wellbeing, do seek advice from your GP as it’s possible you may be suffering from a mental health issue.

Mental illness remains the biggest single cause of disability.

There is still some degree of stigma surrounding these issues but there is no need to suffer in silence with so much support available.

The following options are common methods of dealing with mental health problems:

You can be referred to a therapist through your GP.

These services are available to everyone, so even if you think your problem is trivial, seek help from a therapist, as talking through problems can be incredibly beneficial.

Discussing issues is a good starting point for deciding on how best to deal with them in the long term.

Talking about your problems with a support group of people who can relate to your condition can be incredibly beneficial.

Medication is an option to discuss very carefully with your GP. Medication can be used to help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and mania.

Medication is only one of the available treatment options and should only be used if both you and your GP are in complete agreement that it’s the best way to deal ith your specific difficulties.