15/01/2011 19:04 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Beat Blue Monday

Feeling a bit down today? Don't worry, you're not alone. It's the most depressing day of the year according to a calculation by psychologist Cliff Arnall. His formula apparently takes into account the weather, debt, motivation levels and the time elapsed since Christmas.

But instead of getting depressed by the fact it's Blue Monday, we thought it might be put to better use as a reminder to get some perspective on our lives.

Avoiding the blues can be tough in January. Photo: PA

Get out
Socialise and get as much fresh air as possible. Go for a walk - there's always something to be inspired by in
the great outdoors. Plus, exercise always makes you feel better. "Make plans only with people who nourish or inspire you and avoid those who drain you" says Jules McClean, a clinical advisor from

Help someone who needs it
Giving your time to others will automatically make you feel better.

Start with a routine
Many people who experience depression say their worst time is when they wake up, according to clinical hypnotherapist, Caroline Carr: "If this applies to you, get out of bed as soon as you wake up, to avoid dwelling on things."

"Sticking to a morning routine will help. One client told me that for him it's important he always irons his clothes for the day before breakfast. While another follows a guided meditation each morning without fail."

Look for the positive

It may sound like a cliché but it works. "When you spend time thinking about things that please and soothe you, you take your focus off how terrible you feel" says Caroline, who has over 20 years' experience helping people overcome depression. "It takes time but this will definitely help you to feel better."

Challenge your negative thinking

"Start to notice exactly what you're telling yourself and others. Challenge your negative thinking. Demand proof" says Caroline.

For example if you tell yourself: "This always happens to me." Ask yourself: "Always? Is that really true? Do you mean every single time in your life the exact same thing happens?"

Get used to watching your language and weeding out the words that make you feel helpless, replacing them with empowering ones. You can make a lasting difference to the way you think and feel by changing your self-talk.

Caroline Carr will be co-running a series of Working With Depression workshops in London throughout 2011, beginning on 29 January. Visit for details.

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