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6 SECRETS for banishing those dark thoughts and raising your spirits

1. Find a new friend

Research shows that fewer people have close friends than they did 30 years ago. Surveys also reveal that there has been a considerable increase in the number of people suffering from clinical depression over the same period. 2,000 doctors issued more than 20 million prescriptions for antidepressants in the UK alone. While there's no clear evidence that the two factors are linked ,they probably are. That's because there's so much to show that supportive friendship -can protect you from depression. Since family members can often be the cause of many problem ,finding new friends may be the best path to a brighter life. But how do you make new friends especially when you're an older adult ? signing up for a committee r an evening class may be a good way to start. Or try inviting a college to join you for lunch or a drink after work.

2. Get a dog

Walking the dog could be the key to happiness ,according to a team of researchers at the University of Portsmouth. They conducted a survey of 65 dog owners and found that nearly always felt obliged to take their dog for a walk,even if they were feeling low and it was freezing cold or raining outside. Once they had stepped outside ,they usually felt much better. Being made to exercise also  kept them physically fit and improved their social contact with like minded people .which clearly played a part in helping to ward off any feeling of isolation and worthlessness they may have had.

3. Eat fish

The  reason why so many of us complain about being depressed could be that we're not eating enough fish. That's what  a growing body of evidence indicates. The link,researchers say,is related to omega 3 fatty acids. These "good" fats help to nerve cells ,such as those in the brain,to communicate with one another more effectively. Among the many studies into the links between fish consumption and mood,several found that people who ate a healthy diat which included fatty fish,such as tuna and salmon two or three times a week for five years ,had significantly fewer feelings of depression and hostility than a similar group who rarely consumed fish. So elevate your mood with a daily dose of omega 3.  If you don't like fish ,try taking two tablespoons of flaxseed oil or take up to 3 1g capsules of fish oil a day.

4. Seek the sun

If you live in the UK ,you know that February is actually the longest not the shortest ,month at least thats how it feels . By this point in winter,poor weather ,lack of sunshine grey skies by day and the seemingly endless dark nights  all conspire to a sense og gloom. A trip to sunnier climes will give you a powerful dose of natural light ,which can help to lift your mood. You don't have to have to be wealthy -look at web sites which had good bargains. Just make sure you get some good sunshine. When you get back,you'll be refreshed and revitalised ,you'll only have a few weeks to spring arrives.

5. Stay awake

If you struggle with depression,here's a surprising finding that might make you feel better, Researchers have discovered that skipping an entre night of sleep can quell depression for at least a month. No one is sure why this works,but speculations is that depriving yourself of sleep resets your internal clock and this enables someone who is depressed to relax and sleep better.

6.Indulge yourself

you're always economising and doing things on the cheap. Someday,you say ,you'll buy cashmere and splurge out on other luxuries. Don;t wait too long. ther is evidence that constantly denying yourself life's little plesures can lead to serious sense of regret as you get older. Over time,the regret gets worse .while the guilt over indulges quickly fades.



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