How happy are you?

According to recent research, this year’s Blue Monday (which was earlier this week) could be the most depressing #BlueMonday ever due to recent celebrity deaths, anxiety over Brexit and fears about a Donald Trump presidency in the US.

Dr George Mackerron from the University of Sussex has spent the last six years monitoring Britain’s mood using an app called Mappiness, which asks people to record how they feel on a daily basis, out of 100. The happiest day recorded so far through the app was Christmas Day 2010, and the unhappiest was 9th November 2016 when the US election was called for Donald Trump.

Many of us have experienced a low mood at some point in our lives but if it’s becoming more regular than normal there are a few steps you can take towards a healthier well-being:-

• Spend time with loved ones and positive people. Connect with the people around you that make you feel happy – whether it’s friends, family, colleagues or neighbours. When we surround ourselves with positive people, we clear away the negativity that exists around us and create a happier and more focused well-being.

• Keep active and eat well. Studies have shown that regular exercise supported by a healthy balanced diet can help increase a low mood. Keeping fit will give you more energy, improves memory and can make you feel more relaxed and positive. It also relieves stress and helps with sleep problems.

• Consider using mindfulness techniques or meditation as they have been shown to have benefits for mood, attention and general coping skills for the ups and downs of life. Just a simple 10 minutes a day can clear your mind, reduce stress, improve concentration and will also contribute to improved overall well-being and happiness.

• Treat yourself. Whether it’s a hot bath with candles and a book, a new item of clothing or booking a back massage. We all know how busy and challenging life can be sometimes – so make sure you are taking time out to look after number one. And make sure you do it regularly! You will definitely feel better for it.

Use Blue Monday as a springboard for change, whether it’s to get fit, lose weight, embark on a dream or change your job. Do you want to know how happy you are at work? There’s a test you can take which only takes 5 minutes to complete – and it can give you some interesting results and suggestions to take forward. Give it a try!

If you need any further information or advice about mental health issues or have any concerns about a colleague or a friend please visit the Mind website: