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Dr Hilary Jones gives his top 5 tips for beating the Blue Monday blues

We’re deep in the dog days of winter and winter depression is a very real thing. On what is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year, ITV Daybreak’s Health Editor and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, Dr Hilary Jones, gives his top 5 tips to keep you smiling on Blue Monday.

Go on the run

Exercise has been proven to lift your mood and improve well-being. Sticking to a new regime is much easier if you have a goal. I’ve signed up to the Bupa Great South Run in October to keep me motivated over the coming months.

Go the extra mile for someone else

Studies show that acts of kindness for someone else make us feel good too! Get your friends to sponsor you for your run and raise funds for charity. I’m running for Alzheimer’s Society to support people with dementia and their carers. You can get your charity place at alzheimers.org.uk/greatrun

Be green

Research carried out by mental health charity Mind shows that connecting with nature through activities like walking and gardening can be as effective as prescription drugs in treating mental distress. Find out more at www.ecominds.org.uk

Be game for a laugh

Whether it’s watching a favourite film or TV show or going out to a comedy night, laughter is an endorphin trigger and helps to reduce stress. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.

Go bananas

Bananas contain tryptophan, which the body uses to make the happiness hormone serotonin. They also contain potassium and vitamin B6 levels which can become depleted if you’re under stress. Include leafy greens, energy packed seeds, some oily fish and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, and you’ll be feeding you mind as well as your body.