Taking Yoga mats to local classes and eating healthily are two ways to beat the winter blues this year, according to master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming Michelle Clemons.

The author of Transforming Stress to Success explained that keeping active is important for those who feel down in the colder months, while a healthy diet can also do wonders to lift the mood.

"Diet and lifestyle play a huge part in lowering the risk of depression. Regular exercise is now proving to be as effective in reducing depression as some of the top anti-depressant drugs, but without any side effects," she commented.

"Diet is equally important: avoiding processed foods and eating fresh, seasonal and preferably organic produce. Also, maintaining omega 3 and vitamin D levels is vital when combating depression."

This approach could work especially well for older women after research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that females who exercise more are 20 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who rarely exercise.

The women who did 90 minutes or more of physical activity each day had a significantly reduced likelihood of getting depression compared with females who do less than ten minutes a day, while those who watch TV for three hours or more every day have a 13 per cent higher chance of becoming depressed than women who hardly ever watch television.

Study author Michel Lucas from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston commented: "Higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower depression risk."

However, the researchers noted that some women involved in the study may have had undiagnosed depression, which is why the preferred to watch TV and do less exercise than the other participants.

The findings could persuade females to invest in quality Yoga mats and take up Yoga and stretching classes in order to beat stress in the run up to Christmas.

Posted by Freya Harper