Continued on next page possible cause Stress (see Recognizing stress, p.173) may be the cause of your low mood, particularly if it occurs over a prolonged period.

action If possible, try to keep stress to a minimum. Discuss problems with close family or friends. Devote some time each day to leisure activities that you enjoy. Exercising regularly may also be beneficial, as may relaxation exercises (p.32). If your depression seems to be getting worse, or if you feel you cannot cope, consult your doctor.

possible cause It is common for a viral illness to be followed by a period of feeling low.

action Try to return to your normal routine gradually. Make sure you eat well, get plenty of sleep, and take regular exercise to rebuild your strength. If you continue to feel low or have symptoms that indicate you may have a depressive illness (see Recognising depression, left), consult your doctor. He or she may prescribe antidepressant drugs and/or recommend psychological therapies (opposite).

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Have you recently had a serious illness or accident?

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