Yesterday, I had a ‘dark day’, feeling particularly depressed. I know, from friends and from readers’ messages, that a lot of you are also feeling the very same way.

Even people who are usually upbeat and positive are sadly falling victim to ‘dark and intrusive thoughts’.

It’s hardly surprising; the constant barrage of negative news, the feeling of uncertainty and hopelessness now combined with the gloomy grey weather was bound to take a heavy toll.

At one point I suddenly felt as if the walls were closing in and I just had to escape. Thankfully, we are blessed here in Torbay, having the healing qualities of the beach and sea in close proximity.

Walking across the expanse of beach at Abbey Sands, I was lost in thought, when suddenly, and with lots of excited yelping, two tiny balls of white fluff came bounding down the steps, screaming past me, racing each other to the water’s edge - they were two tiny Maltese dogs.

Their sheer exuberance and zest for life made me smile.

Scores of other people, walking on the beach that cold and miserable day, also stopped to watch these funny little dogs romping chaotically around and each face was suddenly lit with a laugh or smile.

It reminded me of something Ricky Gervais once said; “dogs are magical, they’re amazing, it’s the closest I get to spirituality, watching a dog.”

And now, I fully understand what he meant.

If you are feeling down, walk to Abbey Sands, Preston Beach or Goodrington, and just stand or sit for a while and watch the dogs play – they’re guaranteed to make you smile. Doing so will not, of course, erase all your financial worries, your fears for your childrens’ future or for a faltering business, but it will give you a moment of precious peace - a little time of clarity.

Walking home from watching those two happy dogs playing, I realised that my valued long-term plans just have to be shelved for now. For the sake of my mental health I simply just have to take one day at a time – it’s all most of us can do for now.