Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s judgements, behaviour, feelings and sense of well-being. People with depressed mood can feel sad, uneasy, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, irritable, and restless. Although there is no 100% assurance you can completely prevent depression, there are many ways to help decrease your likelihood of getting it.
1. Get enough sleep.
Improving your sleep pattern is an important first step. According to researchers, it strongly advised to have 8 hours of sleep every night for optimum performance, however, reality checked, this is not always possible in today’s frenzied world. You need to figure out the time frame you need to function at your best, and do your best to hit that goal every night.
Go to bed at the same time each day, turn off the screens a bit earlier than normal, and look into light therapy if your work schedule means you don’t get much sunlight.
2. Exercise regularly.
Believe it or not, exercise is incredibly valuable, not only for general health, but boosting ones mood as well. It has a natural antidepressant. In fact, a recent study showed that exercise, Cognitive behavioural therapy, and medications show similar effects. You don’t need to run a marathon to obtain the benefits of exercise, weight-training and cardio will work. After just 15 minutes of exercise, both the patients’ symptoms of depression and cortisol levels were significantly reduced.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
You are what you eat!
Eating a low-fat diet, low sugar, rich in vitamins, nutrients, omega-3s (found in fish), and folic acid can be helpful for mood regulation and balance. Researchers have found that eating omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19499625) rich food reduces symptoms of depression. Make sure to eat regular meals and snacks, including a good source of protein at every one.
4. Avoid drinking alcohol.
Some people say they drink alcohol to “forget their problems”. Alcohol is a depressant. It can alter your mood and make you more likely to get the blues. Drinking a lot can harm your brain and lead depression. And those at risk for depression are also at greater risk of developing alcoholism. However, one glass of red wine, which is equivalent to 5 ounces, a day has been shown to be beneficial in some studies.
5. Find your sense of purpose.
Aside from having enough sleep, doing your exercise, and eating a healthy diet, having a sense of purpose significantly boosts ones mood. According to Richard Leider, “People who wake up with a sense of purpose live up to seven years longer than those who don’t.”
Finding activities you enjoy that give you a sense of purpose is a never-failing way to improve your mood thus reduce your risk of having depression.
These are not only effective in preventing occurrence of depression but treating it as well.