There is nothing amusing about depression, especially if you consider that it can lead to poor quality of life, self-harm and even suicide. That’s why if you or someone close to you is at risk of suffering from this disorder, taking the necessary steps to address it should be a top priority.
How to Stop Being Depressed: Tips to Keep This Disorder at Bay
As MindBodyGreen aptly puts it, “[T]he best antidepressants on Earth don’t come from a pill bottle.”1 More and more scientific research now confirms that simple lifestyle changes can actually boost your mood and keep you from falling victim to a depressive episode. Here are some strategies you can try:2
• Maintain your physical health. If your body is in good shape, then your brain and your mood will be at their best as well. Consume a wholesome diet, make sure to address stress and eliminate your nutritional deficiencies, which can all play a significant role in preventing depression.
• Do not sacrifice your sleep. Researchers found that disturbances to your circadian rhythms may be linked to depression, and that using melatonin supplements or light therapy may be effective in curbing this disorder.3 Other useful ways to improve your sleep include setting a sleep schedule (going to bed and rising at the same time every day), sleeping in total darkness and keeping EMF-emitting gadgets out of your bedroom.
• Stay active. There’s mounting evidence on the efficacy of exercise in alleviating depression. One study found that just 15 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike helped reduce symptoms and cortisol levels in depressed individuals.4
Another study conducted by researchers at Duke Medical School found that exercise worked just as well as medication against depression, and that the individuals who went through an exercise regimen were less likely to suffer a relapse. This means that exercise not only works as well as antidepressants — it actually works longer.5
• Meditate. Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques that works against anxiety and depression. As part of a study on the benefits of meditation, the brain scans of Matthieu Ricard, a close confidante of the Dalai Lama, who meditates on a daily basis, were studied.
It revealed that he produces gamma waves that are linked to attention, consciousness, memory and learning at levels that were “never reported before in the neuroscience literature.” They also found that his brain's left prefrontal cortex had excessive activity compared to its right counterpart, which means he has “an abnormally large capacity for happiness and reduced propensity toward negativity.”6
• Monitor your blood sugar levels. Keeping a close watch on your sugar consumption may be a key factor in your reduced risk of depression. After analyzing data from six countries, researchers found that there’s a significant correlation between depression rates and sugar intake.7
• Find your “passion” in life. Look for enjoyable activities that can give you a sense of purpose — this is an effective way to improve your mood and lower your chances of becoming depressed.
Don’t Be Afraid to Turn to Others for Help and Support
Spending time with your family and loved ones can make a huge difference in your mood and perception of life. If you feel this is not enough, seek preventive therapy, join a support group or even try online counseling. These simple techniques may provide you with unbiased insight to help you through this ordeal.