On Wednesday my blog revealed how depression increases your risk of death by many different causes. If you do think that you may suffer from depression, we do suggest that you get professional help. Today I have a few more tips for you on preventing depression and minimize its effects.
Touch you loved ones
The more loved you feel, the less likely you are to become depressed. Here are some simple ways to “feel the love”.
Set a standing lunch date with your closest friend. It she happens to live 200 miles away have your “date” on the phone.
Work on your relationship with your children. Their love helps you stay healthy.
Tell your partner “I love you” every day. He or she should feel compelled to tell you the same, an dthe constant sweet talk will spread a veil of love and comfort over your day.
Keep a container of flax seed in the fridge.
Sprinkle it over yogurt and salads, mix a tablespoon into pasta sauce, and blend it into smoothies. The seed of the flax plant is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids available in our diets, and many studies find that this valuable fat significantly reduces the risk of depression.
Consume less vegetable oil
Just as important as adding omega-3s to your diet is cutting back on omega-6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils used to make everything from margarine to doughnuts to potato chips. One study found the people diagnosed with major depression had nearly 18 times as many omega-6s as omega-3s in their blood, compared with about 13 times as many for subjects who were not depressed. The depressed patients also had much higher levels of inflammatory chemicals.
Get a full physical
As mentioned, your depression may not be related to anything emotional but rather to something physical.
Take a brisk 15-minute walk every day
You probably know that exercise can help prevent or treat mild depression. For years, though, researchers thought you needed a pretty high level for it to have any effect. Now a study from researchers at the University of Iowa has found that just 15 minutes at a brisk pace could help, bringing greater energy, less tiredness, more pleasurable feelings, and a greater feeling of calmness.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
You’ll get countless benefits: the benefit of “giving back”; the social benefits of interacting with others; the physical benefit of moving around (walking dogs or cleaning cages). And, if you play with dogs and cats, their joy provides a virtual vaccine against depression. Just playing with Fido for a few minutes a day boosts levels of feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin.
Walk outside in the sun, particularly in the winter
You need a daily dose of sunlight to keep seasonal affective disorder, or SAD at bay. This form of depression is related to a lack of ultraviolet light. If the weather is too awful for walking, read the newspaper sitting under a full-spectrum light, which you can buy at most large discount and department stores.
Visit your public gardens once a week
Walk around the gardens in all seasons and note what’s new and how the winter landscape differs from that of spring and summer. The peacefulness of the place will help reduce stress hormones and improve mild depression.
So, if you are feeling a little blue, try some of these ideas out and see if things are looking up.
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