Adopt THESE 7 healthy habits to reduce your depression risk

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healthy-habits(NaturalHealth365)  Navigating the complex landscape of the early 2020s, it’s evident that the human experience faces unprecedented challenges.  We stand at a crossroads where technological advancements soar, yet our collective happiness seems to wane.  The weight of the COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the ongoing mental health crisis, casting a long shadow over our lives.

For those grappling with depression, you must recognize that you’re not alone in this journey.  Acknowledging your emotions, taking proactive steps, and committing to a healthier lifestyle can be transformative.  This article unveils the revelations of a new study – seven remarkable habits that can slice your risk of depression in half.

Nature vs. nurture dilemma: How lifestyle habits influence depression risk

In both academic circles and the realm of mental health, the age-old nature versus nurture debate finds new relevance when applied to the intricacies of depression.  Recent research paints a compelling picture, suggesting that behaviors exert a more significant influence on depression risk and its persistence than genetics alone.

A study featured in the pages of Nature Mental Health delves into the profound impact of specific lifestyle habits on the human psyche.  This extensive research effort involved the analysis of a vast cohort comprising 287,282 individuals sourced from the United Kingdom Biobank – an invaluable biomedical database and research resource.  Among this diverse pool, 12,916 individuals struggled with depression before the commencement of the analysis.

This in-depth study unfolded over nine years, ultimately revealing a striking revelation – a healthy lifestyle is a formidable shield against the grip of depression, reducing the risk by an astounding 57%.  The researchers identified seven distinct lifestyle factors intimately linked to this remarkable decline in the risk of depression.

1.  Social networking, your cheerful ally against the blues

The study shows establishing and maintaining a traditional social network characterized by face-to-face interactions is a natural and rewarding way to improve both the mind and spirit.  Maintaining an “IRL,” meaning “in real life” social network, decreased the risk of depression by 18%.

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Moreover, frequent social interactions were the most critical protective lifestyle factor for preventing recurring depressive disorder.  Regularly interacting with others lifts the spirit, provides one with a sense of dignity, and releases happy chemicals like dopamine within the brain.

2.  Exercise, a mood-boosting elixir

Regular exercise is essential for physical health.  However, the benefits of exercise also extend beyond the body.  Regular exercise releases the happy chemicals, referred to as endorphins, within the brain.

Endorphins function as neurotransmitters, transmitting signals within the brain to mitigate pain and induce pleasurable sensations.  During exercise, the brain orchestrates the release of these endorphins as a natural response to physical exertion.

3.  High-quality sleep, your secret weapon 

In the quest to thwart depression’s grip, quality sleep is critical.  Defined as 7 to 9 hours of slumber each night for the purpose of this study, sleep takes center stage in the battle against the blues.

Its influence is profound, providing a remarkable 22% reduction in both treatment-resistant depression and isolated depressive episodes.

4.  Steering clear of smoking

Another compelling revelation from the study is the significant impact of abstaining from smoking on preventing depression.  Among the participants in the study, those who chose not to smoke demonstrated a noteworthy 20% decrease in their likelihood of experiencing depression.

While it’s true that nicotine, the addictive component of cigarettes, may offer a momentary break from stress and anxiety, it’s important to recognize that this relief is short-lived.  Smoking carries significant long-term consequences and is closely linked to a heightened risk of mood disorders, including depression.

5.  Minimal or no alcohol consumption

While alcohol may offer temporary respite, it comes with its own set of challenges.  It can suppress stress and anxiety temporarily, but it also carries detrimental effects, including dehydration, damage to brain cells, and the potential for dependency.

Remarkably, among the study participants, those who opted for moderation or abstained from alcohol witnessed an encouraging 11% decrease in their risk of experiencing depression.

6.  Living an active lifestyle

The study illuminates a powerful relationship between an active lifestyle and the risk of depression.  Participants who embraced regular physical activity witnessed a notable 14% reduction in their likelihood of experiencing depression.

Even those who took small but deliberate steps to stand, walk, and stretch instead of remaining sedentary for prolonged periods saw their depression risk decrease by an impressive 13%.

7.  Shield against depression with a healthy diet

The study reveals that adopting a healthy diet is a prudent strategy, with the risk of depression dipping by 6% among those who make this mindful choice.  Echoing this sentiment, the American Psychological Association emphasizes that embracing whole foods like nuts, vegetables, fruits, and seeds is likely to diminish the risk of depression.

So, what’s the takeaway?

These aren’t complicated life changes; they’re practical, everyday choices that can make a world of difference for your mental health.  By embracing these seven habits, you’re not just reducing your risk of depression – you’re taking charge of your happiness and paving the way for a better, brighter life.

Editor’s note: If you’re interested in hearing more about mental health strategies that are designed to help you feel better naturally … simply let us know by saying “yes” in the comment section below.  Thank you.

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