Many people do not take mental health seriously, doing even less to ensure that they maintain an optimal mental state. It would be safe to assume that as much as 75% of men are not comfortable discussing their emotions, and thus sweep symptoms of depression under the carpet.
Is this ideal? No, far from, as all this does is compound a possibly simple issue, and deprives you of help you could have been receiving.
With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of developing depression, even though it may also have a genetic link. Regardless, by limiting your external risk factors, you can limit your chance of developing it.
Let’s explore what you can do today:
If you exercise regularly, you will know the high that follows upon successfully completion. This feeling is due to the effect of endorphins, our brain’s natural feel good chemicals. In depressive states, these brain chemicals (especially serotonin and dopamine) are depleted, and result in changes in brain chemistry. Though it is possible to live for the next high that accompanies exercise, is it really that bad to look forward to your next exercise session so much? Hardly likely. Exercise, and do it often!
Mindfulness meditation is key to living in this world today, as we are bombarded with stress from all angles. Mindfulness does not shield us from the stress of everyday life; rather it helps us to deal. Mindfulness helps us to realize that bad things will happen- and that we just need to take it for what it is, and move on.
Be thankful for the things you have, and do not linger on things that were not meant to be. Seeing that many cases of depression can be attributed to anxiety, fear of the unknown, and things that may never happen, it stands to argue that mindfulness is a safe insurance plan.
Having fun is essential for your health as an entire unit. Working for hours on end, every day like a zombie will not do your health and favors, nor will it make you more successful. In fact, you are likely to be dissatisfied with life and may end up questioning if it is worth it in the end. Ensure you make time to go out and have fun; take vacations at least every two years, as it will ensure you are well rested and have renewed vigor for work.
Eat More Omega-3 Fats
Many people shy away from fats, but little do they do the importance they bring to the table. Fats are an essential macronutrient for health, one whose roles cannot be filled by other macros. Though omega-3 fats are by far the superior type of fat when it comes to promoting the health of your brain and nervous system, other fats are also important.
Many hormones and neurotransmitters are synthesized from fats, with a deficiency in the diet leading to suppressed production of the same. If you find it difficult to consume enough food consuming omega-3 fats (since fish is the richest source), be sure to consume supplemental forms.
Keep A Circle Of Close Family And Friends
There’s nothing worse than feeling alone in this world, a scenario which undoubtedly worsens depression and its manifestations. Having a closely knit support group of family and friends is essential to keep your mental health in check, and is also necessary for you to have someone to confide in when things seem tough. Just remember, you were not meant to be alone in this world; there are those who love you, just reach out!
As you can see, there are many ways that you can take control and possibly prevent depression, the most common mental disorder in the United States. Take the time to make a plan, especially if you have depression in your family.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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