Depression: 12 tips to prevent it
Most experts agree that there are many people who can suffer depression at some point in life . This is not surprising with the pace of life of today's society and the influence of the culture of Western societies, which usually reward attractive or successful individuals (for example, at work).
In addition, this situation has increased with the economic crisis, which has caused situations of vulnerability for many individuals. When talking about economic slowdown is inevitable to refer to the emotional state of the person. In fact, even its terminology in the economic downturn is often related to concepts of mood: an example can be "The Great Depression" as a result of the crash of 29.
Different causes of depression
There is no single definitive idea about the causes of mood disorders: biological, educational or psychosocial factors usually interact in the appearance of this pathology . There are several types of depression: major depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, etc. Therefore, this phenomenon has been approached from different points of view, giving rise to different explanatory models that affect biological, psychological or social aspects.
In general, there seems to be some consensus in stating that there is a greater or lesser predisposition to suffer from a depressive disorder in the face of triggers (situations, events, etc.) of greater or lesser magnitude that could appear at a certain point in the course of life . For example, a rejection or economic difficulties may be sufficient reason to emotionally destabilize an individual, but his interpretation of the facts seems to be key in the development of this disorder.
The 12 tips to prevent depression
Therefore, education can help many people to interpret in a positive way the different negative situations that may arise throughout life, acting as a protective factor . And although in some serious cases it is necessary to go to a specialist so that he can help to overcome the disorder as soon as possible, it is possible to acquire a series of habits to prevent the onset of this pathology:
1. Improve emotional intelligence (IE)
Managing emotions intelligently is considered fundamental for one's physical and psychological adaptation. Emotional intelligence is understood as a set of skills that allow us to perceive, value and express emotions, access them, understand them and, finally, regulate them. Emotional experience can be experienced in two different ways: direct experience and reflection on experience.
There are many investigations that conclude that emotional intelligence is a useful indicator to assess the emotional well-being and psychological adjustment of people . In fact, high scores in emotional intelligence are associated with a more optimistic interpretation of the events that occur, a greater satisfaction with life and a greater psychic health.
At first it was thought that the relationship between emotional intelligence and depression was indirect. However, subsequent investigations have shown that a low level of IE directly influences the scores obtained in depression . Attending emotional intelligence courses or seminars can help improve this ability and, therefore, prevent depression.
2. Practice exercise
Surely you've heard this before, but we're going to repeat: physical exercise brings you many benefits both physical and psychological. To prevent depression, physical exercise is positive, as promotes the release of endorphins , chemical substances that produce a feeling of happiness and euphoria.
In addition, both cardiovascular exercise and anaerobic resistance work (for example, working with weights) will bring benefits for your physical and mental health. Finally, practicing exercise can also improve the image you have of yourself, and this can help improve your self-esteem. Exercising three times a week, in 45-minute sessions, may be enough to prevent mood disorders.
3. Eat healthy and balanced
Diet is not going to cure depression, but it can help us feel better. Eating healthy and balanced improves mental health and well-being , because it affects general health and, therefore, mental health. Some studies claim that the Mediterranean diet is ideal to prevent depression. This occurs because it is a diet rich in folate and B group vitamins that are essential in the metabolic pathways of methionine, homocysteine and s-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), involved in the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters that affect mood , such as dopamine and serotonin.
Other research claims that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as sardines, trout or nuts) reduces the symptoms of depression. In addition, eating foods rich in tryptophan helps prevent depression. By last, it is necessary to avoid "trans" fatty foods (such as industrial pastries) , because they favor depressive symptoms. These participate in the increase in body weight and make individuals more unhappy.
4. Have an active social life and practice your hobbies
Having an active social life has been shown to be effective in preventing depression. ROdear of good friends, attend events and practice the hobbies that we like, are positive to have a fuller life .
Therefore, it is necessary not to isolate yourself and go out to the streets to have good times. Supporting yourself in your intimate friends and in your relatives, that is, in people who care about you, is a protective factor of depression. Also, if these are fun, they will make you have a good time and transport you to a positive and pleasant mood.
In addition, practicing our hobbies gives meaning to our lives. Finding those activities that motivate us and make us be in a state of flow will provide us with incredible moments. In fact, a study conducted in Japan showed that those people who practiced physical exercise regularly, were fed a healthy diet and enjoyed their hobbies, They were happier and were less likely to suffer from depression.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others and stop thinking about what others think of you
Constantly comparing yourself with others can have negative consequences for your self-esteem. The world in which we live requires us to be perfect in everything and at all times, even irrationally. But not only comparing yourself with others is negative, but it is usual to be aware of others' likes all the time .
We all like to fall well and be accepted by others, but many spend too much time and energy trying to like others. The psychological wear to compare oneself with others and to be thinking of pleasing everyone is not healthy and produces unnecessary stress.
6. Live the present
Living the present takes care of your emotional health and your mood. This seems easy to do, but we are usually with the body in the present but the mind in the past or the future . Learning to live in the present helps you to improve well-being and protects you from depression. This is one of the principles of Mindfulness therapy.
To learn more about the benefits of Mindfulness, we invite you to read our article:"Mindfulness: 8 benefits of mindfulness"
7. Set realistic goals
Even if you eat healthy, you play sports and you live in the present, nothing will motivate you more than having a purpose in life or goals that get . A Blue Zones investigation concluded that those who had a purpose in life lived up to seven more years.
However, setting yourself irrational goals has a negative effect on your well-being. Therefore, it is necessary that the goals that you mark be realistic. Finally, we must not forget that not only the long-term goals are going to have a positive effect, but also, it is necessary to have short-term objectives to stay motivated during the process, something we often forget.
8. Accept and forgive yourself
Learning to forgive and accept oneself is an important aspect to be able to prevent depression. That is it is necessary to forgive ourselves for the mistakes made or for the things that we did not do as we should . The past can not be changed, but the perception we have about the past does.
Accepting and forgiving oneself is a proper choice, which means also facing our past and our present, learning to live with what we can not change and assuming a positive attitude towards life. This is not an easy task, but it is possible.
9. Learn to live with uncertainty
Since we were young we have been educated to have a quiet and perfect life, but reality is not always the case, especially in these times. For example, just over a decade ago it was usual to have a job for a lifetime. Nowadays, having a stable job has become something strange in many professions.
So, Today we are here, but tomorrow ... who knows . Having a flexible mentality is much more adaptive than having a rigid mentality, and learning to live with uncertainty and with a positive attitude towards change, makes you a much more prepared person for the current reality.
10. Take care of your level of stress
Stress is very common in the pace of life we lead, but When stress is continued, things can get worse and lead to depression . In fact, many researches affirm that one of the symptoms that can appear in Burning Syndrome (or Burnout) is depression.
Treating stress as soon as possible can be beneficial to prevent a worsening and future onset of depression. In addition, it has been shown that a bad organization of time can cause different disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
eleven.Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol is a legally and socially accepted drug that may seem harmless. The reality is that, consumed frequently, can cause serious health problems . Other drugs such as marijuana, which are also classified as soft drugs, can cause depressive disorders.
But not only the prolonged consumption of these substances is harmful, but going drugged or drunk can lead you to commit actions that you can later regret . Therefore, you should not use illegal drugs, but if you are going to drink alcohol, let it be in moderation.
12. Sleep as necessary
Good sleep hygiene positively affects your emotional well-being . Disturbing circadian rhythms is associated with depression, and resynchronizing them using melatonin supplements has been shown to have an antidepressant effect. If your work schedule allows it, try to have habits that help you sleep better.
For example, follow a schedule that allows you to sleep more or less the same hour and avoid exciting substances from mid afternoon.