How Do I Reduce My Risk Of Depression

Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In Australia alone, it is estimated that one in five individuals will experience depression in their lifetime.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent depression, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Here are some proven ways to promote mental health and reduce your risk of depression:

1. Stay Physically Active

Physical activity is associated with mental wellbeing. Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise helps in releasing endorphins, which are the natural mood lifters.

Moreover, participating in group activities or with like-minded individuals can positively affect self-esteem and mood.

2. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

What you eat affects your mental and physical health. Eating a diet that is rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats can help reduce the risk of depression. A healthy diet improves cognitive performance, improves concentration and maintains emotional well-being.

The Australian Government recommends the following:

  • Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Eat less saturated fat and sugars
  • Choose wholegrain and high-fibre foods
  • Consume lean proteins such as, fish, chicken or legumes

3. Get Adequate Sleep

Insufficient sleep can cause mood swings, irritability, and other negative effects that may lead to depression. Adults should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and teens should aim for 8 to 10 hours. Stick to a consistent sleep routine, avoid caffeine and screen time before bed, and make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to restful sleep.

4. Address Stress and Anxiety

Chronic stress and anxiety are significant risk factors for depression. To reduce stress levels, try to incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine such as deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, meditation or walking. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a psychologist or therapist.

5. Stay Connected with Friends and Family

Social isolation and loneliness are factors that can cause depression. Building and maintaining a strong support network of friends and family can help reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness.

6. Seek Professional Help

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s essential to seek professional help. Depression is a medical condition, and like any illness, it can be treated. Your GP can assess your symptoms and provide you with a referral to a mental health professional if needed.

Conclusion

Depression can be a debilitating and life-altering condition, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing it. By staying physically active, eating a well-balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, addressing stress and anxiety, staying connected with friends and family and seeking professional help when needed, you can promote mental and emotional wellbeing and reduce your risk of depression. Remember, depression is treatable, and there is help available to those who need it.

FAQs

FAQs: How Do I Reduce My Risk Of Depression?

Q: What are some lifestyle changes I can make to reduce my risk of depression?

A: There are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of depression, including exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress levels. Additionally, socializing with friends and engaging in activities you enjoy can also help reduce the risk of depression.

Q: Are there any specific foods that can help reduce the risk of depression?

A: Research suggests that certain foods can be beneficial in reducing the risk of depression, such as oily fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. It’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to promote both physical and mental well-being.

Q: Can therapy or counseling be helpful in reducing the risk of depression?

A: Yes, therapy or counseling can be beneficial in reducing the risk of depression. Talking with a trained mental health professional can help individuals identify and address negative thought patterns, learn coping strategies, and develop healthy habits that can improve mental wellness.


References

1. Golden, S. A., Covington, H. E., & Berton, O. (2010). Translational approaches to understanding depression and treatment. Nature neuroscience, 13(4), 406-416. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.2514

2. Sanchez-Villegas, A., Martinez-Gonzalez, M. A., Estruch, R., Salas-Salvado, J., Corella, D., Covas, M. I., … & Serra-Majem, L. (2013). Mediterranean dietary pattern and depression: the PREDIMED randomized trial. BMC Medicine, 11(1), 208. Retrieved from https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-208

3. Liu, R. T., Kleiman, E. M., Nestor, B. A., & Cheek, S. M. (2015). The hopelessness theory of depression: A quarter century in review. Clinical psychology: science and practice, 22(4), 345-365. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cpsp.12132