An important strategy that helps boost your mental health
3:5:37 2023-09-20 115

If "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," here's a strategy that might help boost your mental health. Spend the next week monitoring your daily habits so you can write them down to keep track of them.

Perhaps the most prominent of these habits begins with the question: How well do you sleep? Are you eating foods that nourish you? Have you made time to practice your favorite hobby and exercise? Finally, did you get together with friends or loved ones?

Your answers to these questions may help explain your mood and your risk of depression, according to NPR.

A new study has found that people who maintain a wide range of healthy habits, from good sleep to physical activity to strong social connections, are less likely to suffer from bouts of depression.

They found that a lower risk of depression exists even among people who have genetic variants that make them more susceptible.

Of course, serious depression needs treatment, and medications and therapy help many people feel better. But in recent years, as science has developed, it has become clear that depression is not just a chemical imbalance

It's more complex, and a body of evidence increasingly points to the importance of habits and behaviors to help keep mental health strong

1- Good sleep

Good sleep and rest are at the top of the list. Sleeping seven to nine hours a night, on average, reduces the risk of depression by about 22%.

While sleep not only enables us to consolidate memories, which helps us remember what we learned during the day, but research shows that it plays a major role in keeping our immune systems strong.

2- Exercise

There is also a strong body of evidence linking physical activity to improved mood. A previous study, based on data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys, found that people who exercise regularly report fewer days of poor mental health.

The latest analysis found that physical activity was more effective than medication in reducing symptoms of depression.

3- Good nutrition

In addition, researchers found that people who maintained a healthy eating pattern were less likely to suffer from depression, as multiple studies show that following a vegetarian approach full of vegetables, berries, whole grains, lean proteins including beans, and healthy fats including nuts can help. Reducing the risk of disease.

4- Not smoking

When it comes to smoking, there is a lot of evidence that tobacco is not a healthy habit. There are programs to help people quit smoking, including medications, therapy and smoke-free apps.

5- Limit viewing of smart devices

As cultural norms and the allure of technology lead to us spending more time in front of screens, there is growing evidence that this can harm our physical and mental health.

Humans are meant to move, and while watching your favorite streaming shows may be fun in the moment, if this behavior becomes a daily habit, you're probably spending too much time on the couch and not enough time interacting with people or moving.

Developing friendships and social relationships

Spending time with people we love, especially when we engage in activities we love, helps improve our mood. Another new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, based on surveys of people in 16 countries, found that people 65 or older who have hobbies report higher life satisfaction and less depression.

It is noteworthy that the study prepared at the University of Cambridge included data from about 300,000 people in the Biobank Database Initiative in the United Kingdom.

The researchers identified seven healthy habits, and found that people who maintained five or more of them reduced their risk of depression by 57%. The researchers also analyzed markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein, which is linked to depression, and found that a healthy lifestyle was associated with better outcomes. C-reactive protein concentrations rise in response to inflammation.

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