DEPRESSION AND CREATION LIFE
If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with depression, there is hope for recovery. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, fatigue, changes in weight or appetite, lack of interest in activities you once loved, and potential thoughts of death and suicide. Fortunately, you can take control of your symptoms and live a happier and more fulfilled life. It’s all possible through the power of CREATION Life.
DEPRESSION IS NOT THE SAME FOR EVERYONE
When you are diagnosed with depression, then you are likely in the care of a health professional. If you have not found help, seek the help you need. Life can be better and happiness is possible, but the thoughts of this journey may be overwhelming.
You may also have questions about how to manage your new way of life: Is there a way this could have been prevented? Can my life go back to the way it was before? What does the future hold? How does my diagnosis affect my loved ones?
When faced with these questions, it’s important to take advice from the most reliable, scientifically-proven research studies. This website includes practical tips from credible research, so you’ll discover the help you need to achieve wholeness in every aspect of your well-being.
Your journey to a more fulfilled life begins with one step, then another. Small, consistent changes lead to major improvements. CREATION principles will help you on your journey of making healthier choices.
Start today by following these suggestions:
PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH It’s normal to feel down from time to time, but when feelings of sadness last for weeks and interfere with normal daily activities, it can be a serious condition that requires treatment. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms of depression, make your health and well-being a priority, and work with your doctor to find the right treatment for you.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT Depression and weight are closely linked, so it’s important to tackle both problems. The best approach to weight loss is to decrease calories and increase physical activity. A good place to begin is by changing the way you look at food—consider it a source of nutrition instead of a way to cope with depression. Set small weight-management goals, such as eliminating sugary drinks for one week, then move on to another attainable goal.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP Therapy can be a vital part of treatment for depression. A good therapist can help you cope with feelings and symptoms and can help you change behavior patterns that contribute to depression. Therapy is not just talking about your problems—it is working toward solutions. Some therapy may involve homework, such as tracking your moods, journaling your thoughts, or participating in social activities that have caused anxiety in the past.
CHOOSE TO STOP Research has shown that smoking daily is linked to depression. For people already managing depression, stopping smoking can be tricky, because giving up cigarettes can trigger worsening symptoms of depression. Fortunately, the symptoms will eventually pass, and the health benefits of quitting will outweigh any short-term struggle. To get the help you need to quit smoking, talk to your doctor.
MANAGE STRESS Chronic stress can wear you down, leading to a bad mood, strained relationships, sleep problems, and difficulty going about your daily routine. If you are feeling overwhelmed, make time for natural stress relievers, such as prayer, exercise, adequate sleep, nutritious food, and quiet time to relax.
PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH
Reference Riedl, David, and Gerhard Schüßler. “The Influence of Doctor-Patient Communication on Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review.” Zeitschrift für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie 63, no. 2 (2017): 131-150.
Research Summary Researchers from Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria systematically reviewed 17 controlled studies, and eight qualitative studies on the influence of the doctor-patient relationship and communication on health outcomes, retrieved by a search of the medical literature from 2000-2015. The statistical analysis showed that building a doctor-patient relationship had a positive effect on gathering health information and patient education in 60% of the studies. Communication skills showed improved results and enabled treatment-related emotions and behavior. Although more studies will be necessary, this systematic review revealed different domains of the doctor-patient relationship and communication positively influenced different objective (e.g. blood pressure) and subjective (e.g. pain scores) health outcomes.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Reference Kaner, Gülşah, Meltem Soylu, Nimet Yüksel, Neriman Inanç, Dilek Ongan, and Eda Başmısırlı. “Evaluation of nutritional status of patients with depression.” BioMed research international 2015 (2015).
Research Summary Researchers from multiple institutions in Turkey collaborated to determine the nutritional status and body composition of patients diagnosed with depression based on standardized clinical criteria. A total of 59 individuals, ages 18-60, admitted to Mental Health Centre of Kayseri Education and Research Hospital, were included in the study. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups: depression group and control group. Body composition measurements, some biochemical parameters, demographic data, and 24-hour dietary logs were evaluated. The results showed the intake of vitamins A, thiamine, riboflavin, B6, folate, C, Na, K, Mg, Ca, P, Fe, Zn, and fiber were significantly lower in the depression group. In addition, the average levels of body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio were significantly higher in the depression group.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
Reference da Silva, Ricardo Azevedo, Taiane de Azevedo Cardoso, Thaíse Campos Mondin, Amanda Neumann Reyes, Suelen de Lima Bach, Luciano Dias de Mattos Souza, and Karen Jansen. “Is Narrative Cognitive Therapy as Effective as Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the Treatment for Depression in Young Adults?” The Journal of nervous and mental disease 205, no. 12 (2017): 918-924.
Research Summary Researchers from Catholic University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil explored the effectiveness of narrative cognitive therapy (helps people to put more attention on the positive storylines that make up their lives) and cognitive behavioral therapy (helps people to look at and to change disruptive beliefs) in the improvement of perception of quality of life in young adults with depression at 12-month follow up. The sample included 97 patients that either attended seven sessions of narrative therapy or seven sessions of cognitive therapy. The results showed there was a significant improvement in all depression areas from baseline to post-intervention and 6-and 12-month follow up from both models. In conclusion, both models were effective in the improvement of perception of quality of life.
CHOOSE TO STOP
Reference Bakhshaie, Jafar, Michael J. Zvolensky, and Renee D. Goodwin. “Cigarette smoking and the onset and persistence of depression among adults in the United States: 1994–2005.” Comprehensive psychiatry 60 (2015): 142-148.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Houston, University of Texas, Queens College and University of New York, United States studied the relationship between daily cigarette smoking and the risk of developing depression over a 10-year period among adults in United States, and whether successful smoking cessation reduced the risk of developing depressive disorder. Data were drawn from the Midlife Development in the United States Survey. Analysis showed that persistent daily smoking was associated with an increased likelihood of developing depressive disorder. Additionally, abstinence from smoking for more than 10 years significantly reduced the risk of depression.
Reference Taniguchi, H., and K. Tanaka. “Interpersonal stressors, interpersonal stress coping, and depression among Japanese teachers.” European Health Psychologist 16, no. S (2014): 940.
Research Summary Researchers from Nara Medical University, Japan examined the influences of relationship based stressors, coping with stress, and depression among Japanese teachers. Participants consisted of 424 Japanese teachers. Validated assessments were administered to each teacher. Statistical analysis showed that stress levels were significantly higher for people reporting relationships stress than other forms of stress. Moreover, not coping with friction in relationships was directly related to depression. The authors conclude that it is important to learn positive ways to cope with relationship conflict to help prevent depression.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
Rest is a powerful antidepressant. The relationship between poor sleep and depression is a chicken-or-the-egg scenario: depression can cause insomnia, and insomnia can cause depression. Fortunately, it is possible to break the cycle and improve your sleep.
To get restorative rest, try these tips:
GET ENOUGH SLEEP A change in sleep habits is one of the most common symptoms of depression. Taking care of yourself and getting the right amount of restful sleep can help you manage your depression. Studies have shown that between seven and nine hours of sleep per night is ideal. A simple test to see what’s right for you is to note what time you wake up when you have not set an alarm.
BEWARE OF CHRONIC INSOMNIA After a bad day, it’s normal to lie awake at night thinking about what went wrong. However, if you find your sleep is regularly disrupted by feelings of unhappiness, anxiety, or hopelessness, it could be a sign of something more serious. If you’re suffering from an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, practice healthy sleep habits and work with your doctor to better manage your depression.
PRACTICE HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS Improve your quality of sleep by going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. Also, avoid caffeine at least six hours before bed, keep technology out of the bedroom, and practice deep breathing. To drown out noises that disrupt sleep, try earplugs or a white noise machine. Not only do these habits promote sleep, but they also help ease depression.
RELAX WITH MUSIC For centuries, music has been used to calm the soul, so it’s no surprise that recent studies show that soothing music can have a calming effect on people struggling with depression. Instead of simply having music playing in the background, set aside a few moments to listen to your favorite music more intentionally. Close your eyes and relax as you enjoy the calming tunes. To explore further healing aspects of music, try music therapy, in which a therapist guides you through musical activities that help you express yourself and address emotional needs.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK Sleep is not the only kind of rest you need. It’s important to take rejuvenating breaks throughout your day, so step away from the screens and go for a walk outside—even better, invite someone to join you. Be intentional about taking time each week to energize your spirit.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Reference Zhai, Long, Hua Zhang, and Dongfeng Zhang. “Sleep and depression among adults: a meta-analaysis of prospective studies.” Depression and anxiety 32, no. 9 (2015): 664-670.
Research Summary Researchers from Qingdao University Medical and Qingdao University, China conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the recommend sleep duration for the prevention of depression: short – less than six hours, ideal – between seven and nine hours, and long – over nine hours. PubMed and Web of Science updated on October 22, 2014 were searched for eligible publications. Seven prospective studies were included, involving 25,271 participants for short sleep duration and 23,663 participants for long sleep duration. Compared with the normal sleep duration the short and long sleep duration was significantly associated with increased risk of depression in adults.
BEWARE OF CHRONIC INSOMNIA
Reference Fernandez‐Mendoza, Julio, Sarah Shea, Alexandros N. Vgontzas, Susan L. Calhoun, Duanping Liao, and Edward O. Bixler. “Insomnia and incident depression: role of objective sleep duration and natural history.” Journal of sleep research 24, no. 4 (2015): 390-398.
Research Summary Researchers from Penn State University College of Medicine and Pennsylvania State University, United States examined the predictive role of the severity of insomnia on incident depression (defined as two visits with a negative depression screening, followed by two positive visits). A general population sample of 1,741 individuals from the Penn State Adult Study without depression were followed up via standardized telephone interview after 7.5 years. All subjects completed a full medical evaluation, one-night somnogram and personality inventory. The results found that poor sleep and insomnia were significantly associated with incident depression. The highest odd of depression was highest in insomnia with habitual short sleep duration. The persistence of insomnia and worsening of poor sleep into insomnia significantly increased the risk of depression whereas their full remission did not. The authors concluded that persistence and worsening of poor sleep or insomnia are significant predictors of incident depression.
PRACTICE HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS
Reference Suh, Sooyeon, Sara Nowakowski, Rebecca A. Bernert, Jason C. Ong, Allison T. Siebern, Claire L. Dowdle, and Rachel Manber. “Clinical significance of night-to-night sleep variability in insomnia.” Sleep medicine 13, no. 5 (2012): 469-475.
Research Summary Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, and Palo Alto University, United States studied the clinical outcomes of night to night sleep variability and insomnia symptoms. The participants were 455 patients seeking treatment for insomnia in a sleep medicine clinic. All participants received group therapy for insomnia. Variability in sleep schedule was assessed using sleep diary data. Two composite scores were computed; a behavioral schedule score and insomnia symptom score. Validated assessments were administered at the start and end of the study. The results revealed that variability in sleep schedules predicted reduction in insomnia and depressive severity following group therapy.
RELAX WITH MUSIC
Reference Huang, Chiung Yu, Yuan Mei Hsieh, and Hui Ling Lai. “Effect of Stimulative and Sedative Music Videos on Depressive Symptoms and Physiological Relaxation in Older Adults: A Pilot Study.” Research in gerontological nursing 9, no. 5 (2016): 233-242.
Research Summary Researchers from National University of Tainan, Tainan compared the effects of stimulating and sedative music videos on depressive symptoms and relaxation in older adults with depressive symptoms. Using a two-week design, interventions alternated between watching a stimulating and sedative music video and vice versa. Each intervention lasted for 30 minutes on one day during the first week and was then alternated to another intervention for one day during the following week. The results showed that stimulating and sedative music videos had beneficial effects on depressive symptoms and physiological relaxation compared with baseline data.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
Reference Hunter, Emily M., and Cindy Wu. “Give me a better break: Choosing workday break activities to maximize resource recovery.” Journal of Applied Psychology 101, no. 2 (2016): 302.
Research Summary Researchers from Baylor University, United States examined the association between workday break characteristics and well-being, in 95 employees, observed over five workdays. Results indicated activities that were chosen by the employee, and earlier in the work shift, related to more recovery following the break. In addition, break length interacted with the number of breaks per day such that longer breaks and frequent short breaks were associated with more recovery than infrequent short breaks.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
Your surroundings influence your mood and well-being. A chaotic setting can make you feel restless, while a soothing setting can calm your spirit. Everything your sense—what you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch—has an impact on your mind and body.
Create a pleasant environment using these methods:
CLEAR THE AIR Studies show that long-term exposure to air pollution can cause changes in the brain that lead to depression. If you live or work in an area with poor air quality, play it safe and avoid tobacco smoke and other chemical pollutants, and do your outdoor exercise in areas with better air quality. To help clean the air in your home, use air filters and air-purifying houseplants, such as peace lilies, bamboo palms, and English ivy.
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS Spending time in nature can transform sadness and anxiety into calmness and relaxation, making you feel better overall. Be intentional about spending time outdoors, even if it’s simply leisurely walking and enjoying your neighbor’s flowerbeds or potted plants.
BRING NATURE INDOORS Surround yourself with life by filling empty spaces in your home or office with green plants. In addition to purifying the air, houseplants having a calming effect. According to research, people feel less nervous and anxious when they are surrounded by indoor plants or have a view of nature. So when you are feeling stressed, stop and look outside for a few minutes. If you don’t have a view of nature from your window, look at a painting or photo of nature. Having a naturally lit environment can also make you feel happier and calmer, so open the blinds and let the sunshine in.
GET A DAILY DOSE OF SUNLIGHT While too much of the sun’s warm rays can be harmful to your skin, the right balance can have mood-lifting benefits. Spending time in sunlight increases the brain’s release of serotonin, a hormone that can boost your mood, help you feel calm, and ward off depression. Plus, direct exposure to the sun boosts your supply of vitamin D. Experts suggest going outside without sunblock for 10 minutes each day around midday.
QUIET THE NOISE Have you ever noticed that you start to feel anxious and depressed when you are surrounded by loud noise, such as heavy traffic? If so, you are not alone. Chronic loud noises can negatively affect mood and increase a sense of depression. If the noise around you is getting you down, withdraw to a place that brings you peace. If you can’t get away, escape by putting on headphones or earplugs and visualizing a peaceful scene.
CLEAR THE AIR
Reference Seidler, Andreas, Janice Hegewald, Anna Lene Seidler, Melanie Schubert, Mandy Wagner, Patrik Dröge, Eva Haufe, Jochen Schmitt, Enno Swart, and Hajo Zeeb. “Association between aircraft, road and railway traffic noise and depression in a large case-control study based on secondary data.” Environmental research 152 (2017): 263-271.
Research Summary Researchers from the Institute and Policlinic of Occupational and Social Medicine, Germany assessed the link between depression risks and aircraft, road traffic, and railway noise. The study population included individuals greater than 40 years that were insured by three large statutory health insurance funds and were living in the region of the Frankfurt international airport. Address-specific exposure to aircraft, road, and railway traffic noise in 2005 was estimated. Based on insurance claims and prescription data, 77,295 cases with a new clinical depression diagnosis between 2006 and 2010 were compared with 578,246 control subjects. The results showed that chronic traffic noise exposure increased the risk of depression in the residents.
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Reference Reklaitiene, Regina, Regina Grazuleviciene, Audrius Dedele, Dalia Virviciute, Jone Vensloviene, Abdonas Tamosiunas, Migle Baceviciene et al. “The relationship of green space, depressive symptoms and perceived general health in urban population.” Scandinavian journal of public health 42, no. 7 (2014): 669-676.
Research Summary Researchers from Vytautas Magnus University, University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Institute of Cardiology, Lithuania explored the relationship between living in green space areas (trees and grass), the use of green space and depressive symptoms and perceived general health. A random sample of 6,944, 45-72 year-old, Kaunas city residents were studied. Self-reported questionnaires of health behaviors, depressive symptoms and perceived general health were completed. Residential closeness to green spaces was defined as living less than 1,000 feet from a park. The use of the park was divided into two categories: no park use or use less than four hrs/week and use of the park more than four hrs/week. The results revealed that people living less than 1,000 feet from a green space, and who used the space more than four hrs/week had lower odd of experiencing depressive symptoms and reported good health compared to the people who lived greater than 1,000 feet and spent less than four hrs/week in nature.
Reference Cox, Daniel TC, Danielle F. Shanahan, Hannah L. Hudson, Richard A. Fuller, Karen Anderson, Steven Hancock, and Kevin J. Gaston. “Doses of nearby nature simultaneously associated with multiple health benefits.” International journal of environmental research and public health 14, no. 2 (2017): 172.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Exeter, UK, and University of Queensland, Australia surveyed 1,000 respondents in Southern England, UK to determine the relationships between: (a) the frequency and duration of time spent in private green space and the quantity of neighborhood vegetation cover of nature exposure and (b) health outcomes, including mental, physical and social health. Statistical analysis revealed that the higher the time in nature weekly the lower levels of depressions were observed. In addition, a positive relationship was found between weekly time in nature and mental and social health and increased physical activity.
BRING NATURE INDOORS
Reference Qin, Jun, Chanjuan Sun, Xin Zhou, Hanbing Leng, and Zhiwei Lian. “The effect of indoor plants on human comfort.” Indoor and Built Environment 23, no. 5 (2014): 709-723.
Research Summary Numerous researchers from China conducted a series of experiments to investigate the effects of characteristics, such as color, odor, and size of plants on human comfort, which was evaluated by a satisfaction survey and physiological measurements. Different kinds of plants with different levels of color (green, tint, and multicolor), odor (no odor, slight scent, and strong scent) and size (small, medium, and large) were chosen for the experiment design. A survey of participants’ satisfaction degree as well as physical measurements were used to show the response of participants to the environments either with different plants or without plants. The results demonstrated that an interior office with plants was preferred over an office without plants. The environments with green, slightly scented and small plants bring comfort.
Reference Chang, Chen-Yen, and Ping-Kun Chen. “Human response to window views and indoor plants in the workplace.” HortScience 40, no. 5 (2005): 1354-1359.
Research Summary Researchers explored the effects of window views and indoor plants on human mental and emotional responses to workplace environments. The emotional and physical effects of window views and indoor plants were measured on each participant and photo impact 5.0 was used to simulate the environment in an office where six conditions were examined: 1) window with a view of a city; 2) window with a view of a city and indoor plants; 3) window with a view of nature; 4) window with a view of nature and indoor plants; 5) office without a window view; and 6) office without a window view and indoor plants. The results showed that participants were less nervous or anxious when watching a view of nature and/or when indoor plants were present. When neither the window view nor the indoor plants were shown, participants suffered the highest degree of tension and anxiety. GET A DAILY DOSE OF
Reference An, Mihyang, Stephen M. Colarelli, Kimberly O’Brien, and Melanie E. Boyajian. “Why we need more nature at work: Effects of natural elements and sunlight on employee mental health and work attitudes.” PloS one 11, no. 5 (2016): e0155614.
Research Summary Researchers from Central Michigan University, United States, and Hong Kong Baptist University, China investigated the effects of direct and indirect sunlight exposure on employee mental health and work attitudes. Participants were recruited via an online panel from the United States and India and analyzed data from 444 employees. The results showed that exposure to sunlight related positively to job satisfaction and organizational commitment and negatively to depressed mood and anxiety. Direct sunlight was a strong predictor of anxiety, while indirect sunlight was a strong predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment.
QUIET THE NOISE
Reference Seidler, Andreas, Janice Hegewald, Anna Lene Seidler, Melanie Schubert, Mandy Wagner, Patrik Dröge, Eva Haufe, Jochen Schmitt, Enno Swart, and Hajo Zeeb. “Association between aircraft, road and railway traffic noise and depression in a large case-control study based on secondary data.” Environmental research 152 (2017): 263-271.
Research Summary Researchers from Institute and Policlinic of Occupational and Social Medicine, Germany assessed the link between depression risks and aircraft, road traffic, and railway noise. The study population included individuals older than 40 that were insured by three large statutory health insurance funds and were living in the region of Frankfurt international airport. Address-specific exposure to aircraft, road, and railway traffic noise in 2005 was estimated. Based on insurance claims and prescription data, 77,295 cases with a new clinical depression diagnosis between 2006 and 2010 were compared with 578,246 control subjects. The results showed that chronic traffic noise exposure increased the risk of depression in the residents.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
You’ve likely heard that exercise offers a quick mood improvement by releasing feel-good chemicals called endorphins. More importantly, low-intensity exercise sustained over time offers long-term improvements, because it spurs the release of proteins, which causes nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function works as an antidepressant and may make you feel better.
To get active, follow these suggestions:
SEE YOUR DOCTOR Your doctor will know what activities are most effective for managing depression. Even if you have trouble getting around, you can do seated exercises that give your body the workout it needs. Your doctor may also want to monitor the effects of exercise on your depression symptoms, so be safe and talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
GET MOVING Depression causes appetite changes, disturbed sleep, and reduced energy, all of which can result in less motivation to exercise. It can be a hard cycle to break, but getting up and moving even a small amount will help. Start with walking five minutes a day, or choose another activity you enjoy. From there, increase the minutes until you reach your goal.
DO WHAT YOU ENJOY Regular exercise will gradually lead to nerve cell improvements that will lessen your feelings of depression. Within a few weeks of getting active, you should begin to feel better. But exercise is a long-term treatment, not a one-time fix, so you’ll need an activity you can sustain over time. The key is to choose an activity you like that you’ll want to keep doing.
MAKE IT A HABIT The best way to make activity a habit is to start with an exercise that is so easy you can’t say no, even if you don’t feel like it. Instead of worrying about your entire workout, focus on the two minutes it takes to get started. For example, fill up your water bottle and put on your walking shoes. Often, this little two-minute start will be enough to get your motivation flowing and help you finish the task. It also helps to set a schedule, such as exercising 30 minutes in the morning.
BUILD MUSCLE STRENGTH Working out with weights does more than bulk up muscles. The brain may get a boost from the body’s extra muscle as well. Studies have shown that people who did weight training once or twice a week improved their brain function and decreased symptoms of depression. For best results, add weight training of all your major muscle groups to your cardio exercise.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR
Reference Miller, Wendy, and Patrick R. Brown. “Motivators, Facilitators, and Barriers to Physical Activity in Older Adults: A Qualitative Study.” Holistic nursing practice 31, no. 4 (2017): 216-224.
Research Summary Researchers from Indiana University School of Nursing, United States conducted semi-structured interviews with adults 65 years and older who engaged in regular physical activity to identify common motivators, facilitators, and barriers to participating in regular exercise. The authors used these interviews to identify major themes and discuss implications for population health. The results showed that there are age-specific barriers and motivators which must be acknowledged. In particular, older patients respect their physician’s advice and have regular contact with them. They report that their family doctor plays key role in the initiation and maintenance of exercise behavior. In conclusion, the identification of reliable predictors of exercise adherence will allow healthcare providers to effectively intervene and change patterns of physical activity in older sedentary adults.
Reference Bull, Fiona C., and Konrad Jamrozik. “Advice on exercise from a family physician can help sedentary patients to become active.” American journal of preventive medicine 15, no. 2 (1998): 85-94.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Western, Australia. Tested the effectiveness, in sedentary adult patients consulting with 10 primary health care settings, of verbal and written advice on exercise from family physicians (FP). A total of 763 participants were assigned to one of three groups, (control, verbal advice only, and verbal and written advice. Those assigned to the third group received verbal advice on exercise from the FP and a pamphlet on exercise mailed to the patient’s home address within two days of his/her visit to the doctor. The results showed that at one month 40% of the participants receiving regular physician advice reported “now active” compared to 30% in control group. The results were similar at the six-month follow up period. The conclusion, physician advice can help reduce inactivity.
Reference Bridle, Christopher, Kathleen Spanjers, Shilpa Patel, Nicola M. Atherton, and Sarah E. Lamb. “Effect of exercise on depression severity in older people: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 201, no. 3 (2012): 180-185.
Research Summary Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the effect of exercise on depressive symptoms among older people. Nine trials met the inclusion criteria and seven were meta-analyzed. Exercise was associated with significantly lower depression severity. The conclusion of the findings suggest that for older people who present with clinically meaningful symptoms of depression, prescribing structured exercise tailored to individual ability will reduce depression severity.
Reference Knapen, Jan, Davy Vancampfort, Yves Moriën, and Yannick Marchal. “Exercise therapy improves both mental and physical health in patients with major depression.” Disability and rehabilitation 37, no. 16 (2015): 1490-1495.
Research Summary Researchers from multiple Belgium universities conducted four meta-analysis of the effects of physical exercise on mental and physical depression. For mild to moderate depression the effect of exercise may be comparable to anti-depressant medication and psychotherapy. For severe depression exercise seems to be a valuable complementary therapy to the traditional treatments.
DO WHAT YOU ENJOY
Reference Jekauc, Darko. “Enjoyment during exercise mediates the effects of an intervention on exercise adherence.” Psychology 6, no. 01 (2015): 48.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Southampton, United Kingdom conducted an experimental study to investigate whether regular exercise was linked to positive emotions. The trainers of the experimental group were instructed to promote positive emotions (e.g. pleasure and fun) during exercise according to specific principles. The trainers of the control group were instructed to comply with the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine. 24 participants in the experimental group and 17 participants in the control group were recruited for this study. The results of the repeated measures analyses suggested that participants of the intervention group increased their positive emotions significantly compared to the control group. The authors concluded that emotions can be influenced to help people stay with their exercise programs.
MAKE IT A HABIT
Reference Kaushal, Navin, and Ryan E. Rhodes. “Exercise habit formation in new gym members: a longitudinal study.” Journal of behavioral medicine 38, no. 4 (2015): 652-663.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Victoria, Canada to investigate the behavioural requirements for exercise habit formation and what predicts habit. Participants were new gym members who completed surveys across 12 weeks. It was found that exercising for at least four bouts per week for six weeks was the minimum requirement to establish an exercise habit. The behaviour that predicted a habit was enjoyable, easy to do exercises accompanied by consistency. The conclusion, trainers should keep exercises fun and simple for new clients and focus on consistency which could lead to habit formation in nearly six-weeks.
BUILD MUSCLE STRENGTH
Reference Silveira, Heitor, Helena Moraes, Natacha Oliveira, Evandro Silva Freire Coutinho, Jerson Laks, and Andrea Deslandes. “Physical exercise and clinically depressed patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Neuropsychobiology 67, no. 2 (2013): 61-68.
Research Summary Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil evaluated the effect of aerobic training and strength training as a treatment for depression in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder. PubMed (Medline), ISI knowledge (Institute for Scientific Information), SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library) and Scopus databases were consulted from January 1970 to September 2011. Data were collected from 10 articles on the following: total number of patients (pre- and post-intervention), age, randomized (yes or no), diagnostic criteria, assessment instruments, and the percentage of remission and treatment response. Subsequently, we collected information on time intervention, intensity, duration, frequency, method of training (aerobic training and strength training) and type of supervision. The results showed that physical exercise (aerobic training and strength training) improves the response to treatment.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
TRUST IN GOD
Depression can steal the things you once took for granted—a good night’s sleep, goals and dreams, hopefulness about the future. While it may now seem that everything beautiful and valuable is beyond your reach, it’s important to remember that God is not far away. When you’re struggling, trust in God and His plan to give you a good future.
Build your trust in God with these methods:
TURN TO YOUR FAITH When depression strikes, it can feel like you’re all alone. In those dark times, it helps to look to your religious beliefs for coping skills and a sense of hope. Incorporating your faith into your daily life offers a sense of support and lifts your spirits. If you are questioning your beliefs, talk with a spiritual leader or trusted friend to explore and learn more.
GO TO CHURCH For many people, making time for church after a jam-packed week can feel like a burden. However, people who regularly attend church report stronger social support networks and less depression. They also are less likely to smoke and more likely to live longer and be healthy. In a very real way, going to church is good for your health.
TALK WITH GOD Studies have shown that prayer can help alleviate depression and increase optimism. Interestingly, just knowing someone is praying for you can get the same positive results. So, if you are feeling depressed, ask your friends, family, or church to pray with and for you. For your private time in prayer, try journaling your prayers or praying while you walk in nature.
FIND MEANING IN LIFE Even if you’re exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep, nothing will boost your mood like having a sense of purpose and meaning in your life. When you have a purpose, your life has more passion, happiness, and energy. If your life feels meaningless right now, take a few minutes each day to quietly reflect on what you want to accomplish, and identify things you could do that would make you feel like your life really matters.
HOLD ON TO HOPE Maintaining a sense of hopefulness is linked to lower depression and anxiety. When you feel you cannot manage life, make friends, or achieve your goals, that is the very time you must hold on to hope. Speak positively about your life and future, and take small action steps that can make a big difference over time. Make your bed. Cook dinner. Talk to a friend. Keep doing those things, and then add more actions. Overcoming your feelings of helplessness can help you build hope.
TRUST IN GOD
TURN TO YOUR FAITH
Reference Stanley, Melinda A., Amber L. Bush, Mary E. Camp, John P. Jameson, Laura L. Phillips, Catherine R. Barber, Darrell Zeno, James W. Lomax, and Jeffrey A. Cully. “Older adults’ preferences for religion/spirituality in treatment for anxiety and depression.” Aging & mental health 15, no. 3 (2011): 334-343.
Research Summary Researchers from the Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence and Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, United States examined patient preferences for incorporating religion and/or spirituality into therapy for anxiety or depression and examined the relationship between patient preferences and religious and spiritual coping styles, beliefs, and behaviors. Participants (66 adults, 55 years or older, from earlier studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy for late-life anxiety and/or depression in primary care) completed validated assessments by telephone or in person. Most participants (77–83%) preferred including religion and/or spirituality in therapy for anxiety and depression. Participants who thought it was important to include religion or spirituality in therapy reported more positive religious-based coping, greater strength of religious faith, and greater collaborative and less self-directed problem-solving styles than participants who did not think it was important.
GO TO CHURCH
Reference Norton, Maria C., Archana Singh, Ingmar Skoog, Christopher Corcoran, JoAnn T. Tschanz, Peter P. Zandi, John CS Breitner, Kathleen A. Welsh-Bohmer, and David C. Steffens. “Church attendance and new episodes of major depression in a community study of older adults: The Cache County Study.” The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 63, no. 3 (2008): P129-P137.
Research Summary Researchers from Utah University, United States examined the relationship between church attendance and major depressive episode. Participants included 2,989 individuals between the age of 65 and 100 who were interviewed initially in 1995 to 1996 and again in 1998 to 1999. Results showed individuals attending church weekly or more often had a significantly lower risk for major depression.
TALK WITH GOD
Reference Boelens, Peter A., Roy R. Reeves, William H. Replogle, and Harold G. Koenig. “The effect of prayer on depression and anxiety: maintenance of positive influence one year after prayer intervention.” The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 43, no. 1 (2012): 85-98.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Mississippi, United States investigated the effect of person-to-person prayer on depression, anxiety, positive emotions, and stress hormone levels. Participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group. All participants completed validated assessments for depression and anxiety symptoms and underwent measurement of cortisol levels. The individuals in the prayer group received six weekly one-hour prayer sessions while those in the control group received none. Measurements were repeated for both groups after completion of the prayer sessions and one month later. Statistical analysis revealed at the completion of the trial, participants receiving the prayer intervention showed significant improvement of depression and anxiety, as well as increases of daily spiritual experiences and optimism compared to controls. The people in the prayer group maintained these significant improvements for a duration of at least one year after the final prayer session. Participants in the control group did not show significant changes during the study. Cortisol levels did not differ significantly between intervention and control groups or between pre- and post-prayer conditions.
FIND MEANING IN LIFE
Reference Park, Nansook, Myungsook Park, and Christopher Peterson. “When is the search for meaning related to life satisfaction?” Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being 2, no. 1 (2010): 1-13.
Research Summary Researchers explored the relationship between life meaning and psychological and physical health and well-being. In the current study, 731 adult respondents from the United States completed the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, which separately assesses the presence of meaning and the search for meaning and measures of well-being. Presence and search for life meaning showed different relationships with well-being. The presence of meaning was positively associated with life satisfaction, happiness, and positive mood and negatively associated with depression and negative moods. In addition, the search for meaning was positively associated with well-being—greater life satisfaction, more happiness, and less depression—among those who already had substantial meaning in their life.
HOLD ON TO HOPE
Reference Peh, Chao Xu, Jianlin Liu, George D. Bishop, Hui Yu Chan, Shi Min Chua, Ee Heok Kua, and Rathi Mahendran. “Emotion regulation and emotional distress: The mediating role of hope on reappraisal and anxiety/depression in newly diagnosed cancer patients.” Psycho‐oncology 26, no. 8 (2017): 1191-1197.
Research Summary Researchers from National University Health System, Singapore, Yale-NUS College, Singapore, and National University of Singapore, Singapore examined if the presence of hope greatly reduces or eliminates anxiety and depression in patients with newly diagnosed with cancer. Participants were 144 adult cancer patients. Patients completed a set of study questionnaires, including the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, Adult Hope Scale, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Statistical analysis revealed that hope was linked with lower anxiety and depression, whereas suppression of feelings was correlated with higher anxiety and depression.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
Everyone wants to belong—and for good reason. Research has found that social support decreases the risk of depression and protects us from loneliness and isolation. Whether it’s family, friends, a pet, or a church community, having someone to love is good for your soul.
Try these methods to tap into the healing power of relationships:
CUT BACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA Research shows that the more people spend on social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. Apparently, high exposure to social media leads to the belief that other people are leading happier, more successful lives. So, turnoff your devices and build face-to-face friendships instead.
LOVE AN ANIMAL Have you noticed you feel calmer when you pet your dog or cat, or happier when you return home and they are waiting at the door to welcome you? With their unconditional love, pets can comfort you and lift your spirits. If you don’t own a pet, consider offering to pet-sit for your neighbors or volunteer at a local animal shelter.
STAY CONNECTED With time, relationships can fade and grow distant, but having a strong bond through the ups and downs of life is especially important if you are dealing with depression. To keep connections healthy, step away from the screens and spend quality time with friends and family. Instead of leaving only scraps of time for the most important people in your life, schedule regular time with them, whether it’s to play a game after dinner or get together for an evening out.
BE OPEN AND HONEST Depression impacts all areas of life, including your interaction with others. It is likely you don’t feel like socializing or sharing your day with those close to you. While you work to rebuild your life, know that when you withdraw from faith, it can hurt them. They may not understand how difficult depression can be. The more open and honest you are in communicating with those you love, the better your relationships will be.
HELP YOUR COMMUNITY When you feel as if you can barely take care of yourself, it’s tempting to think it isn’t possible for you to help someone else. But the truth is you will actually feel better if you volunteer, because you’ll begin to feel needed and appreciated. When you volunteer, you commit to a responsibility and become accountable to others for showing up and helping. Doing this on a regular basis gives you a sense of purpose that perhaps you may have forgotten.
CUT BACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Reference Sidani, Jaime E., Ariel Shensa, Ana Radovic, Elizabeth Miller, Jason B. Colditz, Beth L. Hoffman, Leila M. Giles, and Brian A. Primack. “Association between social media use and depression among US young adults.” Depression and anxiety 33, no. 4 (2016): 323-331.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, United States assessed the relationship between social media use and depression. They surveyed 1,787 adults, ages 19 to 32, about social media use and depression. Participants were recruited via random dialing and address-based sampling. Social media use was assessed by self-reported total time per day spent on internet and visits per week. Depression was assessed using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Depression Scale Short Form. Statistical analysis found that the more social media site visits per week significantly increased the chances of depression.
LOVE AN ANIMAL
Reference Miltiades, Helen, and Juliette Shearer. “Attachment to pet dogs and depression in rural older adults.” Anthrozoös 24, no. 2 (2011): 147-154.
Research Summary Researchers studied the relationship between pet attachment, the ability to care for a pet, and depression. Adult dog owners in rural, south-central Pennsylvania, United States were recruited through veterinary offices and dog grooming salons in south-central Pennsylvania. They completed an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire, which was returned by mail. Half of the respondents were female, 74% were married, and 27% were employed. Attachment to pet dogs was measured by the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale. Statistical analysis revealed the ability to care for the dog and satisfaction with human relationships were associated with lower levels of depression. Higher levels of pet attachment may indicate that the pet plays a central role in the older adult’s life and may substitute for human companionship.
Reference Wang, Xingmin, Lin Cai, Jing Qian, and Jiaxi Peng. “Social support moderates stress effects on depression.” International journal of mental health systems 8, no. 1 (2014): 41.
Research Summary Researchers from Kunming University, Normal University, and Fourth Military Medical University, China explored whether social support can lessen the impact of stress on developing depression. A total of 632 undergraduate students completed the measures of perceived stress, perceived social support, and depression. The results showed that students with high stress reported higher scores in depression than those with low stress with low social support levels. However, the impact of stress on depression was much smaller in the high social support group compare with that in the low social support group.
Reference Hughes, Spenser, Lisa M. Jaremka, Catherine M. Alfano, Ronald Glaser, Stephen P. Povoski, Adele M. Lipari, Doreen M. Agnese et al. “Social support predicts inflammation, pain, and depressive symptoms: Longitudinal relationships among breast cancer survivors.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 42 (2014): 38-44.
Research Summary Researchers from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, United States examined the relationships among cancer survivors’ social support, level of pain, and depressive symptoms. A total of 164 women breast cancer survivors completed two study visits, one before any cancer treatment and the other six months after the completion of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, whichever came last. The women completed self-report questionnaires assessing social support, pain, and depressive symptoms, and provided a blood sample at both visits. Survivors with lower social support prior to treatment experienced higher levels of pain and depressive symptoms over time than their more socially supported counterparts.
BE OPEN AND HONEST
Reference Santini, Ziggi Ivan, Ai Koyanagi, Stefanos Tyrovolas, and Josep M. Haro. “The association of relationship quality and social networks with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among older married adults: Findings from a cross-sectional analysis of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).” Journal of affective disorders 179 (2015): 134-141.
Research Summary Researchers from Universitat de Barcelona, Spain studied the relationship of positive and negative partner interactions and social networks with depression, and anxiety. Data of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was analyzed. The analytical sample consisted of 4,988 community dwelling adults, 50 years or older, in spouse/partner relationships. The participants completed validated questionnaires for depression and anxiety. Statistical analysis revealed negative partner interactions were significantly associated with increased likelihood of depression and anxiety. Higher levels of social integration were significantly associated with lower chances for depression.
HELP YOUR COMMUNITY
Reference Ali, Salima Barkat, Naima Aslam Khan, and Amena Zehra. “Effect of Volunteerism on Mental Health and Happiness.”
Research Summary Researchers from University of Karachi, Pakistan examined the relationships between volunteerism, mental health, and happiness among the volunteers and non-volunteers. Participants completed a questionnaire containing a demographic sheet, a validated mental health questionnaire, and a happiness questionnaire. Drawing on data, findings suggest that volunteerism lead to good mental health and happiness in volunteers.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to make a list of all the things you don’t like about your life. But no matter how bad things are, there’s always something to be thankful for. It is possible to learn how to be more positive, even if you feel like a natural pessimist.
To improve your outlook, practice these positive behaviors:
BE KIND Performing acts of kindness can calm stress, reduce pain, and trigger the release of serotonin, which has an anti-depressant effect. Research has found that frequently doing kind deeds increases your life satisfaction, makes you feel more connected, and increases your sense of contribution. Kindness is contagious—even watching other people perform acts of kindness can have a positive effect on you. Remember that part of being kind is to be compassionate to yourself as well. Make an effort to do acts of kindness daily.
PRACTICE EMPATHY Imagine what it would feel like to be in someone else’s shoes—that is empathy. It is the act of trying to understand someone else’s pain and suffering. Studies have shown that practicing empathy creates feelings of happiness and joy. The next time you are having an emotional conversation with someone, stop talking and try to understand what the other person is feeling.
USE YOUR STRENGTHS Your unique talents and skills are part of who you are, and you can depend on them to pull you forward, even when you are down in the dumps. Whether you’re gifted with organizational skills or creativity, your positive attributes are your built-in recovery tools that will help you through life. Notice when you use your talents and skills, you feel useful and happier. Identify your own unique superpowers, and get busy putting them to work.
EXPRESS GRATITUDE The ability to experience a happier, less stressful life is often tied to one’s ability to give thanks. When life is difficult, it can be challenging to feel thankful. It takes an intentional, conscious effort to exercise gratitude. In other words, you have to make it a habit. Practice saying five things a day that you are grateful for, and you will begin to see your life differently.
EXPECT UPS AND DOWNS There will be times when you feel unhappy, but that doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It’s not realistic to expect to be happy all the time, so don’t fight your everyday mood swings. Negative feelings that persist for weeks or months could signal a serious problem, but some fluctuation in feelings is normal.
Reference Buchanan, Kathryn E., and Anat Bardi. “Acts of kindness and acts of novelty affect life satisfaction.” The Journal of social psychology 150, no. 3 (2010): 235-237.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Kent, United States conducted an experiment designed to establish the effects of acts of kindness on life satisfaction. Participants (ages 18-60) took part on a voluntary basis. They were randomly assigned to perform either acts of kindness or no acts on a daily basis for 10 days. Their life satisfaction was measured before and after the 10-day experiment. As expected, performing acts of kindness resulted in an increase in life satisfaction.
Reference Cao, Yuan, Genevieve Dingle, Gary CK Chan, and Ross Cunnington. “Low Mood Leads to Increased Empathic Distress at Seeing Others’ Pain.” Frontiers in psychology 8 (2017): 2024.
Research Summary Researchers from School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and University of Queensland, Australia examined if low mood causes changes in self-reported empathic distress when seeing others in pain. To test this, researchers conducted an initial and close replication study in which sad mood was induced in healthy participants. Participants viewed and rated video stimuli inferring pain experienced by other people. Results showed that participants perceived the videos depicting others’ pain to be more distressing under a sad mood compared to a neutral mood, implying that sadness enhances one’s emotional reactivity toward others’ distress. The conclusion supports previous depression literature suggesting an impaired emotional processing ability and could contribute to some of the unhelpful behaviors seen in depression such as social withdrawal and avoidance.
USE YOUR STRENGTHS
Reference Gander, Fabian, René T. Proyer, Willibald Ruch, and Tobias Wyss. “Strength-based positive interventions: Further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being and alleviating depression.” Journal of Happiness Studies 14, no. 4 (2013): 1241-1259.
Research Summary Researchers examined the impact of nine strengths-based positive interventions on well-being and depression in an Internet-based study. A total of 622 adults volunteered themselves to one of the nine interventions or to a control exercise. Thereafter, they estimated their degrees of happiness and depression at five times (pre- and post-test, one, three, and six month follow up). The nine interventions included using character strengths, noting three good things for two weeks, noting three funny things for a week, counting kindness, and gift of time. Eight of the nine interventions increased happiness; depression was decreased in all groups. The conclusion is that happiness can be enhanced through some “strengths-based” interventions.
Reference Kerr, Shelley L., Analise O’Donovan, and Christopher A. Pepping. “Can gratitude and kindness interventions enhance well-being in a clinical sample?” Journal of Happiness Studies 16, no. 1 (2015): 17-36.
Research Summary Researchers studied the impact of two-week self-administered gratitude and kindness interventions within a clinical sample on a waiting list for outpatient psychological treatment. Results demonstrated that the emotional experiences of gratitude can be cultivated in a brief period. Further, both the gratitude and kindness interventions built a sense of connectedness, enhanced satisfaction with daily life, optimism, and reduced anxiety compared to a no-action control group.
EXPECT UPS AND DOWNS
Reference Tsai, Michelle, John S. Ogrodniczuk, Ingrid Sochting, and Jamal Mirmiran. “Forecasting success: Patients’ expectations for improvement and their relations to baseline, process and outcome variables in group cognitive–behavioral therapy for depression.” Clinical psychology & psychotherapy 21, no. 2 (2014): 97-107.
Research Summary Researchers from University of British Columbia, Canada investigated expectations for improvement among 80 psychiatric outpatients attending a group therapy program for depression. The main findings of the study are as follows: 1) symptoms of depression, low quality of life and current suicidal ideations were consistently associated with negative outcome expectancies; 2) increases in expectancy ratings were significantly related to improvement in anxiety, quality of life, and interpersonal problems; 3) expectancy of favorable outcomes was associated with decrease anxiety symptoms.
CLOSE RESEARCH STUDIES
What you choose to eat can have a major effect on your mood, feelings, and energy level. Eating healthy is a powerful line of defense in fighting depression. It has been said that you are what you eat, so it’s no surprise that a healthful diet can make you healthier.
To get the nutrition you need to feel good, practice these suggestions:
EAT MORE PLANTS A study showed that plant-based nutrition can reduce depression and anxiety while increasing energy and emotional well-being. A plant-rich diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Get started today by adding one piece of fruit or fresh vegetable to each meal.
MINIMIZE PROCESSED FOODS Heavily processed foods are foods that aren’t in their original form, such as potato chips and crackers, or foods that are not natural, such as donuts and cookies. Processed foods increase the risk for depression, so it’s best to minimize them in your diet. To do so, choose foods in their natural state (such as an apple instead of an apple pie), read ingredient labels, and opt for whole-grain options when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, and rice.
DRINK WATER The most commonly consumed drink in America is soda, which is high in sugar and provides no nutritional value. Quench thirst instead with plain water, the best drink of choice. It is cheap, has no sugar, and contributes to your overall health. Carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go, and keep water in the fridge so you can have cold water whenever you are thirsty. To enhance the flavor, add a slice of fresh fruit, such as lemon, lime, or orange.
GET THE RIGHT NUTRIENTS Certain nutrients play a vital role in emotional health, including omega-3s, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium. To get omega-3s, add hemp seeds, ground flax seed, and chia seeds to your daily diet. Zinc, iron, and magnesium are abundant in legumes, grains, soybeans, nuts, and leafy greens. B vitamins are found in nuts, seeds, broccoli, leafy greens, oranges, sweet potatoes, kale, squash, tomatoes, avocados, almond milk, sprouted grain breads, figs, and dates.
AVOID ALCOHOL Depression sometimes leads to an alcohol problem, and drinking can also lead to depression. So, if you are experiencing feelings of depression as a result of drinking alcohol, it’s likely your depression will lessen, once you quit. If you feel you struggle with alcohol, seek professional help to quit instead of trying to do it on your own.
EAT MORE PLANTS
Reference Lai, Jun S., Sarah Hiles, Alessandra Bisquera, Alexis J. Hure, Mark McEvoy, and John Attia. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression in community-dwelling adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2014): ajcn-069880.
Research Summary Researchers from University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Australia systematically reviewed current literature and conducted a meta-analysis of studies addressing the association between dietary patterns and depression. Six electronic databases were searched for articles published up to August 2013 that examined the association of total diet and depression among adults. Only studies considered rigorous were included. A total of 21 studies were identified. The results suggested that high intakes of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains may be associated with a reduced depression risk.
Reference Beezhold, Bonnie, Cynthia Radnitz, Amy Rinne, and Julie DiMatteo. “Vegans report less stress and anxiety than omnivores.” Nutritional neuroscience 18, no. 7 (2015): 289-296.
Research Summary Researchers investigated mood in vegans (no animal products), vegetarians (no meat), and omnivores (eats animal products). A broad online sample of 283 adults were recruited via diet-related social networks. Participants were surveyed on mood, diet, and lifestyle factors. Mood was measured with the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21. Results showed lower stress and less mood disturbance was observed in participants eating a vegan diet and lower daily intake of sweets.
Reference Agarwal, Ulka, Suruchi Mishra, Jia Xu, Susan Levin, Joseph Gonzales, and Neal D. Barnard. “A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a nutrition intervention program in a multiethnic adult population in the corporate setting reduces depression and anxiety and improves quality of life: the GEICO study.” American Journal of Health Promotion 29, no. 4 (2015): 245-254.
Research Summary Researchers examined the impact of diet on emotional well-being and productivity. The study was conducted in 10 corporate sites of a major United States. insurance company. There were 292 participants with body mass index higher than 25 kg/m(2) and/or previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Either weekly instruction in following a vegan diet or no instruction was given for 18 weeks. Depression and anxiety were measured using the Short Form-36 questionnaire. Work productivity was measured using the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire. The results revealed a significant improvement in depression, anxiety, fatigue, emotional well-being, and daily functioning because of physical health in the group eating the vegan diet, as compared to the control group.
MINIMIZE PROCESSED FOODS
Reference Guo, Xuguang, Yikyung Park, Neal D. Freedman, Rashmi Sinha, Albert R. Hollenbeck, Aaron Blair, and Honglei Chen. “Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression risk among older US adults.” PloS one 9, no. 4 (2014): e94715.
Research Summary Researchers from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States evaluated the consumption of various types of coffee, tea, and sweetened beverages assessed in 1995-1996 in relation to self-reported depression diagnosis after 2000 among 263,923 participants of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Results showed that compared to non-drinkers, drinking coffee or tea without any sweetener was associated with a lower risk for depression, adding artificial sweeteners, but not sugar or honey, was associated with higher risks. Frequent consumption of sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, may increase depression risk among older adults, whereas coffee consumption may lower the risk.
Reference Akbaraly, Tasnime N., Eric J. Brunner, Jane E. Ferrie, Michael G. Marmot, Mika Kivimaki, and Archana Singh-Manoux. “Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 195, no. 5 (2009): 408-413.
Research Summary Researchers examined the link between two dietary patterns and depression. Analyses were carried on data from 3,486 participants from the Whitehall II study, in which two dietary patterns were identified; whole food (heavily loaded by vegetables and fruits) and processed food (heavily loaded by sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products). Self-reported depression was assessed five years later using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression (CES–D) scale. Results showed the participants eating the highest amount of whole food pattern had the lowest chances of depression than those in consuming high amounts of processed foods. The conclusion is a processed food dietary pattern is a risk factor for CES-D depression five years later, whereas a whole food pattern was protective from depression.
Reference Chan, Jacqueline, Synnove F. Knutsen, Glen G. Blix, Jerry W. Lee, and Gary E. Fraser. “Water, other fluids, and fatal coronary heart disease: the Adventist Health Study.” American journal of epidemiology 155, no. 9 (2002): 827-833.
Research Summary Researchers from Loma Linda University, United States examined the association fatal coronary heart disease and intake of water, and fluids other than water, in the Adventist Health Study (a health research study of 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists in the U.S. and Canada). Among 8,280 male and 12,017 female participants, ages 38-100 years who were without heart disease, stroke, or diabetes at baseline in 1976. Results revealed that of the 246 fatal heart disease events during the six-year follow up, those that had high daily intakes of water (five or more glasses) compared with low (two of fewer glasses) had a significantly lower risk for fatal heart events than those with who drank both lower levels of water or drank fluids other than water, after adjusting for age, smoking, hypertension, body mass index, education, and hormone replacement therapy (in women only). The authors concluded that fluid intake as a putative coronary heart disease risk factor may deserve further consideration in other populations or using other study designs.
GET THE RIGHT NUTRIENTS
Reference Kaner, Gülşah, Meltem Soylu, Nimet Yüksel, Neriman Inanç, Dilek Ongan, and Eda Başmısırlı. “Evaluation of nutritional status of patients with depression.” BioMed research international 2015 (2015).
Research Summary Researchers conducted a study to determine the nutritional status and body composition of patients diagnosed with depression based on standardized clinical criteria. A total of 59 individuals, ages 18-60 admitted to Mental Health Centre of Kayseri Education and Research Hospital, were included in the study. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups; depression group and control group. Body composition measurements, some biochemical parameters, demographic data, and 24-hour dietary recall were evaluated. The results showed the intake of vitamins A, thiamine, riboflavin, B6, folate, C, Na, K, Mg, Ca, P, Fe, Zn, and fiber were significantly lower in the depression group. In addition, the average levels of body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio were significantly higher in the depression group.
Reference Coulson, Carolyn E., Lana J. Williams, Michael Berk, Dan I. Lubman, Shae E. Quirk, and Julie A. Pasco. “Association between alcohol consumption and self-reported depression among elderly Australian men.” Geriatric Mental Health Care 2, no. 1 (2014): 3-8.
Research Summary Researchers from The University of Melbourne and Monash University, Australia investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption and self-reported depression in a population of 514 men ages 65 and older. Alcohol intake over the previous 12 months was estimated from a food frequency questionnaire. Participants were classified as non-drinkers or habitual consumers of ≤2 or ≥3 standard drinks per day. Symptoms of past and 12-month depression were ascertained by self-report based on DSM-IV criteria. Using statistical analysis, they estimated the association between alcohol intake and depression. There were 91 non-drinkers, 249 consuming less than one or two drinks per day and 174 consuming more than three drinks per day. Results showed that lifetime depression tended to be greater for those consuming more than three drinks per day. After excluding those with past depression, the likelihood of 12-month depression also tended to be greater for those consuming more than three drinks per day.