If you have already experienced depression, or are concerned about preventing it in future, there are a number of simple strategies that can help reduce your risk.
Every year 20% of Australians — that is 1 in 5 — live their lives with a mental health condition such as depression.
Over our lifetimes, up to 45% of us will experience mental health problems, with 1 in 7 of us spending time under the dark cloud of depression. That’s a lot of people feeling awful every day.
Prevent and Reduce Depression Symptoms
Did you know that there are lifestyle changes that you can make to:
- increase your resilience;
- reduce your risk of depression;
- support your treatments if you are currently depressed; and
- help you to prevent relapse if you have experienced depression before.
Combined, these lifestyle choices can help you to protect and enhance your emotional wellbeing. While none of these strategies are a magic bullet, or replace treatment, not doing each of these things is associated with increased risk of mental health problems and depression.
10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips
- Eat a healthy diet;
- Attain or maintain a healthy weight;
- Reduce alcohol and quit smoking;
- Exercise more but not excessively;
- Get enough sleep;
- Manage your stress;
- Connect with others, particularly friends and loved ones;
- Become more mindful;
- Get some sun (but keep sun safe);
- Play – time for leisure is important.
Making lifestyle change is often hard, as most of us who have made New Years resolutions to “get fit”, “lose weight” or “eat better” know. However, even if you only do one step to improve your lifestyle every day, in a month you will have made around 30 steps towards a more resilient you.
A Health Psychologist can help you make behavioural changes to support you in overcoming your barriers to reaching these health and lifestyle goals, as well as treating your mood symptoms. If you have trouble keeping your health resolutions, or want to improve your physical health to support your mental health, I welcome you to make an appointment with me.
Author: Kelly Gall, BSc (Hons), M Psych (Health), M Clin Psych, MAPS, MCHP.
Kelly Gall is a Health Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist, who is passionate about helping her clients to become healthy inside and out. Kelly develops tailored, holistic and evidence-based treatment plans that incorporate psychological, physical and social strategies aimed at empowering her clients to achieve relief from psychological symptoms and improve their health and effectiveness. Find out more on her website, Healthy Inside and Out.
To make an appointment with Health Psychologist/Clinical Psychologist Kelly Gall, please call (07) 3067 9129 or you can book online today.
References and readings:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra.
- Berk, M., Williams, L. J., Jacka, F. N., O’Neil, A., Pasco, J. A., Moylan, S., … & Maes, M. (2013). So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from?. BMC medicine, 11(1), 200.
- Baglioni, C., Battagliese, G., Feige, B., Spiegelhalder, K., Nissen, C., Voderholzer, U., … & Riemann, D. (2011). Insomnia as a predictor of depression: a meta-analytic evaluation of longitudinal epidemiological studies.Journal of affective disorders, 135(1), 10-19.
- Commonwealth of Australia (2010). National Mental Health Report 2010. Canberra, Australia
- Forsman, A. K., Nordmyr, J., & Wahlbeck, K. (2011). Psychosocial interventions for the promotion of mental health and the prevention of depression among older adults. Health promotion international, 26(suppl 1), i85-i107.
- Gutman, D. A., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2011). Stress and depression. The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health, 345-357.
- Kim, Y. S., Park, Y. S., Allegrante, J. P., Marks, R., Ok, H., Cho, K. O., & Garber, C. E. (2012). Relationship between physical activity and general mental health. Preventive medicine, 55(5), 458-463.
- Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., … & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(6), 763-771.
- Piet, J., & Hougaard, E. (2011). The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for prevention of relapse in recurrent major depressive disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review, 31(6), 1032-1040.
- Newman, D. B., Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2014). Leisure and subjective well-being: A model of psychological mechanisms as mediating factors. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(3), 555-578.
- Tew, J., Ramon, S., Slade, M., Bird, V., Melton, J., & Le Boutillier, C. (2011). Social factors and recovery from mental health difficulties: a review of the evidence. British journal of social work, bcr076.