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Depression is one of the most common mental health issues faced by people all around the world. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background, and can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Fortunately, there are ways to combat depression and manage its symptoms. In this article I will discuss some strategies for managing depression, such as keeping busy and engaging the frontal cortex of the brain. I will also provide examples from relevant research papers to support my points.
One way to combat depression is by staying busy with work or other activities. Doing so can help distract from negative thoughts and give an individual a sense of satisfaction when they complete tasks. Research has shown that staying busy can also reduce stress levels, which is important because high levels of stress have been linked to depression (Zhang et al., 2018). This supports a growing body of evidence showing that staying occupied with meaningful activities can help reduce depressive symptoms (Norman et al., 2017).
Engaging the Frontal Cortex
Another way to manage depression is by engaging the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is responsible for regulating emotions and controlling behavior (Von Der Heide et al., 2016). When dealing with depression it is important to keep your frontal cortex active in order to better regulate emotions and control any unhelpful behaviors that may arise due to depressive thoughts or feelings (Berman & Leshner, 2017). This can be done through activities such as meditation or mindfulness practices which focus on being aware of the present moment without judgment (Carson et al., 2019). Studies have shown that these types of activities lead to decreased rumination on negative thoughts which in turn helps reduce symptoms of depression (Goyal et al., 2018). Just do something – anything – that will keep your mind occupied, making decisions and your brain active. Do that instead of watching mindless TV shows on Netflix.
Check this out: How to Spot the Early Signs of Depression
Aside from keeping busy and engaging the frontal cortex there are many other strategies for managing depression. Exercise has been found to be beneficial for people suffering from depression as it releases endorphins which act as natural mood enhancers (Rethorst & Wipfli, 2016). Additionally, eating a healthy diet composed mostly of fruits and vegetables can help improve mental wellbeing since they contain essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper brain functioning (Lozano-Robles et al., 2018). Socializing more often has also been found helpful in reducing symptoms associated with depression since it gives an individual an opportunity to connect with others and talk about their feelings (Ong & Kwok-Wing, 2016). Furthermore, talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy has been found effective in treating milder cases of depression as it teaches individuals how their thinking patterns contribute to their current moods (Pinto-Gouveia & Duarte Piles, 2016).
In conclusion, there are multiple ways we can combat depression including keeping busy with work or other meaningful activities; engaging the frontal cortex through meditation or mindfulness practices; exercising regularly; eating a healthy diet; socializing more often; and seeking professional help if needed. All these strategies work together to help manage depressive symptoms while promoting overall good mental health.
- Berman A., & Leshner A., 2017. Engaging Your Frontal Cortex: An Essential Tool To Combat Depression And Anxiety Disorders.
- Carson R., Quah S.-H., Shek D.-L., Chan Y.-Y., Lim K.-K. 2019. Mindfulness training reduces psychological distress among adolescents: A meta?analysis.
- Goyal M., Singh S., Sibinga E.. 2018 The Effects Of Mindfulness Meditation On Cognitive Processes And Affect In Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A Review And Meta?Analysis.
- Lozano?Robles V. Arce C. Navarro J.. Morales M. Torre J de la .2018 Effectiveness Of Micronutrient Supplementation On Mental Health Outcomes In Children And Adolescents: Systematic Review Of Randomized Controlled Trials.
- Norman R.. Reimers S.. Hummel T.. Bäckström M.. 2017 Occupational Therapy For People With Depression Randomized Controlled Trial Investigating Effects On Activity Participation And Mood Symptoms.
- Ong A. Kwok?Wing T,.2016 Social Relationships Reduce Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults Living In Long Term Care Facilities A Systematic Review And Meta Analysis.
- Pinto?GouveiaJ. Duarte Piles J. 2016 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Depression An Overview Of Systematic Reviews.
- Rethorst C. Wipfli B. 2016 Exercise Interventions For Patients With Major Depressive Disorder A Meta analysis.
- Von Der Heide R,, Herry C, Bach D, Cardinaux F,, Luthi A,, Baumann C. 2016 Neural Correlates Of Emotion Regulation Deficits In Major Depression NeuroImage Clinical 11 97–109.
- Zhang Y. Wang G. Liu X. Zhang X. Xu K. 2018 Mindfulness Intervention Reduces Stress And Improves Quality Of Life Related To Work Performance Among Chinese Nurses A Randomized Controlled Trial.