4 Lifestyle Changes Protect You from Depression Featured

By Gamal Khattab February 11, 2024 1649


Depression is a common mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is considered the leading cause of global disability. However, there are lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of depression, especially physical activity, according to The Lancet.

  • One Hour of Physical Activity

A study conducted in Norway involving over 33,000 people found that exercising for just one hour per week can reduce the incidence of depression by up to 44%. Exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and it can also help improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.

Dr. Jordan Smoller, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, led a study that showed physical activity of all kinds can reduce the risks of depression.

  • Stretching Exercises

A study published in The Lancet medical journal found that participating in low-intensity physical activities, such as walking, can lower the risk of depression. Encouraging various physical activities can further reduce the risk of depression.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, even small doses of physical activity can help prevent depression. Moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking for 75 minutes per week, can reduce the risk of developing depression by 18%. The benefits are even greater for those who engage in 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity per week, as they have a 25% lower risk of developing depression.

  • Taking a Vacation

Vacations have been found to provide many physical and mental health benefits. They can improve mood, reduce stress, and increase life satisfaction. A Canadian study showed that vacations reduce depression and protect against work stress, even a short vacation can reduce stress levels.

Another study conducted in Japan found that a 3-day leisure trip can lower cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone. The Allianz Global Vacation Assistance Index also revealed that not taking enough vacations can lead to symptoms of depression.

  • Planting a Tree

Spending time in nature has a positive impact on mental health. Living in a tree-filled neighborhood can significantly lower the risk of depression. A study conducted in Germany showed that neighborhoods with more trees had fewer prescriptions for antidepressants.

In Philadelphia, scientists planted trees on vacant lots, and residents living nearby reported a 41.5% reduction in symptoms of depression. Simply choosing to live on a greener street or planting a tree in your neighborhood can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of depression.

Sources: The Lancet, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health Publishing, Psychological Society of America, INC