INCREASING HAPPINESS IN YOUR OWN LIFE.
1. Stop Eating Processed Foods and Fast Food- A study published in Public Health Nutrition found that those who consume fast food are 51% more likely to be depressed than those who abstain from unhealthy and processed foods. It was also found that the same held true for those eating baked goods and junk food. The abstract concludes with: “Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption may have a detrimental effect on depression risk.”
2. Sleep – Not only does quality sleep boost your chance of making healthful food choices, it helps improve your overall mood. You’ve probably experienced this first-hand, but if you’re not convinced, the Science Channel explains how your body increases stress hormone production when you aren’t well-rested. The magic number is different for everyone, but aim for around 7 hours each night.
3. Develop Healthy Personal Relationships – In this age of technology, you would think our over-connectedness would bolster our moods. You’d be wrong. Life satisfaction has actually fallen with the increase in “connectivity,” leading to the belief that nothing is a substitute for real (face-to-face, not Facebook) friendships.
4. Meditate – Several studies have indicated the positive link between meditation and mental health. When we are depressed, we are “consumed by negative preoccupations, thoughts and worries,” explains researcher Catherine Kerr. Meditation helps temper that. Mindfulness meditation can cut the recurrence of depression by up to 50%, a significant rate for a half-hour of your time.
5. Go Outside – Not only has vitamin D (sunshine vitamin) deficiency been linked to depression, studies have found that something as simple as a walk in the park can dramatically improve your mood and reduce depression symptoms.