While the WHO recommends 30 minutes moderate exercise per day, every day, much less can still be effective against depression.
Reducing loneliness and depression could be as simple as this…
Limiting social media to 30 minutes per day decreases feelings of loneliness and depression, research finds.
The study strongly suggests that excessive social media use makes people more depressed and lonely.
It is also ironic that less ‘social’ media use reduces feelings of loneliness.
For the study, 143 college students were tracked for three weeks.
Half were told to use social media as normal, while the other half were instructed to limit it to 30 minutes per day.
All reported their use of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram along with feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear of missing out.
Dr Melissa G. Hunt, the study’s first author, explained the results:
“Here’s the bottom line.
Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness.
These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”
Dr Hunt does not think young people should stop using social media all together.
Limiting screen time, though, seems sensible, she says:
“It is a little ironic that reducing your use of social media actually makes you feel less lonely.
Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens.
When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.”
Dr Hunt concluded:
“When you’re not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you’re actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life.
In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.”
The study was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (Hunt et al., 2018).
The research may help explain why people who are depressed say they find it difficult to make ordinary, everyday decisions.
The deficiency is linked to depression and poorer brain function, lower verbal fluency and even dementia.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depressive symptoms and more negative thoughts, research finds.
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to cognitive impairments in young people.
Foods that have high levels of vitamin D include oily fish and eggs but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more Northern climes.
The research was carried out on 225 patients being treated for psychotic disorders and 159 well people.
Among people with psychosis, higher levels of negative symptoms and depression were found in those with low vitamin D levels.
Problems with processing speed and verbal fluency were also found among young people with low levels of vitamin D.
The findings fit in with previous research that low vitamin D levels are linked to depression.
The vitamin is also thought to play a role in regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter important for mood.
Vitamin D deficiency has even been linked to dementia.
The study’s authors conclude:
“In a clinical setting, this could support vitamin D as adjuvant therapy in treating co-morbid depressions in psychotic disorders
The associations between low vitamin D levels and increased negative and depressive symptoms, and decreased processing speed and verbal fluency are good arguments for planning large scale randomised controlled studies in target populations, in order to reach conclusions about vitamin D’s potential beneficial effect in psychotic disorders.”
The study was published in the journal Schizophrenia Research (Nerhus et al., 2016).
Higher risk of depression and anxiety from this parental behaviour.
People with critical parents pay less attention to the emotions on other people’s faces, researchers have found.
Looking at and reading emotional expression in other people’s faces helps us build rewarding relationships.
Avoiding these expressions could help to explain how critical parenting can lead to depression and anxiety in later life, since relationships are so critical to well-being.
Ms Kiera James, the study’s first author, said:
“These findings suggest that children with a critical parent might avoid paying attention to faces expressing any type of emotion.
This behavior might affect their relationships with others and could be one reason why children exposed to high levels of criticism are at risk for things like depression and anxiety.”
The results come from a study in which parents talked to their 7 to 11-year-old children for five minutes.
The researchers looked to see how much criticism there was in this segment.
Subsequently, children subject to more criticism avoided looking at pictures of faces showing any type of emotional expression.
Ms James said:
“We know from previous research that people have a tendency to avoid things that make them uncomfortable, anxious, or sad because such feelings are aversive.
We also know that children with a critical parent are more likely to use avoidant coping strategies when they are in distress than children without a critical parent.
Given this research, and our findings that children with a critical parent pay less attention to all emotional facial expressions than children without a critical parent, one possible explanation is that the children with a critical parent avoid looking at any facial expressions of emotion.
This may help them avoid exposure to critical expressions, and, by extension, the aversive feelings they might associate with parental criticism.
That said, it may also prevent them from seeing positive expressions from others.”
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (James et al., 2018).
CBT reduces how much people feel negative emotions, but does less to increase their positive emotions.
Rather than depression and anxiety being normalised over the last half century, they have been pathologised.
People felt more interested in all activities, in a better mood and it reduced feelings of worthlessness.
Lifting weights and strength training help to reduce depression, a review of the research finds.
Strength training can substantially improve people’s symptoms even for those with moderate depression and those who do not train that often.
In fact, strength training, including weight-lifting, is particularly effective for people who have more severe depression symptoms, the study concluded.
It also didn’t matter if people ‘bulked up’ or not — there was no link between having more muscle and feeling better.
The main thing was just to do the workout.
After strength training or weight-lifting, people felt more interested in all activities, in a better mood and it reduced feelings of worthlessness.
The studies cannot tell us why strength training is beneficial, but it may be because it increases blood flow to the brain.
Previous studies have also shown that weight-lifting reduces anxiety symptoms.
Mr Brett Gordon, the study’s first author, said:
“Interestingly, larger improvements were found among adults with depressive symptoms indicative of mild-to-moderate depression compared to adults without such scores, suggesting RET may be particularly effective for those with greater depressive symptoms.”
The conclusions come from a review of 33 separate studies involving 1,877 people.
The studies included both the depressed and nondepressed.
The results showed it didn’t matter if people went to the gym five times a week or just twice a week, or how many repetitions they completed — the benefits were roughly the same.
All that really mattered was showing up and completing the workout.
The study’s authors conclude:
“Resistance exercise training significantly reduced depressive symptoms among adults regardless of health status, total prescribed volume of RET, or significant improvements in strength.”
Weight training has similar benefits to mental health to those provided by aerobic exercise, like jogging.
This is quite apart from its physiological benefits, such as increasing bone strength and preventing other chronic conditions.
The authors recommend working out at least twice a week and performing around 10 repetitions of 10 different strength-building exercises.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry (Gordon et al., 2018).
As people interact less with others and eat less, these areas of the brain may atrophy through lack of use.
Depression treatment can be a hit-and-miss affair because the condition is such a wide-ranging and complex state.