A healthy lifestyle helps prevent many pathologies. It would even be beneficial for maintaining good mental health and fighting depression. But what does this mean? Here are seven commandments to follow, detailed by Siyana Mincheva, psychologist in Paris.
According to a study, there are seven easy-to-follow rules of life to reduce the risk of depression. They were identified by researchers from the University of Cambridge and Fudan University in a recently published study. What are they ? TipsForWomens tells you more, with Siyana Mincheva, psychologist in Paris.
Seven rules of life to avoid depression
Scientists examined health data from 287,282 participants. In this cohort, approximately 13,000 patients experienced depression. These participants were followed over a period of nine years on average, following seven different factors:
- Tobacco consumption;
- Alcohol consumption ;
- The level of sedentary lifestyle;
- Diet ;
- The sleep ;
- The social connection ;
- Physical activity.
Other biological markers and changes in brain structure were also observed, through more in-depth examinations.
“We found that having a healthy lifestyle reduced the risk of depression by 57%. Changing our behaviors and developing a healthy lifestyle is something we can do for ourselves to reduce the risk of depression.” concludes Dr. Barbara J. Sahakian, professor of clinical neuropsychology in the Department of Psychiatry and author of the main study from the University of Cambridge. She even recommends implementing at least five of the seven and ideally all seven. How to do this in practice?
Take care of your sleep
You have to be careful to sleep well and get enough sleep. Indeed, “Lack of sleep leads to stress, nervousness and irritability. confirm Siyana Mincheva. “The sleep hormone, melatonin, is secreted at the end of the day to regulate our body. And during sleep, serotonin and dopamine, the hormones of well-being and motivation, are produced. If their quantities decrease, this affects both mood, but also the regulation of mood, sleep, appetite, eating behavior, and emotionality. There is therefore a risk, subsequently, of plunging into a spiral of negativity“.
Of the seven lifestyle factors observed, healthy sleep had the greatest impact on the risk of depression, decreasing it by 22%, according to the researchers.
Limit your tobacco consumption
Smoking tobacco in excess affects the body and creates nervousness. “It’s a real vicious circle” analyzes our expert. “We are angry, we think that smoking will calm us down, but not at all. On the contrary, we self-sabotage“. Not smoking therefore protects against this irritability and these negative mood swings. And according to this study, not smoking reduces the risk of depression by 20%.
Opt for a healthy diet
Taking care of your food hygiene, by opting for a balanced diet, allows us to provide all the nutrients necessary for our body but also for our brain. “A good diet is the basis of a healthy life. If a person needs help, they should turn to a professional in the field, a dietitian-nutritionist who can help them balance their diet.” advises the expert.
As with diet, doing sport in a balanced way allows you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and contributes to an individual’s good mental health. “Doing sport without excess, twice a week, for example, is strongly recommended” indicate Siyana Mincheva. “This allows you to establish a training rhythm, set goals and maintain discipline.”.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
The opposite of sports practice is a sedentary lifestyle. “A person who has no activity is a person who isolates himself.” notes the psychologist. “This is an attitude to avoid because it is a sign of loss of interest and it is one of the first signs of depression. In addition, by isolating ourselves, the people around us no longer look for us, we are more and more alone and it becomes a vicious circle, which reinforces the isolation. she warns.
Strengthen your social ties
On the contrary, to avoid this, we must strengthen ties with our loved ones and those we love. “We can set a goal to do what we love, once a week.” recommends our specialist. “It can be sport, an artistic activity, it doesn’t matter: the important thing is to have people around you who do the same thing, who have the same interests.”.
This is the third most favorable factor in the face of depression: according to the study, social ties reduce the risk of depression by 18%.
Limit your alcohol consumption
It is proven: excessive alcohol consumption has repercussions on physical but also mental health. For Siyana Mincheva, it’s about “limit yourself but also know how to take advantage. You can have one or two drinks in good company, there is no excessive risk when consumption is limited.” she concludes.