Things You Should Know About Depression

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What is depression?

Depression is characterized by at least two weeks of persistent low mood.  Depression affects your energy level, your self-esteem, and more. It can away your ability to enjoy things that you once found enjoyable or meaningful. 

Depression isn’t the same thing as just feeling sad. When bad things happen to us, or life is stressful, it’s appropriate for us to feel bad about them. That’s just part of being alive. But when those feelings spiral out of control and affect our daily life for long stretches of time, that’s when you need to look at treatment.

Depression is an illness. Just like any other illness, it can be treated. Just as people with diabetes don't have the appropriate amount of insulin, people with depression don't have the appropriate amount of certain chemicals in the brain that enable them to experience life the way they should. Telling people to “try harder,” or to “cheer up,” isn’t particularly helpful. You don’t tell a person with a broken leg to “get over it.” You give them time to treat their condition. You encourage them. You help where you can and you don’t push them into making it worse. Helping someone through depression is very similar.

Image: Chris Barbalis, via Unsplash.

Cover image: Marantha Pizarras, Unsplash.

Did you know...

  • Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
  • There are many factors that contribute to your body odor, but one of the strongest links is our diet. This may be some bad news for meat-lovers because many studies have shown that those who refrained from or ate less red meat were judged as being more pleasant smelling. The meat sweats are real, and they don’t smell great!
  • Does your job make you stressed? We all know that stress is psychologically bad for you, but it also has an effect on…your allergies? A Harvard Medical School study has shown that stress causes your allergies to become worse because your body's defense response loses efficacy when repeatedly triggered by stress. Then, when you really need to physically fight something off, you're less able to!
  • Have you ever told your husband something and he promptly forgets it? It's not his fault, actually. It really is because he's a man. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with memory) begins to shrink with age faster in men than it does in women. That's why you can remember everything, and he can't!
  • A hearty laugh is good for the heart. Laughing can increase blood flow by 20%. Additionally, looking on the bright side can help you live longer. Studies have shown that a more optimistic outlook is linked to a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk for coronary artery disease.