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The scientists in the United Kingdom have conducted a study as a module of a consortium of research on public health. They say that the relationship that they discovered between depression-risk and exercise indicates to the ways through which both physical and mental health can be improved simultaneously.
Physical activities performed during leisure time have a protective impact against depression and anxiety, according to Snehal Pareira of Institute of Child Health in University College London. The study was led by him. If adults, who are aged between 20 and 40 years and are not physically active, started to working-out thrice a week, the risk of depression-development can get reduced by 16% in approximation.
Depression is considered among the most common mental illness in human beings. The number of people affected by it exceeds 15 million people throughout the world. WHO has ranked it as a leading cause of disorder globally.
Psychotherapy or medication or both are usually adopted as the method of treatment of depression and anxiety patients. Yet, the condition of many sufferers does not improve and they continue to experience recurring spells of illness.
The research-team that was led by Pareira observed 11,135 people, who were born in 1958. They were observed until they completed 50 years of age. Their physical activity-levels and the depressive symptoms in them as adults were recorded at regular interim.
When the subjects were of age 23 years, 33 years, 42 years and 50 years, their responses to the questionnaire that has been designed for the measurement of psychological distress – Malaise Inventory, were captured for observation. The participants were asked about the frequency of exercise too.
The results inferred after the study revealed that those who increasingly engaged in weekly physical activities reported fewer symptoms of depression. Similarly, those who experienced depressive symptoms more than the other research-subjects were physically active too, especially at their younger ages. Moreover, each additional session of physical workout per week resulted in 6% reduction in symptoms of depression.
The researchers pointed out that the connection between symptoms of depression and workout was alike throughout the population rather than being in only those who were are at higher risk of developing clinical depression.
The report also revealed that subjects who reported depressive symptoms more than others did at 23 years of age tended to engage in less physical activity. However, this link diminished with growing age.
The findings are important towards designing policies for making people more physically active, since it indicates that symptoms of depression become a barrier towards physical activities during young adulthood-phase. Besides, it reinforced the current evidence regarding the benefits of exercise towards improvement of physical health and treatment of depression and anxiety.
If all patients of depression and anxiety engage in physical activity three times a week at the least, the chances of depression-development can be expected to reduce almost certainly.
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Mental disorders are critical and vastly understudied. People who suffer from OCD, anxiety, MPD/DID, depression, ADHD, etc. need others close to them to be sensitive. There are certain things that should not be said to people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression.
“You act and look very calm”
Some sufferers of depression and/or anxiety may consider it compliment while others may find such statements invalidating and slightly offensive. In either case, the sufferers do get more frustrated since they only pretend to be fine and people’s acknowledgement may seem like advice to continue with the effort.
“You should try to reduce stress”
To ask someone who suffers from anxiety to reduce stress is like asking a paralysed person to try to walk. One of the major causes of anxiety is failure to control stress.
“Try to calm down yourself”
Anyone who can calm down himself is no considered to be going through anxiety. The statement is at par with the previous one. Most anxiety-stricken people feel embarrassed about their behaviour and are determined not to panic the next time. However, panic-attack just overcomes their determination.
“Consume more vegetables and fruits, and start taking vitamin D supplement”
Most suffers of mental health issue know something is not normal with them before others notice it. So, they must have tried the common techniques even before others notice their condition. Mental disorders are too complex to be labelled as just deficiency of certain nutrients or treatable by specific diets. Besides, diets range from simple and lenient to complex and strict, depending upon the person to whom it is prescribed. It is the work of qualified dieticians rather laymen. Else, it may adversely affect and cause fitness issues. Moreover, such statements seem like blame that the sufferer is responsible for his condition as he did not take enough vegetables and fruits daily. The fact that there are many people whose lifestyle is completely haywire but they do not suffer from depression or other issues may compound the frustration in the patient.
“Exercise more, you’ll feel better”
Indeed, exercise is known to elevate the spirit in humans. However, the difference between sadness, boredom, etc. and mental disorders is significant. Exercise may not be helpful for patients of mental disorders, who may get further anxious about why something that works for everyone has no effect on them.
“It is not the end; try looking at the world differently”
Looking at the world differently one of the most viable choices the mental patients have, and they try hard to do that. But, if the same advice is repeated by every second person, the commitment to it does not become easier.
“I’ve felt so too, but I got over it”
Comparing stress with anxiety and sadness with depression is just cruel indiscrimination towards mental patients. However, if a person knows that his condition was a mental issue, sharing the entire experience may be helpful for the sufferer.
“You’re sad, it’s not depression. You’ll get out of it soon”
It is judgemental and signifies that depressed person is just unable to get through a phase of regular sadness.
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Food soothes stress for many. Sweet, fatty and salty food-items typically trigger those brain-parts that respond to rewards. Thus, gorging on any food without consideration during stress is the stealthiest way of weight gain. There are some food-items that can be healthful replacement to some other dishes and drinks that only contribute to weight gain.
Avoid: Glazed doughnut, because confections are poor in fibre, which slows digestion. Rise of glucose-level in the body due to quick absorption of sweeteners and raises hydrocortisone.
Have: Oatmeal with honey and cinnamon. Carbohydrate-experience provided by oats raise serotonin-level. Honey satisfies the craving for sweet and strengthens immunity. Cinnamon eases frustration.
Avoid: Pretzels, which are simple carbohydrates that improve mood only temporarily.
Have: Dark chocolate-coated almonds. Dark chocolate is proven to reduce stress hormone-level and reduce blood pressure. Almonds boost energy and have mono-saturated fat.
Avoid: Potato chips, which are rich in trans-fat that causes weight gain.
Have: Homemade kale chips, which mainly provide kale and olive oil to the body. Kale is rich in Carotenoid, which is an antioxidant that makes people optimistic. Olive sates and raises serotonin-level.
Avoid: Mochaccino stimulates activity of dopamine in human-brain and lowers the chances of depression, but a single drink can supply enough sugar for the week. Thus, it is an agent of weight gain.
Have: Smoothie made of java, ripe banana, unsweetened cocoa powder and soy milk, which respectively contain blood-pressure-reducing Potassium, dopamine and serotonin-boosting folate.
Avoid: Granola bar, because most are disguised candy bars.
Have: Pumpkin-seeds, walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios, which help serotonin production, reduce blood-pressure, lower depression and elevate mood.
Avoid: French-fries, which contain trans-fat, carbohydrates and greasy fat that increase chances of depression and cause weight gain.
Have: Sweet potato, which is delicious and rich in fibre and carotenoid yet.
Avoid: Ice-creams, which raise glucose-level can adversely affect those with lactose-sensitivity.
Have: Berries with yoghurt. It satisfies desire for creaminess and provides energising calcium and protein, which stimulate neurotransmitters. Vitamin C in berries boos immune and antioxidants reduce stress.
Avoid: Veggie lo-mein. It is carbohydrate-laden and greasy. It can kick-start weight gain even in fit consumers.
Have: Vegetable curry. Spicy Indian curry stimulates endorphins that calm the mind and protect major brain-parts against stress. Spinach curry provides magnesium, which eases tension-headache.
Avoid: Soda. Even diet soda has been found to stimulate gut-bacteria that hinder weight-loss.
Have: Green tea. L-theanine, which is an amino acid, and caffeine provided by green tea cool down under-pressure consumer and provide focused calmness.
Avoid: Nachos. They only provide fat and simple carbohydrates.
Have: Carrots with guacamole. Creamy avocado provides potassium and mono-unsaturated fat that lower keep brain-receptors sensitive to serotonin and blood-pressure. Carrots reduce stress.
Avoid: Pina colada, mai tai, margarita and mudslide raise cortisol and glucose-level.
Have: Wine. It releases the mind from tension by lowering blood-pressure. It contains antioxidants and provides healthful flavonoid. However, excessive alcohol causes insanity, and may not be productive against weight gain either.
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