There’s a reason why people in the poorest countries have a lower risk of depression. It’s because depression is what psychologists call “a disease of affluence.” That doesn’t mean it’s a rich person’s problem, it means, people in industrialized countries, like the US, Canada and Europe, have lifestyles that work against us.
Stephen Gardi wrote the book, “The Depression Cure,” and in it he says the human body was never designed for our modern lifestyle. More and more of us are sedentary, we spend our time indoors, we eat processed food, we have infrequent human contact, and we’re overloaded with depressing and stressful information 24 hours a day. But every single one of those factors goes against our biology and are behaviors strongly associated with depression.
The fact is, human beings thrive in natural environments and close social groups.
Take the Amish, a group that rejects modern technology in favor of a simpler lifestyle. Their risk of depression is one-tenth of what it is for other Americans. But even though very few of us still live that way, our genetic predisposition to that kind of life hasn’t changed.
We aren’t meant to shut ourselves off, sitting inside on a computer or couch all day, isolated.
So here’s the prescription to combat depression from Dr. Andrew Weil, author of “Spontaneous Happiness”: exercise outdoors, get regular sleep, eat a natural diet, socialize more face to face and don’t dwell on negative thoughts. Weil says that’s the analog way to a healthier, happier brain.
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