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Depression Treatment: 3 Science-Backed Ways to Beat the Blues

Exercise and meditation are key for squashing negative thoughts.

Don’t despair: Though things may seem bleak, there’s powerfully effective help out there—and some of it’s even free, fun, and right outside your door. A new batch of studies confirm you can successfully fight depression without medication.

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Strenuous aerobic exercise

As Cognition and Emotion reports, 80 subjects took a psychological survey after watching a sad scene from the ’79 film The Champ (“Wake up, Champ! Don’t sleep now; we gotta go home!”), then half did 30 minutes of vigorous aerobics while the other half just sat and (we assume) sobbed. Afterward, the exercisers had less of an emotional hangover and felt happier than the idlers. So, when you’re down, go run—or bike, or swim—it off. And for god’s sake, no tearjerkers!

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Again, exercise

DNA research on 396 adult subjects at the University of Florida revealed that those who had a gene predisposing them to depression usually also had a gene that allowed exercise to help or even prevent that depression.

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Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

If you’re glum, using a combo of cognitive (thinking-related) therapy and mindfulness training can lift the depression and make it 31 percent less likely you’ll relapse for a year, says JAMA Psychiatry. Not sure what that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is? Read: The Scientific Reason Why Exercise and Meditation Help Depression.

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