Confiding in others can Reduce Risk for Depression
September 1, 2020
Rates of depression, anxiety and even suicide have increased since the pandemic. It is not surprising to learn that mental health issues have risen during the pandemic and this has led people to seek ways of coping. A study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that examined external factors such as social interaction, use of media, diet, physical activity and environmental exposures that may affect rates of depression.
The study results
Social connection and interaction was shown to be the most significant factor in helping to reduce the rate of depression amongst most subjects. “Far and away the most prominent of these factors was frequency of confiding in others but also visits with family and friends, all of which highlighted the important protective effect of social connection and social cohesion,” co-author of the study Jordan Smoller, M.D., ScD, says. During a time when people are social distancing and spending more time at home, social connection has been a difficult road to navigate. Here are some ways to stay connected and keep your mental health on the upswing:
Business meetings, dinner dates, birthday parties, conventions, weddings and more have started taking place virtually. We have found that staying connected is possible with advanced technology. There are many platforms such as Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google hangouts and more. Pisgah Valley discovered a new app call House Party that the residents have learned to use for playing games together while in the comforts of their own patio homes. By utilizing these types of platforms we can still talk, see each other and feel a sense of connection.
This method is reliable and always has been. Exercise can help decrease rates of depression and improve mental health, not to mention, the physical benefits that one can reap as well from regular exercise. Since most gyms are still closed, try using online platforms such as YouTube for watching free videos. Some gyms have also gotten creative by producing workout videos to engage their members such as this one from the Wellness Center at Pisgah Valley. Do you have any old Jane Fonda workout tapes or videos? Then pull out whatever you can find and follow along. You can’t forget about dancing either. All you need is a good beat and some floor space to boogie.
Listen to music
Music is an excellent way to reframe the mindset. If you feel like relaxing then choose some soft music or if you feel like dancing then pick something upbeat. No matter what you’re feeling, try to occupy your mind with things that can be interactive and stimulating rather than mind numbing such as watching TV. In fact, researchers found that the factors which could increase risk for the depression during times like this are watching television and taking too many daytime naps.
Finally, try going back to the basics and communicate via paper and pen. Writing letters is more personal and it’s usually more fun to receive one in the mail! Now is a great time to rekindle a connection with a pen pal and have fun writing down your thoughts the old fashioned way. Just be sure to use good penmanship. No one knows how long this pandemic could last and we have all had to learn new ways of managing this world, but now we know that staying socially connected is possible. It may look different but we can stay safe and still stay together even though we may have to be 6 feet apart.