New research reveals that adhering to just 7 healthy lifestyle factors can significantly reduce your risk of depression.
Published in Nature Mental Health, the study analyzed lifestyle and depression data from over 130,000 people across 21 countries. Researchers from institutions like China’s Fudan University and the UK’s Cambridge University collaborated on this comprehensive analysis.
The results show that implementing 7 science-backed healthy behaviors cuts depression risk substantially:
- Getting 7-9 hours of sleep nightly reduced depression risk by 22% – the biggest impact of any factor.
- Not smoking lowered risk by 20%.
- Frequent social contact decreased risk by 18%.
- Regular physical activity reduced risk by 14%.
- Limiting sedentary behavior cut risk by 13%.
- Moderate alcohol intake lowered risk by 11%.
- Eating a nutritious diet reduced risk by 6%.
Together, adhering to these 7 healthy lifestyle factors reduced depression risk by 32%! That’s a significant reduction from simple but impactful habits.
This affirms that our lifestyle choices have a major influence over mental health. Small steps like swapping out a cigarette for a walk, prioritizing good sleep, and connecting more with friends compound over time to nurture our mental wellbeing.
While more research is needed, these findings give people actionable, scientifically-supported steps to take control of their mental health through lifestyle. And you don’t have to tackle all 7 factors at once. Start with 1 habit, then build momentum from there.
When it comes to depression, knowledge is power. Use this knowledge to fuel lasting lifestyle changes that set you up for mental wellness success!