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What Everyone Should Know About Depression In Men

What Everyone Should Know About Depression In Men

Depression is an ugly disease. It can turn the most fun-loving, outgoing person into a sad, isolated shadow of their former self. And it’s even worse when it affects a man. I’m not saying women don’t suffer horribly when afflicted with depression — they definitely do — but men tend to suffer through their inner demons alone, trying to “man up” and beat depression by themselves rather than seeking the help they need and deserve. Unfortunately, leaving depression untreated can end up exacerbating the issue, and may lead to further tragedy. Here are some things you should understand.

1. Men are definitely affected by depression

Statistics show that over 6 million people in America suffer from depression each year. While that might seem like a small percentage of the 200+ million men living in the US, remember that depression in men often goes untreated, undiagnosed, and unreported for a variety of reasons — from social stigma to a lack of time, money, and other resources to actually get to a therapist. Just because the disease goes unreported doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

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2. Depression isn’t the same for everyone

When you picture a person suffering from depression, you most likely imagine someone laying on their couch in their PJs, having not showered in days, with a box of tissues next to them. While this may be the case for some, the symptoms of depression vary drastically. While depression in men might not cause them to break down into tears, it will probably manifest in anger, anxiety, and irritability. Men who suffer from depression are also more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as binge drinking, drug use, and promiscuity — stemming from the fact that they don’t care whether or not they’re harming their bodies and lives.

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3. Being depressed doesn’t mean you’re weak

As I alluded to before, depression in men often goes untreated because of certain social stigma. Even the manliest of men can be afflicted by this debilitating disease, but their personality will block them from recognizing the signs and acknowledging that they need help. On the contrary, it’s those who are able to admit they need to seek professional help who are the most courageous, as they’re able to overcome the embarrassment of admitting they need help to improve their lives.

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4. Depression shouldn’t be managed on your own

Depression unfortunately isn’t seen as a disease or illness by the vast majority of people — it’s seen as a sort of stage of sadness that will eventually go away in time. But depression will never simply go away. Thinking it will is akin to thinking cancer will just go away without treatment, or a broken leg will heal if you just walk it off. And just like these other much more obvious ailments, depression will only get worse if left untreated. You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by sweeping your problems under the rug and pretending everything is totally fine, but you’re only bottling things up until the one day all your problems come bubbling to the top.

5. Depression can affect anyone

I mentioned this before, but it needs to be repeated: depression can affect anyone, at any time. And this is why it goes so underreported in today’s society. A person with a great job, beautiful family, and gigantic house can’t possibly suffer from depression, right? Wrong. When depression takes hold of a person, it blinds them from everything going well in his life, and magnifies the negative. Even rich and famous people can find themselves in the clutches of depression: Owen Wilson and the late Heath Ledger are two who come immediately to mind. The most important thing to understand about depression is it has nothing to do with the person’s accomplishments or lifestyle — it’s all about brain chemistry.

Featured photo credit: Depression / ryan melaugh via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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