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5 Things that Could Easily Lead to Depression

5 Things that Could Easily Lead to Depression

Depression is the demon everybody is scared of. As scary as it sounds, depression is a health condition that is real and common. A lot of people are currently dealing with depression — the very few that know how to manage it share how to deal with it, while the rest are slowly being consumed by it.

Trust me, avoiding things that could easily lead to depression is an easier fight to win than having to deal with depression itself. Unfortunately, we live in a world where glamour and instant gratification are the order of the day. Having it rubbed in everybody’s faces on glittery snaps and grams does little to help the situation. For instance, a survey that polled 1,787 millennials showed that participants who used social media heavily had 2.7 times likelihood of depression.

While this is not to discourage young adults from using social media, these platforms are great for several reasons such as connecting with people and discovering great products and services. Rather, like the other habits that would be examined in this article, unhealthy use of social media can also increase your likelihood of depression.

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1. Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others when all you see around you make you feel insignificant and unsuccessful. This is the consequence of over-exposure to unrealistic portrayal of life by seemingly successful others who have cultivated the culture of using material things to mask their real problems.

Millennials have it worse. Another research that points that millennials have higher rates of depression reveals that at least 1 in 5 young workers have experienced on-the-job depression.

Depression is likely to set in when people begin to compare themselves to others who have things they do not have.

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2. Setting Unreasonable Goals

It’s a good thing to set goals. But make sure your goals are realistic and achievable within the timeframe you’ve given yourself to achieve those goals. Setting high expectations and working hard to attain goals that are difficult, but doable, brings satisfaction. But when the line between challenging goals crosses to unreasonable and unattainable expectations, the likelihood of getting depressed becomes increased.

People that do not know how to deal with failure will easily become depressed when they realize the goal they’ve set is not within reach. A more effective strategy to make every goal attainable is to break it down to stages and give yourself a mental timeline of when you’re expected to complete each level.

By breaking down goals into smaller chunks, you’re not only going to keep depression away but will easily become successful in attaining your goal.

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3. Drugs

Depression and abusive use of drugs are common. Use and abuse of recreational drugs have always been linked to depression, but it’s not just recreational drugs that can lead to depression. While changes in mood and loss of energy – which are all signs of depression are often noticed in people who use recreational drugs such as heroin and cannabis, several medical drugs have also been linked to depression in patients.

For example, Pradaxa, a medical drug used for prevention of blood clots, is notorious for having several side effects which include depression. Even seemingly innocuous medications come with side effects that cause depression – thus for some conditions, natural remedies may be a better option.

4. Abusive Relationships

Psychologists have linked domestic abuse to depression. And abuse can come in several forms: emotional, verbal, psychological, etc.

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The case for abuse and how it leads to depression is complex, as both share similar symptoms. What is scarier is the fact that most victims keep quiet about the cause of their depression – the abuser. And in cases where the victims do cry out, it’s already too late. If you’re in a relationship and you’re seeing signs of abuse, depending on the position of the abuser in your life, consulting an expert together or making a report against them should not scare you. What should scare you is the damage this person can cause.

5. Refusing to Grow Up

Helicopter parenting and late financial independence of millennials are leading culprits here. For many – especially millennials, growing up means being an adult and facing the real life responsibilities, something today’s generation still think is a role that belongs to their parents.

A Washington Post story blames depression among millennials on their parents. Today’s generation of adults are at risk of growing into their late thirties while still relying on their parents. Combating depression in millennials and the younger generation is a job that lies on both themselves and their parents.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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