It is not uncommon for many men and women to go through episodes of mild or moderate depression as they age.

In general, the first reaction is to get on medication.

But, as many of us are aware, these medications are not free of side effects: dry mouth, dizziness, sleepiness and weight gain.

Not fun.

Now obviously, you should consult with a doctor if you experience repeated bouts of depression.  If your depression is severe, medication is often the best course of action.


That being said, you may be able to manage mild depression using four strategies available to all of us.

Here they are:

1) Exercise:  I’m not saying exercise is a cure all, but it sure seems to come up a lot doesn’t it?

Exercise combats depression by increasing the release of endorphins.  These chemicals create a feeling of euphoria.  Exercise can also lower symptoms of anxiety, improve sleep quality and boost energy levels.

The studies further show that aerobic exercise may be preferred here due to an especially strong antidepressant effect.

What’s the right formula?

People who exercised for 45 minutes at a moderate intensity for at least two months showed a better antidepressant effect than those who only exercised with minimal intensity.  In short, walking is great, but to get the full impact, you may need to push things a bit more…

2) Nutrition:  You knew this one had to come up.

Sugar is the bad guy here.  While we may think of sugar as a “comfort food” – the opposite of depression – the large swings in blood sugar caused by eating too much sugar (along with processed foods) can actually make symptoms worse.

One Study followed 8,000 men and found that those who ate more than 67 grams of sugar (about 3 candy bars) per day were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression!

Keep those healthy snacks handy!  Don’t default to sugar when you get hungry.

3) Gratitude:  This one is a little unique.

Studies show that writing down little things that you appreciate in life can stimulate the parts of your brain associated with depression – minimizing symptoms.

Further, the positive benefits can be derived by writing in a ‘gratitude journal’ as little as once per week.

I heard someone say that it is virtually impossible to show anger or be upset AND show gratitude at the same time.

Kinda makes sense…

4) Social Connection:  There is a LOT of evidence already out there showing that social isolation increases your risk of depression.  Of course, there is the irony that when you are depressed it can be even more difficult to go out and become socially involved.

One recommended solution is to find a cause you are truly passionate about and volunteer to be a part of that group or cause.

While this one takes some effort, the upside is undeniable!

So there you go.

Four readily available solutions that have a grand total cost of ZERO!

Source: Harvard Men’s Health Watch Volume 23 | Number 7 – February 2019