Eating processed foods
A quick hot dog or bag of chips may be a tasty snack every once in a while, but too many highly processed foods might leave you feeling blue. In a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers assessed more than 3,000 people for their eating habits, and found that those who ate the most processed foods also experienced the highest levels of depression. Tellingly, the participants who ate the most fruits and vegetables were least likely to feel depressed. Avoiding processed foods completely can be difficult, especially in a time pinch, but these simple tricks can help train you brain to stop relying on junk food. Watch out for these warning signs of depression.
Spending too much time alone
Spending some quality time alone every now and then can be hugely beneficial to your mental health, making you a deeper thinker, a better problem solver, and a more concentrated worker. However, Susan Heitler, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Prescriptions Without Pills, warns that spending too much time in solitude can reverse these effects and actually increase your risk for depression. To protect yourself against this, she emphasizes the importance of creating strong friendships and relationships with others, one of the best strategies for overcoming depression. “We can give or receive smiles and laughter,” she says. “Any time we connect with someone else, it’s an opportunity for positive emotional exchange.” These facts prove that friends are ridiculously healthy for us.