Are you struggling with depression? If so, there are two new studies you definitely should know about. One suggests that you can get big results by combining two depression-fighting tools, while the other reinforces advice I’ve been giving for years. (Yep, it’s an “I told you so” moment for me.) Here’s a look at each one.
Study #1: The One-Two Punch
In a study featured in the New York Times this week, scientists at Rutgers University decided to see what happened if they combined two separate approaches that help combat depression—meditation and exercise. They enlisted 52 men and women, including 22 people diagnosed with depression, in their study.
The researchers asked the participants to do tasks that required them to focus. Measuring the electrical activity of their brains, the researchers found that the people diagnosed with depression showed brain activity patterns associated with poor concentration and focus.
The researchers then asked all of the participants to do a simple form of meditation called focused attention. This involved sitting quietly and focusing on their breathing, counting their breaths up to ten and then backward. After 20 minutes of this activity, the participants did 10 minutes of “walking meditation” in which they paid attention to their footsteps. Following this, they either jogged on treadmills or pedaled stationary bikes for 30 minutes.
After the participants completed eight weeks of twice-weekly sessions, the researchers retested them. Remarkably, they found that the people with depression exhibited a 40 percent reduction in their symptoms. In particular, they were far less likely to ruminate over bad memories. (The non-depressed participants said they felt happier as well.) In addition, tests showed that the brain activity in the prefrontal cortex of the depressed participants was nearly identical to that of the non-depressed participants.
What’s the take-home lesson here? If you’re meditating and exercising to help fight your depression, try exercising immediately after you meditate and you may get a bigger bang for your buck.
Study #2: The Power of Omega-3s
For years, I’ve been telling people who are battling depression to take omega-3 fatty acid supplements. We don’t always get enough of these healthy fatty acids in our diet, and they’re crucial for keeping our brain cells healthy and happy.
A new report this week shows just how right I’ve been. (Yeah, I know—gloating isn’t nice. But sometimes I just can’t help it.)
In this meta-analysis, researchers looked at 13 separate studies with more than 1200 participants. They found that the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA were comparable to the effects reported in meta-analyses of antidepressants.
So if you aren’t already taking an omega-3 supplement to help combat your depression, it’s time to add this powerful weapon to your arsenal. Just be sure you choose a high-quality supplement, like my SLIM Omega. Quality really matters here.
Do you know what the best thing is about these two approaches to fighting depression—omega-3’s and the combo of meditation and exercise? Both of them are safe, simple, and natural. What’s more, they aren’t just good for your brain… they’re good for your entire body. So if you’re trying to kick depression out of your life, give these techniques a try and see if you get happy results! And for still more depression-fighting tips, see my earlier post here.
Keep Thinking Big & Living Bold!