Fighting Depression

We have a relative who seems to be sinking in depression. He's a good man with a good family. Last Christmas day, he was quiet most of the time.

He wasn't gregarious before but he just wasn't his usual self. Before, we'd talk about the future: plans, careers, family. He is the godfather of my daughter.

Seeing him depressed makes me sad. I asked DH if this good friend of ours had any sport or exercise hobby because I knew it was one way of preventing depression or keeping it at bay.

I caught a snippet of an article in WebMD. It was about fighting anxiety and depression. The bulk of it talked about meds and behavior therapy but towards the end, a bit about exercise. Anyway, here's the excerpt to which I fully agree.

Exercise is an important adjunct to any therapy. Exercise directly alters levels of neurohormones involved in circuits of emotion. It calms the hyperactivity of the nervous system and improves function of the brain's emotion-sensing network. It also improves the ability of the body to tolerate stress. What's more, it changes people's perception of themselves, providing a sense of personal mastery and positive self-regard. It also reduces negative thinking.

However, just telling a distressed person to exercise is futile, as depression destroys initiative. The best thing a loved one can do is to simply announce: "Let's go for a walk." Then accompany the person out the door.

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