You do know the obvious triggers – unemployment, grief, trauma, financial issues, and so on. However, these might not be the case, and you might still be suffering from depression – and that can be frustrating not knowing the source of your problems.
For certain people, the season of winter and cold temperatures is much more than the gloominess of the atmosphere. In fact, the change in season is among the few causes of depression you may not have thought of, as almost ten million Americans go through what is known as seasonal affective disorder – this is a mental health condition related to depression, and it comes and goes depending on the time of year you are in.
The thing is, depression can be triggered by anything, including lifestyle habits. It can also vary in its intensity, with some cases being severe and others being mild. There are certain unexpected circumstances that can trigger the development of the illness, and here are some of them.
Chronic illnesses such as cancer can be draining on you and people close to you as well. The thing is, they are not just difficult to deal with physically, but also on an emotional level. As long as someone is suffering from a terminal illness like diabetes, heart disease, or a disease such as cancer, they are highly likely to develop depression, according to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the link between chronic illness and depression is not fully determined as it is still under research, though experts state that other ways exist of managing the mental health issue as the patient works through dealing with the illness.
If you need the motivation to kick the habit but you struggle to see why, depression is a good reason to eliminate the habit. However, it is also more of a chicken-or-egg scenario – individuals who are prone to depression are more likely to pick up the smoking habit.
A British study conducted in 2015 revealed that smokers had higher chances of suffering from depression and anxiety on a general level, compared to non-smokers. In addition, smoking is thought to be among the culprits of anxiety issues because of the withdrawal symptoms a smoker experiences when they have not had a cigarette.
Apart from being a stimulant, the active ingredient nicotine is well known to affect the neurotransmission activities in the brain, and this results in higher levels of the serotonin and dopamine hormones. In this way, it works in a similar way to antidepressants.
That may also explain why tobacco is addictive, as well as the mood swings that occur due to withdrawal. Staying smoke free and avoiding cigarettes could be among the best choices you will make, as this will help balance your brain chemicals.
Poor sleeping habits
Contrary to what many people think of sleep, and it is usually not in a positive way – sleep is more beneficial; to your body than you might realize. It is so important that even lack of proper sleep leads to you feeling irritable and functioning becomes a problem. Furthermore, it increases your risk of developing depression.
A study conducted in 2007 confirms this. When healthy people were sleep deprived for some time and were exposed to upsetting images, their brains showed greater levels of activity compared to their counterparts who were well rested.
The study concluded that lack of proper sleep leads to lack of optimum brain functioning, since the brain cells are not refreshed enough. That is one of the factors that will lead to depression.
Overusing social media
It is a good thing to stay connected to the world and know what is happening. However, spending too much time in chatting rooms and social media sites can have a negative effect on your mind, especially in the minds of preteens and teenagers. Many of them become internet addicts (and can undergo withdrawal symptoms when they do not have internet access), and consequently struggle with lack of companionship and real-life human interaction.
Social comparisons are also inevitable for heavy social media users, and it is a largely subconscious process that can lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression, according to a study by the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
Your dietary habits
You are most likely familiar with the saying, ‘You are what you eat’. Well, that statement rings true for this case, as not only your physicality is affected by the food you eat, but also your mental health.
In fact, research seems to suggest that individuals who eat a poor diet that is high in fat, processed sugar and meat, are more likely to develop symptoms of depression. Nutrition actually plays a major role in the severity and time that you experience depression symptoms.
In addition, it is important to remember that depression can make the person have a low appetite, therefore leading to challenges in proper nutrition. The relationship between your diet and depression is ultimately a complex one, but it is good to keep in mind when you want to regulate your moods.
Too many sitting hours
Exercise plays a major role in your mental health, so it is important to be active even in your job. Too many hours spent sitting down can lower your mood, since you are less active. Too much levels of inactivity has a major link to depression symptoms, so avoid being a couch potato and move your body periodically.
Where you live
Okay, this may not seem like a major factor, but it actually makes a difference in the state of your mental health. People who live in urban areas have greater chances of developing mental illnesses compared to people who live in the countryside.
While depression can be due to usual negative occurrences that occur sometimes, it is also important to remember that it can be triggered by other factors as well. Hope is not lost if you develop the condition however, as there are other ways you can explore to get you back on track, and you can click here for more information regarding the illness.