Light therapy, mindfulness meditation, gratitude… Six simple tips to prevent depression

The doctor of neurobiology, and editor-in-chief of the journal “Cerveau et Psycho”, Sébastien Bohler, the doctor of psychiatry and neurosciences, psychiatrist and researcher at the AP-HM, Guillaume Fond, and the neuropsychiatrist Christophe André were the guests of the show Great good do you. At the microphone of Ali Rebeihi, they issued some advice to anticipate depression.

1- Use phototherapy against seasonal depression

Against the fall blues, Christophe André recommends light therapy: “You have to try to expose yourself to daylight as much as possible. And then, sometimes, for certain patients, they will have to be exposed to special light strips which deliver very high intensity light whose spectrum resembles natural light.

We must expose ourselves very early in the morning to synchronize with our biological clock. Then, you have to admit and understand that you are in a vulnerable situation, so increase your exposure to daylight, but also your physical activity and your social interactions. These are common sense tips that are not always easy to implement. »

2- Practice mindfulness meditation

Christophe André specifies: “This technique can make it possible to put depression at a distance. It is a very interesting tool for regulating painful emotions. In mindfulness meditation, we do not seek to ignore our suffering, our sadness, our negative thoughts. On the contrary, we welcome them, we examine them, we confront them in a calm, realistic way, so as to retain only the hard core of adversity.

In trouble: there are two things. The troubles themselves and all the things we tell ourselves around: “I won’t get out of it, I won’t make it anymore, I’ll never make it, it’s going to destroy me, etc. and mindfulness meditation sorts it out.

In 2010, an important study showed that in people with a very high risk of depression (who had already had two or three episodes), if they were taught to meditate, and followed for two years while they continued to meditate, we obtained the same results on the prevention of relapses as if we kept them on antidepressants for two years. »

3- Train in gratitude

Sébastien Bohler explains: “Gratitude is one of the pillars of positive psychology, a current that seeks to cultivate everything that feels good. It is an awareness of things that we have on a daily basis, and whose value we do not necessarily appreciate. From the moment we have this attitude of gratitude, many things that we do not necessarily taste take on flavor. »

Guillaume Font recalls: “Studies have been carried out on victims of road accidents. There were two types among them. Some collapsed into depression, alcoholism… While others became very inspiring people, turned towards others and who changed their lives. Psychologists have found that the ability to feel grateful for having survived made the difference. You can also train by keeping a gratitude journal. Every day, in the evening when you go to bed or in the morning when you wake up, you practice identifying three points of gratitude over the day that has just passed. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary things. It can be a neighbour’s smile, a good meal, or a good episode of a series…”

Christophe André specifies that only the regularity and the long term of this practice pay off. “In psychiatry, we offer brain wiring to learn to see the good things around us, and learn to welcome emotions. Regularity leads to opening our eyes to the good things in our lives, while naturally, our gaze is drawn to what is going wrong, and what makes us suffer. »

The psychiatrist warns: “All these meditation and gratitude programs will dig neural pathways in our brain. Otherwise, if we give free rein to our negative thoughts, and to depression, we become champions of rumination. And this paves the way for subsequent depressive relapses. »

4- Reconnect to the spirit of the game

For Guillaume Font “Reconnecting to the spirit of the game works very well in these exercises to get better. We should no longer see things as obligations, but as playful options. We can say to ourselves: “What happened to me was very stressful. In the form of a game, one can wonder about the best version of the story that one could tell. Even completely delusional, in which we would interpret things in another way. Little by little, we let our mind imbibe several things. »

5 – Look at the surroundings

For Guillaume Font: “If we are in constant connection with “toxic” people, it is not surprising that our mind produces mental toxins. And then we go wrong. We are not going to recommend to everyone to divorce, and to cut ties with their parents, brothers and sisters, but rather to increase the time spent with people who inspire us. The same can be said for readings, films, artistic works… Reconnecting with neighbors, those around you, and doing actions aimed at others can be beneficial. Joining an association that has meaning for us, that touches us, is one of the best ways to reconnect with this feeling of gratitude, and increase positive emotions. »

6 – Watch your diet

Guillaume Font explains “Several pathways connect our gut to our brain. Our diet will influence the microbiota of our intestine which interacts with our brain. There is a neuro-symphony between the brain and the gut. If our diet is too rich in ultra-processed foods, additives, saturated fats, fast sugars, it will become inflammatory for the microbiota. This will disrupt the whole functioning of our body, including that of our brain. Today, we are increasingly making the links between negative thoughts and emotions and the health of our brain, and therefore, the health of our gut. »

To get better, the psychiatrist advises the Mediterranean diet: “The consumption of fruit reduces the risk of depression by 15% and the consumption of vegetables by 9%. Conversely, an inflammatory diet increases the risk of depression by 33%. It is really considerable! »

And also

– Remove tobacco

– Do physical exercise

– Consult a shrink

– Do not be ashamed if you are depressed

🎧 LISTEN | Good for you on ways to prevent depression

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Light therapy, mindfulness meditation, gratitude… Six simple tips to prevent depression

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