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More than just feeling down or having a bad day, depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you think, act, and feel. It can take different forms and affect individuals in different ways.
Read about depression and how it affects people, and what treatments and lifestyle changes improve symptoms, and how more people can get the help they need. There are quite a few resources out there. The following books each offer a unique perspective.
It’s not a coincidence that depression rates have gone up in our modern, fast-paced society. In the “The Depression Cure,” Stephen Ilardi, PhD, reminds us that human minds and bodies weren’t designed to function well with poor sleeping and eating habits and long work hours. He takes us back to basics, using examples of techniques to combat depression that are inspired by populations like the Kaluli of Papua, New Guinea, who are still untouched by modern technology. His program is based on years of clinical research and revolves heavily around lifestyle changes.
Mindfulness is a Buddhist philosophy that began about 2,600 years ago. It’s now catching on in Western culture. This is because psychologists believe real mental health benefits can come from breathing and being in the moment. The authors of “The Mindful Way through Depression”explain how mindfulness works to combat a negative thought process and how you can use it to help with depression.
There’s science behind how depression works. In his book “The Upward Spiral,” Neuroscientist Alex Korb, PhD, explains the process in your brain that causes depression. Using this information, he outlines tips for how you can apply neuroscience research to rewire your brain toward healthier, happier thoughts.
This is a self-help book for people who hate self-help books. Not everyone is wired to respond to the promise of positivity. “The Antidote” takes a more existential approach. This book explores how embracing some negative feelings and experiences as a part of life can actually be uplifting.
It’s been said that you are what you eat. Nutritionist Joan Mathews Larson, PhD, believes imbalances and deficiencies are the cause of depression and anxiety. In “Depression-Free, Naturally,” she offers tips for emotional healing and suggestions for foods, vitamins, and minerals to boost health and keep depression at bay.
Depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all mood disorder. In “The Noonday Demon,” author Andrew Solomon explores it from several angles, including his personal struggles. Learn why depression and its treatments are so complex according to doctors, policy makers, scientists, drug makers, and people living with it.
Certain negative thought patterns, like guilt, pessimism, and low self-esteem, are fuel for depression. In “Feeling Good,” psychiatrist Dr. David Burns outlines techniques to help break out of these patterns by recognizing them and dealing with them. The latest edition of this book also includes a guide to antidepressants and more information on treatment options for depression.
You can teach an old dog new tricks and you can retrain your brain, too. We are able to change our thought patterns. It just takes work. In his book “Change Your Brain,” psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen uses scientific evidence to provide “brain prescriptions” that help you retrain your mind. For depression, he offers tips to kill automatic negative thoughts (ANTs).
“Undoing Depression” takes a practical approach to taking on depression. Richard O’Connor, PhD, a practicing psychotherapist, focuses on the aspects of this condition that are within our control: our habits. The book offers tips and techniques for how to replace depressive thought patterns and behaviors with healthier approaches.
In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to overlook the amount of stress and the profound effect it can have on our moods and well-being. “Full Catastrophe Living” teaches mindfulness habits to help you live in the moment and ease daily stress. The book combines mind and body approaches, like meditation and yoga, to help you reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
“Furiously Happy” is derived from author Jenny Lawson’s years of firsthand experience with depression and other conditions. Despite living with severe depression, Lawson manages to find light in the darkness, and she shares that with her readers.
Exercise does more than keep you fit and prevent heart disease. It’s actually a powerful ally in the fight against depression and anxiety. “Spark” explores the mind-body connection to explain how and why aerobic exercise is effective in reducing symptoms from several mental conditions.