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Brighter Outlook: an epidemic of depression

By West Briton  |  Posted: August 07, 2014

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HARDLY a week goes by without some new story appearing telling us that the rates of depression and stress are rising in the developed world.

The World Health Organisation estimates that depression is likely to be the biggest cause of disability and premature death by the year 2030.

Even more worryingly, it is our young people who seem to be at the sharp end of this epidemic.

It is estimated that a 24-year-old is more likely to have experienced a severe depressive disorder than a 54-year-old, in spite of the fact that the older person has lived more than twice as long.

What the heck is going on?

Consider this: for the last 72,000 generations of mankind, (think about your great grandfather with 72,000 greats in front), our bodies have evolved within a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Small groups of people would wander around (often for long distances), hunting, fishing and picking fruit and then returning to a family base at the end of the day.

Outdoors

People lived outdoors and moved all the time.

But for approximately the last ten generations, (the beginning of the industrial age), our way of life has taken a massive shift.

Professor of psychology, Stephen Ilardi, at Kansas University, has commented, "We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially- isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life."

It may sound bleak, but it is important to know about, because we can make small changes to our lifestyle that can better protect us from modern pressure.

Move about more; spend time outdoors in sunlight; connect with others; eat a healthy, non-processed diet; and spend less time in front of an electronic screen.

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