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‘Daily uplifts’ can help elevate mood in depressed people, says study

04-19-17 Category: Mental Health

‘Daily uplifts’ can help elevate mood in depressed people, says study

Depression is not just about feeling sad, low and living with a nagging emptiness. Another common sign of depression is anhedonia, a state wherein a person loses the capacity to experience pleasure from normally enjoyable activities. Those who suffer from depression no longer find joy and happiness in activities they once loved. Brooding and sulking become a part of their life. They do not look forward to anything. For them, life becomes a drudgery that they somehow have to wade through. However, a recent study has suggested that “positive mood attenuation hypothesis” could be the basis of an effective treatment for depression.

Positive things have little effect on people who are depressed. They fail to lift their mood. However, one form of cognitive behavioral treatment for depression that is gaining credence as a successful method for uplifting the mood of depressed people is called “behavioral activation.” This method relies on mood-lifting effects of activities that are not only enjoyable but also meaningful.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in March 2017, conducted on young adults found that viewing positive images, happy facial expressions, rib-tickling amusing videos or receiving financial rewards do have some benefits for depressed people. The authors claimed that most studies showing positive mood attenuation in depression were conducted in the lab and used positive stimuli. However, these methods do have their limitations, the researchers said. Though a study conducted in a lab offers greater control, it does not align with real-life situations.

On the contrary, real-life experiences are more relevant personally, wholly immersive, more interactive and tend to have a tangible impact on an individual’s future experiences. All these make a huge difference to the entire experiment.

When the authors conducted a study on the effects of real-life events on mood, taking into account the level of depression in a person, they came up with the following findings:

  1. Those with higher levels of depression experienced a significant boost in their moods from positive events: As opposed to lab studies, people with severe depression enjoy greater benefits from positive events, the researchers said. Those with lesser or no depressive symptoms did not enjoy that level of benefit.
  2. Interpersonal events have a positive effect on mood: The researchers noted that when the daily mood uplifting events were more interpersonal, they brought in more benefits to the depressed by enhancing their mood. Interacting with people on a personal level also had a positive effect on them.
  3. People with depression expect fewer positive events in life: People with greater depression symptoms anticipate less positive events the next day, and hence, feel less happy about the future in general.
  4. Looking forward to happy events the next day helps lift mood: While depressed people may not look forward to the next day with great enthusiasm, those who do, on the other hand, reap huge dividends in terms of the lifting of mood and assuaging of depressive symptoms.

The researchers believed that the findings would immensely benefit those who are depressed.

Dealing with depression

The good thing about depression is that it is treatable and one can easily come out of the situation with a little effort and timely intervention. One should not shy away from seeking treatment for depression or any mental health problem.

Sovereign Health offers a comprehensive solution for all major mental health problems, including depression. Thus, if you or a loved one is suffering from depression, and is looking for depression treatment centers, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-698-4295 or chat online to know about our depression treatment programs.