Certain lifestyle factors may make a person more or less susceptible to developing depression and they can be helpful in decreasing the impact of depression once it does occur. Conversely, being depressed may make people more likely to engage in lifestyle choices that can put them at risk for other chronic health conditions . For example, a person who is depressed may develop a habit of comfort eating, which then leads to obesity. The lifestyle factors that are most consistently related to depression are each described in detail elsewhere on this site and include exercise , sleep and mindfulness practice (Lopresti, Hood, & Drummond, 2013). Among people who are depressed, treatments that focus on improving sleep and increasing aerobic exercise have both been shown to decrease depressive symptoms. People who get enough sleep and exercise on a regular basis may also be more resilient to developing depression. In addition, there have been fewer consistent findings showing a relationship between what people eat and their depression levels, although recent studies suggest that eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties may be helping in reducing depression. Finally, learning and practicing mindful meditation has been shown to decrease chances of relapsing among people who have previously been depressed (Teasdale et al., 2000).
Lopresti, A. L., Hood, S. D., & Drummond, P. D. (2013). A review of lifestyle factors that contribute to important pathways associated with major depression: diet, sleep and exercise. J Affect Disord, 148(1), 12-27. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.01.014
Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M., Ridgeway, V. A., Soulsby, J. M., & Lau, M. A. (2000). Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. J Consult Clin Psychol, 68(4), 615-623.