Why do you think depression has become so much more prevalent in the last 50 years? What is it about our society that has changed so much? What causes depression?
There’s no single cause of depression. Lots of things influence whether a person gets depressed. Some of it is biology — things like our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones. Some is environment, including daylight and seasons, or social and family situations we face. And some is personality, like how we react to life events or the support systems we create for ourselves. All these things can help shape whether or not a person becomes depressed.
Jean Twenge, Ph.D., published Generation Me, a book all about the rise of depression and anxiety in millennials, in 2014. According to Twenge, only 1-2 percent of people born before 1915 experienced a major depression during their lives. Now that number’s up to 15-20 percent of the population. A survey comparing students from 1937 to 2007 found that modern students were seven times more likely to be depressed.
Sure, the world is a little crazy at the moment, but we also live in a time of extreme privilege. People have unrivaled access to technology, millennials never had to deal with the draft, and we have access to the glory that is Netflix. How could we be so unhappy?
There are several reasons.
Life is full of ups and downs. Stress, hassles, and setbacks happen (but hopefully not too often). How we react to life’s struggles matters a lot. A person’s outlook can contribute to depression — or it can help guard against it.
We can’t control our genes, brain chemistry, or some of the other things that contribute to depression. But we do have control over how we see situations and how we cope.
Making an effort to think positively — like believing there’s a way around any problem — helps ward off depression. So does developing coping skills and a support system of positive relationships including a Life Coach. These things help build resilience (the quality that helps people bounce back and do well, even in difficult situations).
Here are three ways to build resilience:
- Try thinking of change as a challenging and normal part of life. When a problem crops up, take action to solve it.
- Remind yourself that setbacks and problems are temporary and solvable. Nothing lasts forever.
- Build a support system. Have a Life Coach, ask friends and family for help (or just a shoulder to cry on) when you need it. Offer to help when they need it. This kind of give and take creates strong relationships that help people weather life’s storms.
Being positive and resilient isn’t a magic shield that automatically protects us from depression. But these qualities can help offset the other factors that might lead to trouble. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting a life coach, business coach or management coach for your teams.