At a moment as low spirits as in a depressionIt’s always good to have someone by the side to serve as support. The warmth of a friendly shoulder is always welcome during a dark time, as it can be the perfect crutch to find some light when it’s needed most.
One of the most common situations during a depression, however, is not treating people who try to provide support well. It is natural behavior, but also unfair. During depression there is no motivation and it is not very difficult to see something positive in life, so these feelings make the character change and all this frustration, involuntarily, is end up paying with others. This, obviously, can hurt their feelings and, in the worst case, cause a fracture in the relationship, thus losing support that could be interesting to have.
A new study from The Ohio State University, which has been published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, has explained that, in order to better deal with the symptoms of depressionIt is advisable be kind to others, do things for them, and encourage positive feelings associated with social connections.
“Social connection is one of the ingredients of life most strongly associated with well-being. Performing acts of kindness seems to be one of the best ways to foster these relationships,” said David Cregg, co-author of the study.
The study involved 122 people with moderate to severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. The recruited volunteers were divided into three groups. Two of the groups underwent techniques commonly used in cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression: planning enjoyable activities or trying to look on the bright side of things. These sessions were held two days a week.
The third group received the order to carry out three acts of kindness a day for two days a week. The acts in question were defined as “acts large or small that benefit others or make them happy, usually at some cost to you in terms of time or resources.” They could be simple things like making a cake, saying a few words of thanks, or offering to do some chore.
All groups followed these instructions for a total of 10 weeks, with an initial evaluation of results after 5 weeks.
In light of the results, all groups improved in their symptoms of depression. However, the people who starred in acts of kindness were the great beneficiariesboth in a increased life satisfaction like in the decreased symptoms of depression. And not only that, but they also assured that they had fostered social relationshipssomething that had also come in handy.
For this reason, researcher Jennifer Cheavens has concluded that, although it may seem wrong to ask depressed people to do something for others, it can be beneficial: “Doing nice things for people and focusing on the needs of others can help people with depression and anxiety to feel better about themselves.
However, it is important to remember that each person is different and that not all people with depressive syndrome will react in the same way to social interactions; some may need space and time alone. For this reason, you always have to treat depression with a professional, in addition to trying to try to be kind in a complementary way.