The Depression Cure: The Six-Step Programme to Beat Depression Without Drugs by Steve Ilardi starts with the premise that “we were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life”. Ilardi, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas sets out the six steps of his ‘Therapeutic Lifestyle Change’ in a clear and accessible way. They are:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – 1,000mg EPA and 500mg DHA per day
- anti-rumination – absorbing activity that stops you going over and over negative stuff in your head
- exercise – at least 30 mins brisk walking 3 times a week
- light exposure – at least half an hour of sunshine each morning, or get a 10k lux lightbox
- social support – being with other people
- sleep – 8 hours of healthy sleep a night
Details of each here and in this video, which is long but covers everything. He starts on the steps at 50 minutes.
I do follow these steps and I do think they help. Finding the correct dose of Omega 3 is the biggest challenge as it’s expensive stuff and you need to have your wits about you to work out which is best value for money. Am currently working my way through Omega 3 Triple Strength Fish Oil Capsules 1360mg, £12.95 for 60 capsules from Holland & Barrett, which have 680mg EPA and 272mg DHA per capsule, so I take two a day.
The steps don’t include mindfulness, which is mentioned only fleetingly as an ‘increasingly popular technique’ that ‘helps promote a deep, radical acceptance of each moment life presents us with’.