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Low Resilience Puts Men at Risk for Depression

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Resiliency — the ability to “bounce back” when you’re stressed — can play a huge part in whether you develop depression after a particularly stressful situation, especially if you’re a man who’s recently widowed. According to Science Daily, men who lack resilience are more vulnerable to becoming severely depressed when their spouse dies.

Women, on the other hand, experienced only a slight increase in depression, whether they were considered resilient or not. Researchers speculated that the difference may be that women often have a wider social network for support.

While it’s always difficult to deal with the loss of a loved one, be it a spouse or close family member, studies show that having a close social network not only can help you be happier in your day to day life, but can be immeasurably helpful in times of stress. The resiliency you gain from this type of network can help you keep in a happier frame of mind, and thus less likely to dive into deep depression when bad things happen.

Another thing that comes from this feeling of happiness is that the frame of mind it puts you in makes it more likely that you will also adopt other beneficial habits associated with optimal health, such as eating well, exercising regularly, sleeping better and managing stress. What’s even better is that achieving these feelings can be as easy as just making it a point to smile more — and that is research-based!

The sad thing about this is that, for many, happiness is elusive at best and at times nearly impossible. So, what can you do to overcome that, especially when it seems that something is always pushing your buttons or making you feel like there’s nothing left to be happy about? One answer comes from those who’ve learned how to manage well enough to live well beyond 100, who report that an ability to manage stress when it comes — in other words, being resilient — is the most important key to keep on keeping on.

Rather than dwelling on negative events, most centenarians figured out how to let things go, and you can do that too. The key is consistently training yourself to let go of the negativity. This isn't something you do once and you're done. It's something you do each and every day, or however often you're triggered.

One foundational principle is the realization that the way you feel about an event has everything to do with your perception of it. While seeking the aid of a qualified mental health professional is certainly recommended if you suffer from depression or other mental health issues, for the run-of-the-mill upsets of daily life, you can raise your happiness level by shifting your focus from ruminations about what caused the situation to what your beliefs about it are.

Additionally, the philosophers of old placed great emphasis on gratitude as a way of cultivating happiness and inner peace. Today, thousands of years later, the benefits of a thankful attitude have been firmly established through scientific study. People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions and less anxiety, sleep better and have better heart health — all parts and parcel of being resilient.

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