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Stay-At-Home Parents Urged To Get Social To Fight Depression

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There’s a new report that says regular trips out help guard depression later in life. In other words, it’s important for stay-at-home moms to remain social, even if they spend most of their time at home with their newborn babies. That’s because there’s a new study that finds a clear link between cultural engagement and a lower risk of depression.

Researchers at the University College of London  claim that if you want to stay healthy and happy, regular trips to the movie theater, breakfasts with friends or even park play dates with your moms’ group help fight off depression and loneliness. For a lot of people, this might sound obvious, but the more active you are, the better off you will be in your future. Simply getting social with your friends can help dramatically reduce the chances of becoming depressed the older you get.

Using data on more than 2,000 adults over 50 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), those who attended films, plays or exhibitions every few months had a 32 percent lower risk of developing depression, with those attending once a month or more having a 48 percent lower risk.

"We were very pleasantly surprised by the results," said lead author Dr. Daisy Fancourt. "Notably we find the same relationship between cultural engagement and depression among those of high and low wealth and of different levels of education -- the only thing that differs is the frequency of participation."

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Even after the results were adjusted to take into consideration other factors that may affect someone’s propensity for depression - like age, gender, health and exercise - the researchers found that being social and going out once in awhile offered significant benefits to someone’s mental well-being. With that being said, the researchers want to encourage greater awareness of the benefits so that people can take better control of their own mental health, both now and later on in their lives, too.

"Cultural engagement is what we call a 'perishable commodity'. For it to have long-term benefits for mental health, we need to engage in activities regularly. This is similar to exercise: going for a run on the first of January won't still have benefits in October unless we keep going for runs," she added.

In other words, as tempting as it is to put on a pair of pajamas and stay at home for another Netflix night, you are probably better off actually going to the movie theater or catching a live performance with your friends than anything else. It will not only help you fight cabin fever now, but will significantly decrease your chances of becoming depressed later on in your life, too.

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