Those extra hours at the office may make for a pretty paycheck, but remember how money doesn't buy happiness? Proof: Working over 11 hours a day may put you at a greater risk for depression, says a recent report published in PLoS ONE.
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The researchers monitored 2,123 individuals for roughly 6 years and found that working 11 or more hours a day puts you at 2.3- to 2.5-fold increase for experiencing a major depressive episode than those working a standard 7- to 8-hour workday.
If you've been handling an insane workload lately, how exactly do you know if you're inching towards depression? Stay on the lookout for the following symptoms: Changes in appetite, disturbed sleep, fatigue or loss of energy, poor concentration or indecisiveness, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts or acts, says Marianna Virtanen, Ph.D., lead study author and an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Three or more of those symptoms-present for at least 2 weeks-will warrant you a bona fide depression diagnosis, says Virtanen.
So what's a bummed, stressed, but not-clinically-depressed guy to do? Obviously we can't tell you to up and quit your job (because let's be real, that will create way more problems than it'll solve)-but we can give you a few tips to help improve your outlook while you're slaving away.
Turn On Some Tunes. Listening to your favorite jams can boost levels of dopamine (the body's feel-good chemical) in the brain, reports a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. And music's feel-good powers don't stop there: Additional research from the National University of Singapore reviewed 17 studies that examined the effects of music on depression and found that playing your favorite tunes can help reduce depressive symptoms. Pandora anyone?
Random Acts of Kindness. Complimenting your boss or picking up a coffee for a coworker may seem like trivial acts, but they can be mood boosters, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness. In fact, a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that when participants were asked to engage in three random act of kindness a day, 94 percent showed decreases in depressive symptoms.
Burn Off Those Bad Feelings. Try hitting the gym in the morning before work. Working up a good sweat can eliminate signs of depression in people who are already taking medication (yet are still experiencing symptoms), reports a study from the University of Texas. The researchers found that 28 percent of people who were hitting the gym 3 to 4 times a week saw their symptoms disappear, as well as 16 percent who exercised 2 to 3 times a week.
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