A good social life may be the best way to battle depression. This was ascertained by a new study, which states that one's ability to confide in others, as well as visiting friends and family, play a big role in preventing the onset of this mental problem.

In a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard University analysed factors that have been associated with the risk of depression. These factors included physical activity, sleep patterns, diet, social interaction, and media.

The researchers looked at the data of more than 100,000 participants from the U.K. Biobank. A hospital release stated that the biobank is a "world-renowned cohort study of adults."

Based on the results of the study, researchers concluded that among the best ways to prevent depression were confiding in others and also visiting family and friends. Another factor that they mentioned was reducing the time that one spends in a sedentary state. This would refer to merely sitting and doing nothing, watching TV, or having those daytime naps.

Dr Jordan Smoller, the senior author of the study and associate chief for research at the Department of Psychiatry at MGH, noted that the results of the study underscore the importance of "social connection and social cohesion." He said that this has an important protective effect.

Smoller also noted that these factors have become more relevant at present considering that being "distant" has become the norm. With social distancing and with separation from friends and family, being able to connect with others will be vital in reducing the risk of depression.

The investigators also mentioned that more research is needed to ascertain why TV time was a factor that contributes to depression. They are looking at two aspects to investigate further. They want to know whether it is the exposure to media that makes watching TV a factor, or whether sitting in front of the TV is a "proxy for being sedentary."

CDC Says Pandemic Causes Depression And Heavy Drinking Photo: Holger Langmaier - Pixabay

What caught researchers by surprise was the other two depression risk factors, which included daytime napping and the use of multivitamins. They noted that just like the TV time factor, these two also need to be studied further.