Mental Health and Evolution; New Release Schedule
On 10 October, just two days ago, World Mental Health Day was observed. This issue on the applications of evolutionary theory in medicine and health was posted at the beginning of this year. As we’ve tripled our subscription base since then, and have a 40% open rate, 9 in 10 of you haven’t seen this.
(Originally published in January 2020.)
Can Evolutionary Psychology Cure Depression?
Healthy individuals make for healthy organizations.
In my Master studies, I majored in marketing, but I also completed quite a few courses on human resources and organizational theory. In this period, I developed an interest in the question of what constitutes a healthy individual. Today, this question has never been more pertinent. For the first time in recent years, we have witnessed a decline in life expectancy. Depression levels are going through the roof. The younger generation seems to be most affected, particularly young girls. Depression among academics is high too. So, is there a cure for depression and unhealthy lifestyles?
In his book The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs, Dr. Stephen S. Ilardi uses evolutionary theory to suggest that depression represents a disease of the civilization. He applies evolutionary mismatch theory to propose that some of our behaviors can be maladaptive in our current environment. In his own words:
“We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life.”
Dr. Stephen Ilardi
These unhealthy behaviors can cause an inflammation in our bodies and brains, the result of which are diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, asthma, allergies, obesity, many forms of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as depression. All of these diseases were almost absent in humans while we were living in hunter-gatherer societies. They are also not common in indigenous people (e.g., the Kaluli people).
Based on extensive research, Dr. Stephen S. Ilardi has devised and tested a 6- step lifestyle program that can reduce the levels of depression. The road back to lasting health can be achieved by integrating the following elements into your life:
- an omega-3 rich diet
- plenty of natural sunlight
- ample sleep
- social connections
- participation in meaningful tasks that leave little time for negative thoughts