Though doctors don’t know that it’s possible to prevent depression altogether, you may be able to keep it from coming back if you’ve already had an episode. Some therapists use an approach called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to do that.

MBCT combines cognitive therapy, which changes the way you think, with mindfulness. The goal of mindfulness is to focus on what’s going on in the present. The method aims to help people with depression be aware of their negative thoughts and learn to change them.

Other psychotherapies, such as Interpersonal Therapy, which focuses on relationships, are also effective.

Other ideas to prevent depression involve medicine, lifestyle changes, and nutrition. Some studies have found that steps like these can reduce new episodes of depression by 25% or more, but scientists need to do more research on these approaches.

What You Can Do

There’s no sure way to prevent depression. But you can:

  • Find ways to handle stress and improve your self-esteem.
  • Take good care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly.
  • Reach out to family and friends when times get hard.
  • Get regular medical checkups, and see your provider if you don’t feel right.
  • Get help if you think you’re depressed. If you wait, it could get worse.

Deadly combo: Short sleep duration and heart disease, stroke