The World Health Organization says that one-third of adults suffer from depression and that number’s growing. How can you protect yourself? By incorporating these three habits into your daily life:

  • Stay connected to the people you care about. Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky is the author of The How of Happiness. And her research shows that people who stay close to their families, neighbors, and communities are more satisfied with their lives than loners. Why? Because having strong connections provides support when times are tough, and knowing someone’s always got your back helps protect you from stress.
  • Help others. Research in the journal Social Science and Medicine shows that the positive feelings you get from volunteering your time and energy makes you physically and psychologically stronger, and more resilient.
  • Happy people understand that money isn’t everything. A long-term study of over 12,000 people found that those who said making money was their number one goal were the least satisfied with their lives 20 years later. That’s because, when money is a priority, what you have is never enough. And if you’re always searching for something better, you’ll never be at peace. This research explains it perfectly: back in 1940, Americans reported being "very happy," even though most people didn’t have any luxuries to speak of. Fast forward to today, and with all of our tablet computers, smart phones, flat-screen TVs, and cars – and an income that has more than doubled. What do you think our average national happiness is today? It's rated as “average.” So, not only does materialism not bring happiness, it's a strong predictor of unhappiness.

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