Movies, the theater and cultural events can keep depression at bay

Movies, the theater and other cultural events can help in fighting the blues as you age. New research suggests, the more you engage in these activities, the less depressed you will be. The British study showed that older people can cut risk to depression by 32 percent by going to cultural activities every few months. If they go once a month, their risk appears to drop by 48 percent.

The study's lead author, Daisy Fancourt of University College London, said that there are probably many positive “side effects” generated by cultural participation, which seem to reduce risk of depression.

Going to concerts or the theater gets people out of the house, reduces sedentary behaviors, encourages gentle physical activity, which is protective against depression.

Fancourt added that it provides social engagement, reduces social isolation and loneliness. Engaging in arts reduces stress, associated with lower stress hormones such as cortisol, and lower inflammation, which is associated with depression.

Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach with the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago says that these activities stimulate thinking, they can evoke enjoyable feelings and emotions, provide opportunities for interaction with others thus, enhancing mental health.

Also, behavioral health engagement solutions lead to better mental health.