Work Cures Depression

Maybe this isn't so surprising, in that everyone knows the link between unemployment and depression, but physical activity --not exercise, but work-- cures despondency.

“Depression directly involves the way we think about ourselves,” says Gladys Sweeney, academic dean at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a Catholic graduate school (online at “When we’re depressed, we see ourselves as worthless or hopeless. The relationship between the physical, mental and spiritual is so strong that even mild depression can become a biological depression if left untreated.”

Sweeney is convinced that when blended with spiritual exercises physical productivity can enhance or even replace conventional depression therapies. (Typically these include some combination of medication and talk sessions.)

Exercise alone probably won’t do it, she says. To be truly reparative, the physical activity must be truly productive — cooking, gardening, building, fixing or, best of all, helping someone in need.

Exercise affects the body in a positive way, she adds, “but it doesn’t draw one out of oneself in the same way as doing something that benefits others.”

Probably explains the link between tv/net surfing and depression, too.