Recalling study finds from positive memories protects young people from depression

& # 39; Remember the good times & # 39; can help teenagers to prevent depression & # 39; reduce levels of stress hormone & # 39;

  • Cambridge University scientists studied more than 400 teenagers
  • The ability to invoke specific positive memories reduced stress hormones
  • Training yourself to control emotions can be a way to prevent depression
  • Scientists said it is important to find non-medical ways to prevent depression

Recalling happy memories can help teenagers to suppress depressions, researchers say.

Remembering the good times & # 39 ;, scientists say, could be an important weapon in preventing serious psychological problems in adolescence and adulthood.

If mental illnesses prove to be more serious as they develop in childhood, the ability to retrieve memories can be a useful tool to build lifelong.

Training teenagers to use positive thoughts to control their emotions turned out to reduce stress hormones and improve self-esteem in the long term.

Depression affects more than 300 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization, and researchers say that problems starting in puberty are longer and more severe than those that arise in adulthood (stock image)

A study led by the University of Cambridge analyzed 427 young people with an average age of 14 years, who were considered a risk of depression.

Affecting more than 300 million people around the world, depression is the leading cause of disability, according to the World Health Organization.

So to find a new way to tackle the condition, experts propose to make young people resilient before they start to suffer.


Although it is normal to feel that you are depressed from time to time, people with depression may experience persistent unhappiness for weeks or months.

Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – about one in ten people will probably experience it at some point in their lives.

Depression is a real health condition that people can not just ignore or take out.

Symptoms and effects vary, but can consist of being constantly angry or hopeless or losing interest in things that you used to like.

It can also cause physical symptoms such as sleep problems, fatigue, low appetite or sex drive and even physical pain.

In extreme cases this can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Traumatic events can trigger this and people with a family history may be at greater risk.

It is important to consult a doctor if you think you or someone you know has depression because it can be managed with lifestyle, therapy or medication changes.

Source: NHS Choices

& # 39; Our work suggests that & # 39; remembering good times can help to build resilience to stress and reduce vulnerability to depression in young people, & # 39; said Adrian Dahl Askelund, the lead author of the study.

& # 39; This is important because we already know that it is possible to train people to come up with specific positive memories.

& # 39; This could be a good way to help those young people who are at risk of depression. & # 39;

The theory is essentially that training people to cheer themselves up with positive thinking could improve their ability to regulate emotions.

Researchers found the levels of cortisol of young people – the stress hormone whose high levels are linked to depression – were lower one year after practicing recalling positive events in their lives.

And they also had fewer negative thoughts about themselves.

In the experiment, teenagers got a word and were instructed to recall a specific memory related to the word.

Those who were able to remember specific memories were usually more resistant to depression – the condition is linked to generalization and a problem in remembering specific events.

Researcher Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen added: "Psychiatric disorders that occur for the first time in adolescence are more serious and will return more often in later life.

With child and adult mental health services underfunded and overburdened, it is crucial that we find new ways to build resilience, especially in adolescents at greatest risk of depression. & # 39;

The findings were published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.