Undertaking positive activities could provide a low-cost treatment for depression, according to new US research.
Positive Activity Interventions (PAI), including performing acts of kindness and practicing optimism, could provide an alternative treatment for those who do not respond to drug therapy, according to researchers at the University of California and Duke University Medical Center.
Estimates suggest that, while effective for some, anti-depressants only benefit about 30 per cent of patients.
Researchers examined past studies into PAI, and have called for more investigation of how these activities effect individuals with depression.
Research student Kristin Layous explained: "Humans have been counting their blessings, dreaming optimistically, writing thank you notes, and doing acts of kindness for thousands of years.
"What's new is the scientific rigor that researchers have applied to measuring benefits and understanding why they work."
Recent research published in the journal Psychological Science indicated that some people with depression fail to get over bad past experiences because they are unable to turn their attention away.
Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.