Washington: Rather than taking anti-depressants, people suffering from depression have an inexpensive way out - practising acts of kindness and compassion, new research claims.
Acts of kindness or compassion might serve as an effective treatment for depressed people, say researchers from the University of California, Riverside, and the Duke University Medical Centre.
They have proposed a new approach called as Positive Activity Interventions (PAI).
PAIs are intentional activities such as acts of kindness, compassion and feeling optimistic and grateful, collected from decades of research into how happy and unhappy people are different, reports the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Although anti-depressants can be life-saving for some individuals, initial drug therapy produces full benefits in only 30 to 40 percent of patients, say the neuroscience and psychopharmacology researchers.
Even after trying two to four different drugs, one-third of the people will remain depressed, according to a California statement.
"Social psychology studies of flourishing individuals who are happy, optimistic and grateful have produced a lot of new information about the benefits of positive activity interventions on mood and well-being," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, who led the study.
The World Health Organization estimates that depression affects more than 100 million people globally.