A new study was conducted on adolescents and this research reveals that those young people who enjoy carrying out selfless deeds are less susceptible of getting affected by teen depression over time.
While studying the findings of this study, we should not forget the fact that our lives revolve around rewards like money, love, fun, etc. How we act for achieving these rewards or how we respond when we receive them are the factors that determine our happiness.
Types of joys
Great thinkers point out that joy is of two types. One is what we derive from selfish acts and the second type is what we derive by helping others or undertaking meaningful activities. This means that a well-lived life gives immense joy to some people. The study says that such meaningful activities may keep teen depression at bay.
Know which joy is long-lasting
Not only that, the happiness people derive out of selfless activities is long-lasting also. This has been confirmed by this recent research. Though selfish acts may give pleasure and happiness, these rewards may be purely temporary and so, they may disappear very quickly unlike the joy derived out of selfless and meaningful activities.
Thinkers and experts on psychology also unanimously agree that happiness may fade away like every other emotion. On the contrary, the joy from meaningful activities can be enduring and so, people should pursue them if they want to avoid problems like depression.
It cannot be denied that most of the people pursue delights that are mundane and materialistic but a few people may find inner peace and enduring happiness by rendering all possible help to the needy.
Sensitive brains of the teens
Though a number of studies have been conducted on these two types of happiness, in the recent study, researchers took MRIs to find out the activity levels of Ventral Striatum, the part of the human brain that governs pleasure and happiness derived from rewards. In the case of teens, their ventral striata in general tends to become very active when they receive rewards, irrespective of the type of the rewards. This is because the brains of teens are very sensitive. When they receive rewards, they rejoice and when they do not get the rewards they expect, their mood is affected. That is the reason adolescents are affected by depression during the later stage of teenage.
The aim of the new study was to study how the brains of the teens react to rewards such as playing video games or using drugs and how the brains of a few other teens enjoy when they help those in need, express gratitude or work for long-term goals. In this study, 39 teenagers were closely followed for a period of 1 year so as to know the reactions of their brains to selfless acts as well as selfish ones and also if depression affects them and if so, how much depressed they become.
Findings of the study
Firstly, these people underwent a fMRI scan when they decided whether to use their money for their own needs or to help the needy. Some of the teens were also asked to take risks so that possibilities of greater financial rewards increased. They were asked to fill a questionnaire both at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. This study clearly revealed that those teens who acted selflessly could stay away from depression whereas in the case of the adolescents who used the money for their selfish needs and those who took risks with an aim to have greater rewards, there was an increase in the depression symptoms.
The study also involved the subjects filling up a questionnaire that contained details of their teen depression symptoms once when the initial scan was taken and again at the end of the year.
That is the reason parents are advised to encourage their children to perform meaningful activities to stay away from teen depression.