Stephen Ilardi: Is the “Stone Age” Lifestyle the Answer to Eliminating Depression?

April 15 2007

Why is it that, despite unprecedented levels of affluence and advancement in both medicine and technology, we still see skyrocketing rates of clinical depression within the developed world? Could it be that we have altered our environment so radically over the past 60 years – and that our “hunter-gatherer” genetics just simply have not caught up with these changes?

Join us in this fascinating conversation with Dr. Stephen Ilardi of the University ofKansas where we discuss in detail what may be the true cause of depression in our society – and how we might ultimately be able to reclaim those protective “Stone Age” elements that have historically insulated us from depression since time immemorial.

Program highlights include:

(0:50) Overview of evolutionary psychology – why we are genetically “wired” to thrive in a Stone Age environment

(4:25) The environmental changes over the last 60 years – why clinical depression is so rare in contemporary hunter-gatherer societies

(11:10) Socialization and a sense of community – how this is missing from our lives right now, and why this is so important to preventing depression

(14:55) Physical activity – why exercise is such a powerful antidepressant, and how we’ve engineered this critical activity out of our lives

(22:10) Sleep, sunlight, and circadian rhythms – how our current environment has actually “miscalibrated” our brains to the detriment of our health

(28:45) Diet and consumption patterns – the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in preventing depression, and why we currently no longer consume this essential supplement in adequate amounts

(38:00) The reaction from the scientific community – why many of these statistically significant findings have been largely ignored by the conventional medical establishment

(41:25) The danger of rumination – how our lifestyles have changed so much that this unhealthy activity is now ubiquitous, and why this factor was relatively absent in Stone Age societies

(48:30) Depression among the younger population – how their current upbringing is set to predispose these future generations to skyrocketing levels of depression

(53:40) “Therapeutic Lifestyle Change”– how people can reclaim the six protective lifestyle elements and incorporate them into their current lives to insulate themselves from depression