Depression affects one out of five Indians and is becoming increasingly more common. While a lot of this has to do with ubiquitous and unavoidable factors such as stress, fast paced lives and changing value systems, there are a few factors which can be modified with a little effort, to promote one's mental health and protect oneself from depression.

1. Eat right : A proper diet can go a long way in protecting one from depression. A hearty breakfast is extremely important. 

2. Sleep in plenty : Sleeping for at least 6-8 hours per day is essential to keep up the body and mind's defenses against all sorts of ill effects.

3. Exercise : Exercise generates endorphins (the natural feel-good chemicals manufactured by our brain) and can serve to ward off depression.

4. Be a little selfish : Everyday, do at least one activity that you enjoy, purely for the pleasure you derive out of it.

5. Reflect: Every night, before sleeping, try and recall at least one strength/virtue you exhibited through your actions in the past 24 hours. If you can't, make sure you work towards changing that answer tomorrow.  

Remember, depression is not a matter of choice. Happiness is.