Lifestyle factors, depression and making a change

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[Image credit: Jeanne Claire]

When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.
~ Viktor Frankl

Recently I read about lifestyle factors that may contribute to making us feel depressed. They include grief, sleep-deprivation, lack of exercise, poor diet, stress, all work and no play, imbalanced hormones and missing meaning. The latter factor hit home for me because finding meaning fuels my happiness. According to Frankl, we can find meaning through work, relationships, helping others, learning, creative activities, spirituality and more. If we’re in a dead-end job or relationship, it’s easy to feel “lost” because our life doesn’t align with our values and goals (see Aligning our Beliefs, Actions).  If we’re grieving, counseling may be one answer. In order to be more fulfilled and to minimize feelings of depression, I’ve already started making changes. Baby steps. And hopefully with a little more sleep, and a lot more play, things will look better in the morning.

How do you know it’s time to make a change?

Fighting the odds … and winning

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Laptop screen winner

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

I’ve been fighting genetics ever since I can remember.  From the outside, no one would ever know my cholesterol has been in the “high risk for heart disease” category for years.  And because I live with a heart defect, it’s something my cardiologist watches closely.  Although I have successfully avoided medication through diet and exercise, six months ago my numbers were disconcerting: 231 total and 116 LDL (bad cholesterol).  (My triglycerides and HDL have historically been good due to exercise.)  Jump ahead six months.  After practicing Bikram Yoga — as well as incorporating a few recent diet modifications — it appears I have finally broken through the bad genes to achieve a healthy 184 total and 84 LDL.  I know Bikram is a healer.  My improved IBS symptoms are proof.  But for me, seeing it in black and white serves as validation that each time I step in the hot room, I’m saving my life.  90 minutes at a time.

Is there a genetic barrier you’ve fought … and won?