04 Mar To achieve your goals you might, first, need to overcome depression
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by Dr. Timothy J Sharp (aka Dr. Happy)
Did you know that a significant proportion (30 and possibly up to 40%) of people who're overweight or obese are depressed? Because this is what a number of recent studies have found. Now it's important to note that we can't confidently say which came first; that is, we don't really know if being overweight causes depression or if being depressed leads to being overweight but what we do know is that those people who're overweight find it much harder to stick to a diet and so are markedly less likely to succeed if/when they trial a weight loss program.
Now I know that many of you reading this are not overweight; but I believe the implications from this research are much more widely relevant. Broadly speaking, we can safely assume that depression (and other psychological issues) play a crucial role in behaviour change. That is, people who're depressed will more than likely struggle to achieve not just weight loss but also, other lifestyle changes or goals such as exercising more, smoking cessation, moderate drinking or getting a gambling problem under control. Accordingly, if there's something in your life you'd like to change, then keep reading for some practical tips…
…Following on from this, I'd like to now offer some solutions to this troubling problem. If you're trying to make a significant lifestyle change then first of all give some thought to some or all of the following:
consider whether or not you might be depressed and if so, get some help first and foremost (see your local GP; check out websites such as BeyondBlue or BlackDog; consult a good clinical psychologist like THIS ONE; or trial a proven self help program SUCH AS THIS)
recognise that if depression is demotivating and getting in the way, happiness can be motivating and behaviour change enhancing so…
schedule pleasurable and satisfying activities into each and every day
use exercise and meditation to boost your overall health and wellbeing
enlist the positive support of those around you
make whatever it is you're trying to do fun!
Ultimately, one of the most important things is to believe that change is possible. Whether you're trying to lose weight or give up smoking or get healthier or whatever…change IS possible and help is always at hand. So get out there and have a go but remember, please get in touch if there's anything we, here at The Happiness Institute, can do to help!