12 lifestyle factors that make you depressed AND 12 ways you can have more control over your happiness!

12 lifestyle factors that make you depressed AND 12 ways you can have more control over your happiness!

Depression is extremely common. 

But depression is not actually "one" thing; different people experience depression in different ways and for different reasons. 

That being said, there are a number of common "lifestyle" factors that without us often realising it, significantly affect our mood (in a negative way). And today, I share with you an article I hope will help you understand these factors better. 

At the same time, we have much more control over our happiness than many people realise. 

In fact, achieving more happiness more often is very much achievable if only we know what to do, how to do it AND actually put it all in to practice. 

So in addition to the previously referred article on understanding common causes of depression I'm also going to share with you another article about what we can all do to enhance our lives with more positive emotion such as happiness. 

If this all sounds interesting then keep reading…

First up, via Megan Bruneau of MindBodyGreen, this article highlights 12 factors that might be bringing you down…

Many clients come to me believing there is “something wrong” with them. They believe they’re fundamentally flawed, or they're making a last-ditch attempt at life, often with plans to end theirs if things don’t improve. However, more often than not, the root of their depression is not a biochemical imbalance or a life-sentence. Rather, it’s a result of one or more of the following:

1. Isolation

Of all the research out there, social connection is one of the most proven ways to prevent and cure depression. However, the problem is that depression will often tell us we’re no fun and nobody wants to hang out with us, leading us back to isolation. Acknowledge that the thought does not serve you and, given your current state, and reach out. Join a Meetup group, a team, or call an old friend.

2. Grief

Ever been through a breakup, lost a job, experienced the loss of a family member or pet, or found yourself out of school for the first time? All of these situations are thick with grief. If you’ve experienced a major transition or loss in the past year (or longer if you’ve suppressed your grief), chances are your depression might be tied to that. Grief mimics depression, so feeling unmotivated, low, irritable, disinterested in things you used to enjoy, disconnected, unable to focus, and experiencing disturbances in your sleep and diet are likely related to your adjustment to the transition or loss.

3. Sleep-deprivation

Ever noticed how much more fragile and lethargic you are after a bad sleep? Exhaustion affects our mood, our energy levels, and our cognitive functioning. The problem is, depression can cause sleep disturbances, so it can become a vicious cycle. Speak with your therapist about ensuring proper sleep hygiene, learning cognitive behavioral strategies for managing insomnia, and, if you believe you might have a sleep disorder, consider getting a referral to a sleep specialist. Some sleep disorders are highly-correlated with depression…

…keep reading the full article HERE

Following on from this we have another article, this one from Prevention, which should help you take more control of your life and boost your happiness…

Having a bad day? A rough week? A not-your-year?

Past lessons teach us that we are surprisingly capable at weathering challenges that might at first seem overwhelming. We can't control our circumstances—but we can control their effect on our well-being.

Experts attribute about 50% of a person's happiness to genetic endowments and another 10% to circumstances—where we live, how much money we make, how healthy we are. That leaves 40% of our happiness in our control. Fortunately, science has much to say about how we can make the most of that 40%. Even small improvements in mood can have cascading effects. The trick is to pay attention to what strategies work best for you. Try these for starters.

1. Know what to want

Most of us can't predict what will make us happy in the future, and that inability often leads us down the wrong path. "The average American moves more than 11 times, changes jobs more than 10 times, and marries more than once, suggesting that most of us are making more than a few poor choices," notes Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert, PhD, author of Stumbling on Happiness. One reason we so often guess wrong, he argues, is that we often imagine the future incorrectly. We forget how easily we adapt, even to painful circumstances. So when we picture what it would be like to be single again or to live in Seattle or to leave one job for another, we don't factor in everything else—the new friends, the newly discovered interest in Cascade Mountains wildflowers—that might also affect our emotional well-being.

Unfortunately, Gilbert says, we can't simply train ourselves to peer into the future with greater clarity. Instead, we should put more trust in other people's experiences. "Start with the assumption that your reactions are a lot like other people's," Gilbert says. If you want to know whether to take a job at a new company, pay attention to the people around you when you're there for an interview. Do they seem engaged and interested? That should count for a lot.

2. Savor mystery

In a culture obsessed with the power of information, the fact that most of us are a little unnerved by uncertainty is hardly surprising. Yet research suggests that a dash of mystery can make positive experiences last longer. In one study, University of Virginia psychologist Timothy Wilson, PhD, and colleagues found that students who were given a $1 coin with little explanation reported feeling happier a few minutes later than those who were given either the same amount of money by a known source or no money at all. Wilson argues that those who didn't fully comprehend the reason for the gift spent more time mulling it over, extending their pleasure. "Once we've done the cognitive work to understand something, we kind of wrap it up in a little package and store it away and move on to other things," he explains.

It's not easy to stage surprises for yourself, but Wilson suggests a few tricks. Next time you're nearing the end of an engrossing book, save the final pages for a few days later. Or shop from catalogs so you won't know exactly when your purchases will arrive—if you're lucky, when they do you may have forgotten what you've ordered.

3. Diversify your good deeds

Being kind and helpful makes most everyone feel good. But just as the novelty of a new car or electronic gadget inevitably wears off, so does the warm glow that comes from doing the same good deed over and over. People who performed various small acts of kindness every week for 10 weeks—shoveling a friend's sidewalk, giving pets a special treat, sending a birthday card—grew happier with each passing week, and the benefit lasted for at least another month, found a study by University of California, Riverside psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, and colleagues. In contrast, people who performed the same kind act repeatedly became less happy after a few weeks, then reverted to their prior level of contentment. Try this: Do several good deeds in 1 day; researchers say your happiness boost will be greater than if you spread them out evenly over time…

…keep reading this article for more happiness tips HERE