But being overweight can take a toll. It's the rare person that doesn't develop some sort of adverse health effect related to being overweight. This may not be affecting your life now, but don't ignore the fact that it could affect your life significantly in the future. Consider the life you have now and consider the life you want to have. If they're not the same, and part of that is because you're uncomfortable with your weight, then you know you've got to make some major changes. Let regular exercise be one of those changes. If you're honest, lack of exercise in your life may be kind of a plus. It gives you more time for other things, you don't have to spend any money on workout shoes or gym memberships, and you don't have to put your body through some truly uncomfortable paces. Maybe you even love the fact that you don't have to worry about having to deal with sweaty hair. So life without exercise is, well, pretty good. On the other hand, is it really that good when you're so out of shape that walking the length of the local mall is exhausting? Is it really that good when you're cranky all the time? How about when you don't have the strength to carry groceries, do work around the house, or even hold a crying child or grandchild that needs comforting for any length of time? If there was an emergency, could you pick up that child and run? You may have more minutes in the day to devote to work or personal interests, but is it worth the risk of illnesses that could potentially take away all of your free time? I'm simply asking you to weigh the pros and cons: What are you getting in exchange for not exercising, and is it worth missing out on the benefits? There are thousands of beliefs you could have that define your perfectly hidden depression. Yours will be unique to you and be born from your religion, your family, your culture, your mentors, your native country, your gender, your sexual orientation, your experiences, your traumas--whatever has influenced you to believe what you believe and perceive what you perceive. What will you want in your life if you're not following the distorted rules of perfectly hidden depression? You may not know right now where you're going with all of this.

You know what you don't want anymore. But where exactly are your new beliefs supposed to be leading you? In which direction are you going? What road are you following that will lead you to not having to hide? Try completing this statement: "As I change the rules that I'm living by, I want to move toward ." One of my own mantras is: "What you do is not as important as that you do." It's the process that's important--the journey and what you're learning as you go. Where you end up isn't as important as that you begin to experience yourself and life in a refreshed, fulfilling, and tolerant way. Researchers have demonstrated this experience-based, self-limiting tendency in every organism you can imagine. They have even documented it with a bunch of fleas! If you have ever owned an outside mutt that had fleas, you know the damn things can jump halfway across the room and that they will do so just as soon as you get soft and let the mangy thing in the house. Apparently, these researchers (who obviously had way too much time on their hands) put a bunch of fleas in a jar with a lid on it. Not surprisingly, the fleas jumped so high that they hit the lid, time after time. But even a flea gets tired of bumping its head. (These fleas were smart, obviously from some highbrow poodle.) The fleas "learned" that if they jumped to a certain height, they knocked themselves silly hitting that lid. So they started jumping about a half inch short of the lid. The environment shapes even fleas. But here's the point: Eventually, you can take the lid completely off that jar, but the fleas won't jump out. They'll keep on jumping a half inch short of where the lid was. Based on history, and in conformance with their environment, they steadfastly limit what they allow themselves to do. Is it so hard, then, to understand how your "head-bumping" activity, how your life chain, has gotten you to pull back and limit yourself? You've learned your role, whatever it is.

It's been put on you with great clarity as life has pounded and hammered away, shaping your personal truth and self-concept. Until now, it may be that all of the hammering and pounding and shaping took place outside of your awareness. Like the fleas in the open jar, you may not have even been aware that you had a choice. Well, you may not have been aware then, but I'm telling you now that you do have choices, you do have power; now you know. You don't have to just mindlessly go along with this life chain you have both inherited and passively contributed to. You can begin to shape its links, actively and consciously. You need the tools, you need guidance on where to start and what to do, but with a little help, you can do it. You are worth it, and you can do it! When looking for wisdom on how to deal with an issue in your life, seek out those that conquered the worst case. The very worst case of where you are now. As I have told many before, you can learn more from the children than those cluttered with out of date beliefs and misguided versions of truth. Science is not an absolute. It is a process. The whole basis of science is to prove the thesis wrong. Not to prove it right. Medical, nutritional, psychological... Recognising that what this means is your perception determines how you feel, the subsequent release of drugs into your body stores the thought and it can become a neurological pathway that you learn to repeat for good or bad. Recognising that life is a series of ups and downs. The issue and challenge for you is to not become stuck in a peak or trough of those emotions. Have you ever laughed so much and for so long it has become painful?

Imagine if you were to laugh for a week non-stop. Painful. The same is true of crying, anger, panic... Many of us isolate stress to a mental experience - something that is happening in our minds - all too often forgetting that our bodies and spirits feel with us too, moment to moment. Certain stresses, such as nervous excitement or tension under the acute pressure of a challenging life experience or impending deadline, are normal sensations of aliveness. Many of us have begun to exist in a state of hurried automatic pilot, though, a state in which we are oblivious to the amount of stress we are truly feeling and the toll that it is taking on all aspects of our being. Stress affects everything: our bodies, minds and spirits, thoughts and actions, our relationships, moods, perspective and clarity. It naturally becomes harder to see and embrace the magic of being alive when we are depleted at the spirit level. We can eat kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner but if we are stressed, ungrateful, unkind and ungenerous, we will not find the sparkling wellness that we seek. We can exercise to a perfect, personalised program week to week yet if we aren't present in our present moments, feel perpetually anxious or are endlessly critical of ourselves and others, we will feel weak and exhausted. We can get eight hours of deep sleep a night but if we ignore opportunities to be of loving, meaningful service to others in our waking lives we will feel imbalanced. We might go on adventures but be so distracted en route that we miss all the magic around us. We might then wonder why we feel dull or empty, for it is in giving that we receive, and in noticing that we see. Our wellbeing is essential to our enjoyment of life on earth, not to mention the health and happiness of those with whom we share our lives. We can, and are entitled to, savour our lives to the fullest, feeling sparkly, fulfilled and complete. The key to sparkling wellness is attending to our spirits honestly and respectfully, without judgement or fear. We are often quick to notice our shortcomings and perceived flaws before acknowledging the immensity of our strengths and achievements: the courage, perseverance and generosity of our spirits. Truly knowing and caring for ourselves means connecting with the fullness, richness and depth of our complete humanity. Loving and caring for our spirits in the way they deserve is real nourishment. These questions are meant to help you assess your past experience with exercise.

There are so many things that stop people from exercising, among them bad relationships and a simple inability to juggle both life's tribulations and a regular exercise schedule. Many people also give up on an exercise routine because they don't feel capable while working out. Did you always seem to get tired out (or bored) before you reached one mile? Did you feel clumsy in exercise class? Did you never seem able to lift anything but the lightest weights? It's easy to think that you're just not good at exercise--that's why you always quit--but before you come to that conclusion, think back on what did work, even if it happened a long time ago. Maybe it's been years since you played tennis, but you really liked it. Could you start playing again? Maybe you used to walk with your former next-door neighbor, which made it so much easier to endure--you hardly noticed the miles going by. Could you enlist someone in your new neighborhood (or seek out a walking group; even start one with colleagues during your lunch break)? It doesn't really matter exactly what prevented you from exercising regularly in the past. What matters is that the potential for that bump in the road to derail you again has now been significantly reduced or removed. Assess your present circumstances with care. It's also important that you be ready to get creative about finding ways to sustain exercise. Most of all, don't let flashbacks of past failures hold you back. If you are motivated enough, you'll be able to keep an exercise regimen going regardless of your previous experience with activity. Let's also not make the mistake of assuming that you'll breeze through all of this. Your old rules will come out of the woodwork, clamoring to get your attention. It may be that the very process of allowing them to surface will be difficult. Perhaps even questioning them will feel wrong or as if you're being disloyal to someone or something.