I am slowly reading a good little book called Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray. It is brief but insightful look at the often misunderstood and neglected subject of depression, particularly among Christians. Murray does not over-simplify this complex issue, but he does lay out some very good parameters for understanding this malady that afflicts many of us greatly, and most of us at one time or another.
In the chapter on Causes, Murray mentions that one of the causes of depression is stress. Stress can be the result of both life events (i.e. marriage, relocating, exams, bereavements, illness, unemployment, and birth of children) and lifestyles. Concerning the latter, Murray gives this insight:
While we have little if any control over life events, we do have substantial control over our lifestyle – the proportion of time and energy we give to work, socializing, shopping, traveling, recreation, exercise, rest, and sleep. Much of the increase in depression and anxiety today is largely the result of an unbalanced lifestyle where people are, on the one hand, working too hard and spending too much and, on the other hand, are exercising, resting, and sleeping too little. This deliberate stretch beyond our capacity and abilities is not glorifying God in our body and spirit (1Cor. 6:20). It is also a breach of the sixth commandment, which requires us to take “all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life” (Westminster Shorter Catechism 68). The effects and result of a stressful lifestyle will often be the same as that of stressful life events – depression.