Today 1 out of 10 Americans are taking some sort of anti-depressant drugs, a number that continues to grow. Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the gurus of holistic medicine and author of the new book, Spontaneous Happiness, addresses this epidemic by sharing the ways he has learned to manage his own lifetime battle with depression.
Dr. Weil attributes two possibilities to the rise in depression and the use of prescription medications. First, some in the medical profession may be too quick to prescribe antidepressant drugs for ordinary states of sadness rather than looking at the totality of health concerns. Second, today’s typical lifestyle, which includes more time indoors, less exercise and the likelihood of information overload, has altered brain function and made people more prone to anxiety and depression.
According to Dr. Weil, happiness arises spontaneously from within us; you can’t find happiness from an outside source. In addition, it’s unrealistic to expect to be happy all the time; it’s normal to experience a range of moods and emotions – both positive and negative.
Based on his philosophy of integrative medicine, which incorporates the body, mind and spirit, Dr. Weil’s 4-week plan to finding happiness can help you gain greater emotional well-being through simple lifestyle changes.
One final note: If you are suffering from depression, as diagnosed by a professional, this plan is not meant to be a substitute for medication or medical care, and you should consult your doctor before using it.