According to psychologists at the University of Wisconsin, people who search out happiness are more likely to have shorter lifespans and are at greater risk of developing depression and other mental illnesses and conditions. Have you noticed that over the past few years we are becoming increasingly persuaded and influenced by a society that believes our happiness equates to pleasure and we are finding ourselves filling our lives indulging in material objects and hedonistic pursuits that maximize the amount of positive feelings we experience? That is, in the short term.
There have been many studies conducted around the pursuit of happiness. Doctors such as Dr Chris Peterson from the University of Wisconson have deemed that chasing after superfluous goals like making money, instant gratification and living the Hollywood version of happiness can lead to even more unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
When it comes to the three different routes to personal happiness, The Pleasant Life, The Good Life and The Meaningful Life, Doctor Peterson tested the theory on 150 participants in the form of a questionnaire, with questions to elicit responses about pursuing life satisfaction and the results were fascinating. He found that both the Good Life and the Meaningful Life were related to life satisfaction: the more eudaimonia or the more meaning in your life, the more life satisfaction came as a result. Interestingly Dr Peterson did discover however, that the amount of pleasure in life did not add to a person’s life satisfaction. It has been proven that having a purpose in life and the rewarding feelings that come from raising children, helping others or volunteering will lead to a longer life and improved physical wellbeing.
Today in the medical field, depression has become a broadly used term that can be applied to any absence of personal happiness, lack of inner contentment and personal material deficiency. The broad based clinical term has been reapplied generically to anyone suffering from feelings of sadness, low spirits, melancholy or gloominess which subsequently has led to a transformation of our normal emotions into mental health problems which often are suited to the treatment plans being offered. Depression was a once rare condition and now it quite literally is the new black.
Did you know that according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, more than 10 percent of Americans are taking antidepressant medications? Eleven percent of these are men and five percent are women and more than sixty percent have been taking the medication for a period of two years or more. Instead of changing behaviours or circumstances, people are being prescribed antidepressant medications because they are an easy way out and readily available.
Depression nowadays takes on many different forms, it can be fleeting, arrive from nowhere and leave as quickly as it came, or it can be a long term problem that affects people for months or even years. It can be a result of a relationship breaking down, feelings of inadequacy when we compare ourselves with others, loss of a loved one, a changing life event or it could even just be because we feel bad about the way we appear to others. Depression can affect our appetite, our sleeping patterns, the ability to function and manifests as physical symptoms such as physical pain, headaches, digestive symptoms, fatigue, lack of energy and lack of concentration.
Natural Approaches to Treat Depression:
For low to mild depression, meditation can be used to relieve or reduce anxiety. Exercising regularly has been associated with improved mood, as it improves circulation and changes brain chemistry, enhancing overall energy, vitality and wellbeing. Just going for a walk for thirty minutes each day is enough to experience noticeable changes to the way that you feel.
For herbal treatments, Rhodiola Rosea is being used by a number of forward-thinking psychiatrists around the world, as a first line of treatment for depression and mood enhancement and as a beneficial alternative to prescribing pharmaceuticals.
Nutritional deficiencies play a role in many cases of depression because chemistry is governed by nutrient intake for proper balance. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain function and enhance brain health and mood significantly. If you’re looking to add more Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet increase your intake of fresh seafood in particular wild salmon or supplement with Omega 3.
Flower Essences have long been used for the treatment of emotional and mood related conditions by harmonising emotional and spiritual energies and repairing imbalances. Flower Essences treat a specific negative emotion and can be used alone or grouped with a variety of essences to achieve optimum results. Because they are non-invasive and non-addictive they are a wonderful alternative to medications for low to mild depression.
One of the most popular essences used by naturopaths to treat depression is Borage as it instills courage and is used to assist people to overcome grief, sadness, and discouragement. Gentian is suitable if you are experiencing doubt and lack of faith, melancholy, skepticism and disappointment. Mustard, Sweet Chestnut Willow and Crab Apple can also be of assistance to work subtly on mood and emotion. The wonderful thing about Flower Essences is that they are safe to use and produce no side–effects, a great remedy for people today who are seeking a natural way to ease and overcome their symptoms.
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