Today brings several firsts for AltMedForYou – our first guest post, first book review, and first exchange of posts between blogs. We begin with our guest’s great review of a book by a giant in the field of alternative medicine. I hope you’ll enjoy this review as much as I did and I encourage you to visit the writer’s blog often. (You’ll find my article about positive visualization posted there today.)
GUEST BLOGGER Jackie Dishner, author of BACKROADS & BYWAYS OF ARIZONA, is a freelance writer who specializes in design, self-help and travel. She writes for consumer magazines, trade publications and websites. She blogs at BIKE WITH JACKIE, where she posts inspirational messages and discusses her BIKE philosophy and its mind-body connection, which can lead you to spontaneous happiness, a topic Dr. Andrew Weil recently wrote about in his latest book. Jackie has the review for you here.
By Andrew Weil, MD
282 pp. Little, Brown and Company, $27.99
If you think being a happy person means you have to smile 24/7, you can relax. In Spontaneous Happiness, Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the founders of integrative medicine and a professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson dissolves that fallacy.
Spontaneous happiness, he says is more about finding that middle ground, that sense of contentment, serenity, comfort, balance and resilience. You won’t have all of this all the time, and you don’t have to. Are you relieved?
You should be. In his book about happiness, the New York Times bestselling author – he’s written 12 books that deal with some form of integrative medicine – shares his theory about how you can achieve this emotional well-being.
Starting with his thoughts about why people are so depressed – Do you realize 1 in 10 of us here in the U.S., including our children, take one or more antidepressant drugs and that the World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 more people worldwide will be affected by depression than any other health condition? – Dr. Weil’s book goes on to offer solutions for your unhappiness. His prerogative would be that you make a few lifestyle changes, as opposed to filling another prescription. Yet, he doesn’t fully discount medication for those with extreme mental health issues, such as bi-polar disorder.
But he doesn’t hold back, either, when it comes to suggesting a depression epidemic is taking place that might have in fact been manufactured. Pharmaceutical companies, the big insurers, and corporate healthcare prosper and have huge incentive to keep the epidemic growing. More than 164 million antidepressant prescriptions were written in 2008, worth $9.6 billion in U.S. sales, he writes.
Dr. Weil cites various research and includes interviews with other integrative or alternative medicine practitioners. One, a Native American healer, says something as simple as gathering a circle of friends for support and prayer can do wonders for all dimensions of the human experience: physical, mental, social and spiritual.
Among the many informative points, Dr. Weil addresses how physical disease can be tied to your emotions, the critical importance of physical activity, the importance of touch, and he also mentions visualization, breathe work, and his concern that technology is socially isolating us from each other.
The part I like best about this book is the “8-week Program for Optimal Well-Being” he walks you through at the end. After explaining the various types of alternative therapies you can do to connect with your own sense of contentment, serenity, comfort, balance and resilience, he gives you a plan to see it through. The program requires you to answer a lot of questions each week about your general health and lifestyle, followed by some very specific tasks to take care of your body, mind and spirit. His point is to get you to connect with where you really are in life right now so you can get where you really want to be.
Clearly, spontaneous happiness doesn’t happen overnight.
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© 2012 by Jackie Dishner, all rights reserved.