The science behind happiness is a very hot topic these days. Life has many twists and turns that we cannot explain or control at times, although we do have control over how we respond to challenges placed in our path. I am confident that allowing more happiness into our lives will bring about positive outcomes. As a pharmacist, I often question why Americans are the most medicated people in the world. Another disturbing fact is the increasing rate of antidepressant use in the U.S. Research has shown that 12.7% of Americans over the age of 12 years old take antidepressants, www.apa.org/monitor/2017/11/numbers.aspx. Thankfully we have these medications to help because depression can be a very dark place.
I myself have been in this dark space and had to be placed on antidepressants. This was a strange place for me because I am in general a very positive and happy person. When I was placed on antidepressants, I was dealing with a few very challenging situations and felt extremely down and overwhelmed. I needed to find relief, and I am incredibly thankful to have been able to turn the corner and be in a much better space with the use of the correct antidepressant. I want to encourage people to make sure they ask for help if they are in a dark place. Unfortunately, there can be negative outcomes if these situations are not addressed. When and if you need help, allow yourself to ask for it. I know there are people who are dealing with situations or experiences that have lead to depression. There are also people who have chemical imbalances caused by various sources. These people may need to use antidepressants to help with the modifications to their chemical levels. I would also like to encourage people to learn different tools that can help to cope with challenging situations that are placed in one’s path. The tools could be stress relievers, fun activities, sleep and there is a lot of information out there about how our diets can affect our mood, www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/foods-eat-every-day-beat-depression.
John Ratey, a psychiatrist, and professor at Harvard wrote an incredible book called “SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” www.johnratey.com. In this book, he talks about the science behind the benefits of exercise. He explains that exercise has a positive effect on anxiety, depression, and ADHD. He also discusses how the production of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) increases when we exercise. BDNF helps with the survival and development of our nerve cells in out brain. There is a lot of research being conducted on this subject matter, and initial studies have shown that increasing BDNF can improve one’s memory. This research reinforces the fact that exercise is very important for many different systems in the body, and I am very excited to see how this research progresses.
Through science, we are learning a variety of different methods to help us deal with the challenges of life. I want to introduce alternative research and ideas that can help people deal with these challenges. Due to advancing technology, it is an exciting time in the world of science, and there are no limits to what we are able to uncover. I hope we will be able to help you find the tools that will benefit you on your journey, www.CatchHappiness.com.