Friday, January 27, 2012

The Chemistry of Joy*

Jeff Koob (CSULB) quoted Dan Siegel (UCLA) as saying that joy causes brain myelination and so for healing purposes, we all need more joy (I'm paraphrasing, big time).

When I saw Dan Siegel speak, I went up to him at the break and asked him about this.  He referred me to the book, The Chemistry of Joy:  A three-step program for overcoming depression through western science and eastern wisdom, by Henry Emmons, MD.

According to the book, step one is understanding our brain and how to feed it.  Step two is knowing our Ayurvedic type (Calming Air, Soothing Fire or Moving Earth Types).  Step three is discovering our Buddhist emotional type (Fear Types, Anger Types, Self-Deluding or Adrift Types).

The author sees people with depression as a complex integration of mind, body, and spirit.  If you are feeling a little bit better after working on one of the three - mind, body, spirit - then maybe you will find yourself feeling a whole lot better if you give the other two some equal time.  If you have participated in talk therapy for a long time, then maybe it is time to focus on the body or spirit.  Likewise, if your focus has been on strengthening the body, then maybe it is time to pay attention to spirit or telling your stories and reflecting on them.  If you have avoided any type of treatment due to fear of pain or lack of energy, then take a small step toward feeling stronger.  A ball in motion is easier to accelerate than a ball that is standing still.  Take the first step in whatever direction feels right to you now.

Surely joy is the condition of life.
--Henry David Thoreau

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