About 75% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country according to the April 2012 Gallup poll. Based on recent research done by the government, 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants.
Wow. I’m truly sorry for our loss.
What have we lost, exactly? I’m glad you asked.
On a physical level, you’re losing the serotonin in your brain. That’s the stuff that keeps you calm, helps you sleep, and reduces your aches and pains all while keeping you on the more cheerful side of the street. Prolonged stress sucks this hormone out of you like a hot day does a mud puddle in the desert (see Stressed Out?). It’s worse for women, too, since we make 50% less serotonin than men in the first place.
What causes all this stress? Certainly circumstances in our lives – money problems, family problems and difficulties at work to name a few. But what REALLY does it is the thoughts these experiences generate. Worries, fears and desperate attempts to find solutions–these are all part of the dark thought gerbils running endlessly around in your head generating equally low feelings.
Good solutions to this problem are easier to find than you might think. There are natural substances that help like St. John’s Wort and 5-HTP (See your doctor first, though, please!). But there are also many non-chemical ways to help switch gears and reprogram your neurons so you can start to find that sunnier prospective.
My favorite escape is books. At some of the lowest points in my life, books have been my life-preserver, giving me those few hours of relief and hope in a happy ending. That’s why I write romance with a lot of comedy. Not only for my enjoyment, but for yours too. (See more recommendations.)
Funny movies and plays are another favorite go-to for me. Happy, upbeat music and especially old musicals also work beautifully. (I love old musicals.)
But my number one choice will always be books. They go anywhere, are always there for you, and nothing brings joy like a good story.
Finding your healthy way to be happy is the most important thing you can do for yourself. And with the fantastic phenomena of eBooks now at your fingertips, there’s no reason to deny yourself that gift.