“We’re seeing an unprecedented epidemic of depression in our society,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, “More people are being diagnosed with depression than ever, including millions of children. The latest statistics I’ve seen are that more than one in ten Americans is on prescribed antidepressant medication.”
Weil’s review of global psychological research suggests that depression is virtually unknown in agrarian societies, where people work with and live off the land. It can’t be that farming is a joyful, anxiety-free occupation – after all, you’re subject to the whims of the weather and the work can be grueling and monotonous. So what are we city dwellers doing wrong?
“Everything,” says Weil: “You know, they are not disconnected from nature. They’re eating diets that are natural, not highly processed. They’re getting plenty of physical activity. They get adequate rest and sleep. I think, very significantly, they enjoy the protection of very strong tribal and community support. So for all those reasons, I think they’re protected.”
Video: Dr. Andrew Weil argues that only by addressing your “total lifestyle” can you optimize your well-being.
In Spontaneous Happiness, his five-part workshop for Big Think Mentor – Big Think's lifelong learning channel on YouTube, Weil teaches a program designed to protect and enhance emotional well-being through specific lifestyle changes. You’ll learn to:
- Take a holistic and realistic approach to unlocking “spontaneous happiness.”
- Integrate Eastern and Western approaches to positive psychology.
- Use specific breathing exercises and meditations designed to develop mindfulness
- Optimize your diet to support emotional well-being
- Build physical habits that support emotional well-being