Most of today's society is focused on the maximization of output and respective consumption. We have replaced true happiness related to accomplishment and shared experiences with rather questionable metrics of 'consumptive joy.'
Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our happiness. Many events can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, there are ways we can intentionally cause them to flow.
Since the 1950s, clinical depression has been thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, specifically an imbalance of the neurotransmitter serotonin. But a paper published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience last month suggests that no, depression is not cause by serotonin dysfunction.
The magazine ScienceNews begins a recent article on depression with a blanket judgment: "A massive effort to uncover genes involved in depression has largely failed." A general reader would probably not feel the shock waves that spread from this assessment.
Why do we seem so incapable of accomplishing a goal that we set for ourselves and truly desire? Part of the answer has to do with timing. Winter is not an ideal season to successfully execute big changes.
While it's profoundly difficult predicting the developmental trajectory of any single individual, new research suggests we can influence the odds that people will retreat within themselves or unleash the fundamentally human drive to explore and create.
Binges never happen in an emotional vacuum, even though we can pretend that they do. Often, someone claims that she was in perfect control of her eating until she ate that first doughnut or piece of chocolate. "It was the sugar that set off my binge," is usually the explanation.
Bariatric surgery, whether a stomach bypass operation or sewing together bits of a stomach lining, is not sufficient to prevent emotional overeating or the failure to accept a permanent commitment to health eating and exercise.
Ultimately, dieters who are plagued by chronic overeating flare-ups may be able to diminish their severity because they learn from past experience how to handle the situations that are causing them to stop following a calorie-conscious food plan.
One trivial but still agonizing stress of the season is going into a dressing room with a handful of bathing suits. Moans and gasps reverberate off the walls as customers take the first real look at their bodies since Christmas.
Smiling is a key strategy for getting free of a particularly heavy frame of mind and emotions. It amazes me how something so simple and doable could make such a profound difference in my ability to function effectively again.