Surprisingly, one out of every ten Americans is taking antidepressant medication. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that more people will be affected by depression than by any other health condition by 2030. Although there are many cases where medication is a viable life saving option, it is also important to look at the emotional state where depression begins to help prevent this dramatic rise.
It’s possible that depression is on the rise because our relationship to what we think happiness should look like is delusional. Happiness doesn’t come from anything outside of yourself. True happiness is cultivated and generated from a deeper place within. While external and material things may bring pleasure, there is a difference between pleasure and sustainable happiness.
The ability to stay connected to Self and others and to have gratitude for what makes you happy is an essential daily practice to ward off depression. Awareness and inquiry are the first steps to living with happiness. Research suggests that feelings of guilt and low self worth can become a chronic problem resulting in depression. So it would seem that happiness would also be dependent upon one’s ability to choose and transform what you think about yourself, your life, others and the world in which you live. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi
Through yoga, we practice the tools that remind us that happiness is just waiting to be chosen. Although we may experience pain and sadness, those emotions do not have to be perpetuated. Our asana practice is a physical workout, and exercise has been proven to reduce the clinical symptoms of mild to moderate depression, so challenging your physical body will elevate your mood!
This month is a great reminder to give thanks for what gives us access to happiness. Writing out a gratitude list is a great exercise to become aware of all the goodness around us. For me, living my passion gives me happiness. Sharing yoga with others allows me to fully express myself, which gives me happiness. Working with the BV team gives me happiness. Being with my husband, family and friends gives me happiness. Watching the sunset, listening to music and playing with my dog are all reminders that happiness is inside of me just waiting to be experienced and expressed. I am grateful for all the experiences that life offers because they are an opportunity to access life more fully and remind me that happiness is a choice and a way of being!
With Much Love,
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