Depression is no foreign concept to Americans. According to the Huffington Post, 50 percent of Americans with major depression don’t seek treatment for their mental illness. This costs our country billions of dollars each year due to health care spending and loss of productivity, but more importantly depression negatively affects a person’s life physically, mentally and emotionally.
Happiness may seem like it is hard to come by in our society – even an unachievable sentiment – but studies have shown that happiness may be attainable by programming your mind differently. A shift toward mindfulness may put a dent in our societal problem with depression.
It may not be your life circumstances but rather your racing thoughts and wandering mind contributing to your unhappiness, according to a recent Harvard study. People who have wandering minds are less likely to experience happiness as compared to those who could focus on the task at hand in the current moment.
Mastering your mind – which aligns with the ideas behind Buddhism – can secure your happiness no matter what external factors are thrown at you. More surprisingly, the Harvard study shows that these wandering thoughts do not have to be unpleasant to cause unhappiness, and any kind of wandering thoughts – whether positive or negative – can be contributed to overall unhappiness.
Being fully present – no matter what task you are participating in – is referred to as ‘flow’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a world-renowned researcher of positive psychology. Csikszentmihalyi found that our happiest moments happen while we are in this ‘flow’ state, and the mindfulness we experience while putting all of our focus into an activity is where true happiness can be found.
Mindfulness allows you to not be bothered by anxieties or worries, but be simply immersed in the present moment. You aren’t experiencing any hopes or fears, just what is happening right now. It is total state of focus. Controlling your thoughts may literally be the key to happiness.
Happy people generally surround themselves with other happy people, smile intentionally (even when they don’t want to) and acknowledge setbacks as just small roadblocks to success. Practicing mindfulness and living in the moment allows you to appreciate the little things in life – including every moment, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Mindfulness and gratitude go hand in hand, and it is crucial to appreciate every personal setback as room for personal growth. No matter what life throws at you, it is up to you to keep your mind clear and your thoughts still.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.