How Does Our Emotional Health Affect Our Physical Health?

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And when I was working on my book, Spontaneous Happiness, I thought a lot about this question. First of all, I'm not so sure happiness should be the goal of life. For one thing, I think most people in our culture imagine that happiness comes from getting something you don't know how. If I only had this job, if I only had that car, if I only had that flat screen TV, I'd be happy.

I don't think that's why I still look for happiness externally. I also discovered, and I didn't know this that the origin for happiness is interesting, it comes from an old Norse root that means luck or fortune or chance, it's the same route that gives us perhaps and happen stance. So people back then thought that happiness was tied to fortune, the external circumstance, and that's not a good place to pin your happiness because if that's where you put it, then as we know, fortune is fickle you're in for the low cycle as well.

I think the much better goal would be contentment, which is something internal, that is, if you are content, whatever your external circumstance is, you can access a feeling of feeling full and satisfied. My concern is with emotional well being, and I think the goals of moving towards emotional wellness or to seek, in addition to contentment, comfort, serenity, balance, resilience, so that whatever happens out there, if you get knocked off balance, you can quickly come back to center.

Huge, huge cultural shift. But given the fact that we're seeing epidemic depression, and on the last statistic I saw is that 10% of Americans are now taking anti-depressant medication and that number is going up. I think we should be thinking about these issues.