Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "The Chemistry of Joy"

The Chemistry of Joy
By Henry Emmons, M.D.
with Rachel Kranz
Copyright 2006
Fireside Books

Always fighting those depressive demons, when I saw a friend suggest this book to another depression sufferer, I decided to pick it up and see what it was all about.  The book starts out with an interesting premise:  that depression can be lessened by combining western science and eastern philosophies in a sort of multi-pronged approach to treatment. 

I can buy that.  The author spends quite a bit of time talking about brain chemistry and the "how" of depression, along with some of the positives and negatives of traditional treatments.  He then goes into Ayurvedic theory, defining people into air, fire and earth types.  The author explains how the different Ayurvedic types have different needs and respond to different treatments.  I found that I am mostly an "air" type (with a little "fire" thrown in for good measure).  I have cold hands and feet, prefer hot drinks, I sleep lightly and have a restless mind, am prone to anxiety but overly discriminating and compulsive in routine.  Yep, that about sums it up. 

So apparently I need to give myself more down time, create a more consistent schedule and eliminate stress.  LOL.  Wife, mom, likely is that?

I did get a couple of good tips from the book on some meditation exercises, and a reminder to journal my feelings (which I haven't done in a very, very long time).  Plus a chapter called "Strategies of wisdom" which included a paragraph about the importance of having someone in our lives who really knows how to listen. 

The author writes, "When someone listens not with their ears or their thinking mind, but with an open heart and a nonjudging mind, then the soul feels safe to come out and reveal itself....This kind of exchange is a gift for both the speaker and the listener, a relationship that goes beyond the unequal roles of helper and helped....Rather, the exchange is a relationship of two souls, in which 'the god in me meets the god in you' and both parties are the richer for it.  The remarkable thing about such a soul relationship is that whether you are the speaker or the listener, you benefit a great deal." 

Those words struck such a chord in me.  To have that type of a relationship is something to be truly cherished.  That one paragraph alone was worth reading the entire book.

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