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Are You Sad? Good For Your Health!




By Margarita Nahapetyan

Depression and sadness are good for us, according to the scientists, who say that taking medication in order to fight stress and depression, as if they were physical diseases, prevents us from facing our miserable side and takes away the motivation to change our lives for the better.

Researchers, led by Professor Jerome Wakefield of New York University, have come to the conclusion that sadness can leave people stronger, more resilient and better able to deal with life's problems and challenges. The say that depression can even lead to great achievements. People learn from their mistakes and better appreciate what they want from life.

Today the modern society lives in a world when going to psychologist and taking anti-depressant pills is considered to be step # 1 in dealing with stress, depression and lack of sleep. Professor Wakefield wrote about what anti-depression medication does to human body, in his book "The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder." Giving antidepressants to people whose real problem is something else might make the person to end up in an unhealthy situation instead of addressing the current problem. "When you find something this deeply in us biologically you presume it was selected because it had some advantage - otherwise we wouldn't have been burdened with it. We're fooling around with part of our biological make-up, and I think one of the functions of intense negative emotions is to stop our normal functioning - to make us focus on something else for a while," said the scientist.

A lot of psychiatrists are now wondering whether taking medication, some of which can have significant side effects, does not damage one's emotional development in general. They say that if people give in to depression and stress, it would mean that they learned how to control and deal with their emotions, a thing that becomes almost impossible once being on drugs. If medication and drugs are being used as a case of protection from depression, then people "might stay in a state of chronic stress until exhausted or dead."

The researchers point out that today's society prizes personal happiness above everything else. There are multiple reasons causing stress and depression, such as divorces, death of close and dear people, break-ups of relationships, and, in the current stage of the global financial crisis, losing a job. Estimates suggest that one in four people will suffer from depression at some point during their lives, and 5 per cent of the population is currently living with it.

People who are depressed experience low energy levels, apathy and get easily irritated. Depression is usually associated with dark words: "I am not good enough," "What is the use of trying," "I will never find love," "I will never be happy." This negative self-talk penetrates eventually in the brain of a person under depression, and later becomes automatic.

People have been victims of depression for thousands of years and the condition has partly survived because it is beneficial to the species in the long-term. There is also the opinion that creativity can be connected to dark moods. Many, many great artists, writers and musicians have suffered from depression or bipolar disorder. It has never been a secret that historical figures, such as Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Sir Isaac Newton, Vincent van Gogh and Ludwig van Beethoven also suffered from some sorts of depression. Modupe Akinola and Wendy Berry Mendes of Harvard University noticed that people with signs of depression performed much better at creative tasks. The researchers suggest that such negative feedback makes people think of the unhappy experience. This bad experience, in its turn, allows subconscious creative processes to come first, and makes being-under-depression people work much harder and aspire for perfection.

A growing number of mental health experts now give their warning against doctors and drug companies who encourage people to drink medication in order to handle depression. Sadness, they say, serves an evolutionary purpose - and "if we lose it, we lose out." Dr Paul Keedwell, a psychiatrist at Cardiff University, said: "If we didn't feel sad when we were unsuccessful at achieving a certain goal, we would not stand back from that goal and be introspective and perhaps try to change our strategies. Being enthusiastic and jubilant, we'd probably go blindly on."

And in the conclusion here are five basic instincts for happiness which can be counted on our fingers: The thumb is the instinct for survival. The second finger is choice, what we choose or do not choose to do in our lives. The third finger is empowerment, giving us a feeling that we have something to contribute. The fourth finger is social, as we need to connect and communicate with others. The fifth finger is fun as we all love to get loose from time to time and release the child that is always inside each of us.



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