Book Review: Spontaneous Happiness


I just finished reading Dr. Andrew Weil's book, Spontaneous Happiness.  First off let me say this may be one of three books that I have actually finished since Morrison was born.  I love to read, but it seemed to me using time as an excuse as to why I couldn't complete a book was a good reason.  I was so wrong.  The past two weeks I have made an immense effort to cut down on time spent on my phone, especially on social media.  Low and behold I completed this book in less than a week!  Onto how this relates to the content, and why this is a great read for anyone really.

Although I have had severe bouts of depression and anxiety in my past, the last five years have really been great.  After committing to bettering my nutrition, starting to exercise consistently, and focusing on learning and growing in new ways I have really been able to feel when I may be sinking to a low point.  I can then start to take action before really getting down.  I picked up this book just to see if I could add any other techniques to my toolbox.  One of which was limiting time on the internet.  I had become aware that my mindless scrolling through Morrison's nap time was a HUGE time suck, along with any other chance I got to take a minute to myself.  I was also feeling like such a failure afterwards, knowing that I could have accomplished something with that time.  After reading Dr. Weil's words I committed to myself to only check social media twice a day, strictly to post and check comments.  No scrolling.  Not only was I able to finish an entire book, but my mind has felt so much more at ease over the last week, and I have been sleeping so much better.  

The other two items discussed that I plan on committing to next are daily meditation and practiced breathing.  Meditation is such a struggle for me.  I have tried so many apps and techniques, but always fall off the routine.  Next week I will start again, in hopes that I can keep the pattern.  When I am meditating daily, I truly am more calm and less likely to lose my cool with Mo (or lately our dog!)  Dr Weil also gives a great breathing method that he recommends doing twice a day for 4 breaths each time.  He calls it the 4-7-8 method in which you breath in for 4 counts, hold for 7, and exhale for 8 all while keeping the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth.  He uses this to calm down in stressful situations as well.

This book is full of studies and research on depression and anxiety, as well as the history and surprising tests that have been done on common anti-depressants.  He gives many lifestyle tweaks to help with depression and unhappiness, as well as his full eight week plan towards contentment.  I love him, and his functional approach to well being.  If you are looking for a good read on improving your lifestyle, or to learn more about happiness check it out.