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Mood Enhancers: The Roots of the Blues

We're all prone to mood shifts, and it's only natural to feel blue from time to time. Occasional bouts of sadness may even help us appreciate the good times. In any case, most of us will bounce back within a short time – hours, days, or even a week or two. For example, when Peter suddenly lost his job of four years, he felt disheartened for a couple of weeks. Then he found a new and even better job, and life was good again. In a similar vein, Stacey was distraught after breaking up with her boyfriend after three years. But with the support of friends, she got over her feelings in a month or two. She was able to put the old relationship in perspective, realized that it ultimately would not have been her best choice, and was soon dating again.

It wasn't quite so simple, though, when Stacey's friend Janet broke up with her boyfriend. Janet was in tears for days on end, withdrew from friends and family, and felt like a total failure. Not only did her response seem out of proportion to the event, but she was on a downward spiral, heading toward clinical depression. In fact, Janet always had been more on the "down" side, lacking the joie de vivre of her friend Stacey.

We all fit somewhere within this range, with most of us more or less able to take adversity in stride. But what is it that makes some people less resilient than others? And are there ways to increase our ability to handle the slings and arrows that life flings at us?

We can assure you there are. We'll take a look at what happens in your brain when you're feeling blue. Then we'll cover the antidepressants commonly prescribed to counter these feelings. Finally, we'll show you how to conquer the blues safely by using a number of natural mood enhancers that can elevate your spirits without the side effects of drugs.

Mood Check
Have you checked yourself out on the Mood Check questionnaire? Where do you fit on the continuum? Are you happy and content? Clinically depressed? Or somewhere in between?

If you scored within the depressed range, you should start by consulting your physician or health-care practitioner to make sure there is no physical cause for your problems. Then, consult both a psychotherapist and a natural health practitioner. One will deal with psychological issues, while the other will help to find any underlying chemical imbalance that might be causing the problem.

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From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.

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