Changing Your Mind: An Interview with Andrew Weil, M.D.

The author of Spontaneous Happiness shows us new ways to relieve depression and foster emotional well-being

Can mindfulness training be part of the treatment of depression?
Mindfulness is a movement that started with the Dalai Lama and collaborations with neuroscientists and Buddhist monks and teachers. They’ve shown that practices like meditation and forgiveness change brain function -- and that these practices can be taught.

Mindfulness is now being integrated into cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is very effective for the treatment of depression. It is also very cost efficient and time efficient.

What is the emotional benefit of a “media holiday”?

Addictive listening to and watching news often makes people feel angry, anxious and powerless. It’s not necessary -- you can stay informed without it. You can have control over how much you let into your life. Many people tell me that just reducing that input has had major positive benefits on their emotional well-being.

Can silence improve emotional well-being?
Many people aren’t aware how powerful an influence noise is on the nervous system. It really works to cultivate silence.

What do you do every day to foster emotional well-being?
Every day, I try to get physical activity, spend time in nature and get enough good-quality sleep. I follow an anti-inflammatory diet and take fish oil. I meditate and do breathing exercises. And since writing this book, I make notes of things to be grateful for and remember. I also seek out the company of people who are positive. There is very strong evidence that depression is contagious, and so is happiness. 

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