MOOSIC, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Depression is a serious problem in the U.S. It affects more than 17 million adults.
We all have a so-called ‘off’ day now and then when we’re not feeling our happiest. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller spoke with an expert about mental happiness and what to do to help achieve it.
“You can be happy in any place virtually and you can be unhappy in any place. I think many times it’s often internal to us.” Psychiatrist Matthew Berger, MD says that ‘internal’ is a result of how we cope with the external such as economics or even the weather. “I think to some degree, choosing to be happy can be part of the process,” he said.
The common denominator many of us share that can thwart our happiness is stress. It can take a mental toll if you let it. Dr. Berger said, “Stress is something the world puts on you. Anxiety is what you do with it.”
One key to improving your happiness may be changing your perspective and looking at the bigger picture. “Most of us are going to go home to a roof over our head and food on the table and if we get sick we can get an antibiotic and it will fix it.” By focusing too much on stress, Dr. Berger said it can take more than a mental toll. “One of the things that we’ve learned is chronic stress causes an increase in inflammation, general inflammation. And inflammation leads to illness.”
It can also trigger everything from heart palpitations and sweating to poor eating habits and poor sleep. All can play a significant role in your overall health. Dr. Berger recommends taking time to allow yourself to recharge. “Diet, exercise, taking care of yourself. Making sure you’re not at work 24/7. I hate to say it but don’t live on the news 24/7.”
These are all simple steps which may help improve your level of happiness. Dr. Berger says a sure sign your unhappiness may require medical attention is when it begins to interfere with function. He recommends getting help if you’re alienating loved ones because you’re too irritable or if you experience unexplained illness, weight loss or even hair loss.
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