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Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Being

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Overview

A paradigm-shifting guide to peak emotional wellness.

In SPONTANEOUS HAPPINESS, Dr. Andrew Weil redefines the notion of happiness and demonstrates the limitations of the biomedical model of mental health. He presents a vast, scientifically proven array of integrative treatment strategies for low mood and depression, drawing on techniques from Ayurveda, Buddhism, acupuncture, psychotherapy, mindfulness training, and much more. Dr. Weil offers advice on lifestyle, behavior, and ...

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Overview

A paradigm-shifting guide to peak emotional wellness.

In SPONTANEOUS HAPPINESS, Dr. Andrew Weil redefines the notion of happiness and demonstrates the limitations of the biomedical model of mental health. He presents a vast, scientifically proven array of integrative treatment strategies for low mood and depression, drawing on techniques from Ayurveda, Buddhism, acupuncture, psychotherapy, mindfulness training, and much more. Dr. Weil offers advice on lifestyle, behavior, and dietary changes, and helps readers assess their own emotional well-being and build personalized step-by-step plans to manage their moods. Whether suffering from mild to moderate depression, or simply seeking greater contentment, readers can use Dr. Weil's science-based integrative approach to achieve their goals.

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Editorial Reviews

iVillage
"Like all of his books, Spontaneous Happiness is a refreshing combination of clarity, science and practical wisdom. But it's also warm and, indeed, personal: Dr. Weil includes not only anecdotes from people who've written to him over the years, but also his own experience in battling mild depression."
Yahoo! Voices
"If you use this book as a tool to help you change your life, you might be surprised by what it can do for you."
Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Spontaneous Happiness spells out some amazing guidelines on becoming a healthy individual."
From the Publisher
"A comprehensive roadmap for the prized path to true happiness...Weil provides sensible, accessible advice...Immensely beneficial information for those seeking a self-galvanized life lift."—Kirkus Reviews

"Weil's program aims for 'positive emotionality'-a far better destination than the roller-coaster ride between bliss and despair. This is more than a New Age prescription for contentment. Weil's revelations and insights from his own lifelong battle with depression lift this guide from a hip and clinical 'how to' to a generous and heartfelt 'here's how.'"—Publishers Weekly

"If you use this book as a tool to help you change your life, you might be surprised by what it can do for you."—Yahoo! Voices

"Spontaneous Happiness spells out some amazing guidelines on becoming a healthy individual."—Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Like all of his books, Spontaneous Happiness is a refreshing combination of clarity, science and practical wisdom. But it's also warm and, indeed, personal: Dr. Weil includes not only anecdotes from people who've written to him over the years, but also his own experience in battling mild depression."—iVillage

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316129428
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Pages: 281
  • Sales rank: 102,466
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Weil, MD, is the founder and program director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, and others.

Biography

Since the early ‘70s, Andrew Weil has been bucking conventional wisdom about healthy living.

Weil began his career with a bang -- or maybe just a puff -- in The Natural Mind, a book containing ideas that remain controversial today. Most famously, it endorsed the idea of "stoned thinking" (induced not only by drugs but also by hypnosis, meditation, etc.) and identified a bias in traditional studies about mind-altering drugs. The book was fortified by Weil's own experience studying and taking various psychotropic agents, and while it suggested that non-chemical experiences were healthier, it also bore open criticism of American drug policy. Weil continued his exploration of altered mental states with The Marriage of the Sun and Moon and From Chocolate to Morphine (coauthored with Winifred Rosen).

In his next three titles -- Health and Healing, Natural Health, Natural Medicine, and Spontaneous Healing -- Weil turned to illness and alternative therapies, educating readers on then relatively unknown options such as homeopathy, herbal medicine, cranial therapy and other unconventional approaches. The fact that Weil was a Harvard-trained doctor lent his writings credibility and popularity with an ever-widening readership, even as he earned a somewhat heretical status in the world of mainstream medicine.

Some of Weil's views might rile practitioners of traditional medicine -- he has suggested that certain conventional treatments do more harm than good -- but Weil has never advocated abandonment of the medical establishment. Rather, he promotes integrative medicine: an approach to health that embraces nontraditional healing methods and takes the mind and spirit into account when assessing and treating problems. In response to Dr. Arthur Relman's assault in the New Republic, charging that assertions in Weil's books that lacked scientific backing, Weil responded on his web site, "If I had dismissed the successes I saw with [cranial therapy, for example] as ‘anecdotes,' we would not be in a position to take the next step and gather the data that Dr. Relman wants to see. It is important to note that paradigm shifts, in medicine as in other fields, are not quiet affairs. They occasion much screaming and kicking." (To both of the doctors' credits, they engaged in a public debate at the University of Arizona following Relman's much-discussed critique, minus the screaming and kicking.) Whatever the future holds for certain alternative approaches, it is a testament both to Weil's popularity and the growing interest in his ideas that studies of such practices have begun to win funding and attention.

Eight Weeks to Optimum Health was the most complete synthesis yet of Weil's ideas about holistic health and also helped cement his status as a health guru. Unlike most "diets" that focused mostly on meal plans and magical eating formulas, Weil's program is about a balance of nutrients, herbs, exercise, and mental salves such as turning off the news or keeping fresh flowers around. In particular, Weil became a well known expert on the growing field of herbal supplements.

Recently, Weil teamed with Rosie Daley -- Oprah's former personal chef – to create The Healthy Kitchen. The book operates on a bit of push-and-pull between Daley and Weil, with "Andy" offering substitute ingredients to some of Rosie's recipes. As with Weil's other tomes, The Healthy Kitchen does not operate on draconian edicts, offering options for individuals instead.

Good To Know

Weil is director and founder of the Program in Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. Also, his Polaris Foundation advances the cause of integrative medicine through public policy, education, and research.

Weil's parents owned a millinery store in Philadelphia, and his mother fostered his interest in botany. "When you grow up in a row house, there's very limited opportunity to grow stuff, but my mother knew some things from her mother, who was the one with the real green thumb," he told My Generation magazine. "And she did introduce me to growing bulbs in the house, and we had a little plot of ground to garden. That stuff fascinated me. And I always dreamed about the day when I could have enough space to do it."

Weil's undergraduate focus was ethnobotany, which focuses on the uses of certain plants by various cultures and ethnicities. His thesis title: "The Use of Nutmeg as a Psychotropic Agent." Under a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs, Weil traveled from 1971-75 throughout Central and South America to investigate cultural psychotropics and healing. Many of his findings from this time are collected in The Marriage of the Sun and Moon.

Weil lives in Arizona "by pure chance," he told HealthWorld Online. His car broke down in the mid-1970s, and it took so long to fix that he ended up staying in Tucson.

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    1. Hometown:
      Tucson, Arizona
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 8, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Biology, Harvard University, 1964; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1968
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Part 1 Theory 13

1 What Is Emotional Well-Being? 15

2 An Epidemic of Depression 25

3 The Need for a New Approach to Mental Health 45

4 Integrating Eastern and Western Psychology 61

Part 2 Practice 71

5 Optimizing Emotional Well-Being by Caring for the Body 73

6 Optimizing Emotional Well-Being by Retraining and Caring for the Mind 127

7 Secular Spirituality and Emotional Well-Being 167

Part 3 Putting it all Together 195

8 An 8-Week Program for Optimum Emotional Well-Being 197

Acknowledgments 223

Appendix A The Anti-Inflammatory Diet 225

Appendix B Suggested Reading, Resources, and Supplies 231

Notes 239

Index 273

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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(24)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Depression reconsidered:

    Anyone seriously interested in this topic should read Robert Whitaker's 2010 book "Anatomy of an epidemic." After that, Weil provides the multiple strategies useful for becoming positively engaged with living.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2011

    Very well written

    I read it but need to read it again since it's a bit drawn out, however everything the author recommends is workable, IF one follows his suggestion.
    Unfortunately it's very hard to control ones thoughts in real life, but one has to work on it to succeed. I am still working on controlling my off and on depression with the help of this book.
    I highly recommend it to anyone who wants peace in their life.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    Not Worth Your Time

    This book was touted very highly as something new and better than the average self help book. In fact, it is just that. I should have learned long ago that when an author writes more than one self help book, the ones past the first are just more of the same.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Practical, doable solutions for feeling better

    For many years I have suffered from mild to moderate depression. I found the scientifically based information in this book to be extremely helpful. Dr Weil provides many ideas based in sound research for feeling better. I started with two of the easiest; increased Omega 3 and increased moderate physical activity. Over the course of several months, I have been able to incorporate additional useful suggestions. This book is not a meant to be a magic pill, but rather a set of useful tools that can be tailored by an individual based on what works for them.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Fantastic

    I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to come across this book. It captured my attention from the start and I picked it up everyday to read after (and still use it for reference often).

    I love how to-the-point he is about depression in general. I've read many sources about depression, saying you can ban it forever- but this book is different, and teaches you depression happens, and how to fight it and overcome it.

    The tips and advice, as well as the plans created are wonderful and ones I do my best to follow everyday. I've never dealt with major depression, but even when the slightest amount of stress or sadness shows up, I've used his methods and have dramatically noticed a difference in my everyday mood. I even often find myself quoting this book to others. I can't recommend it enough.

    This book has changed many little things in my life and I'm happier because of it. You don't have to be dealing with major depression to pick this up and read it- it's for everybody and I highly encourage you to read it and try it out.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Extremely helpful

    I've read a few things Dr. Weil has written and seen him interviewed on television. He is very knowledgeable and sensible in every health topic he responds to. Spontaneous Happiness has been most enlightening to me since I associate with people who have "problems being happy" for one reason or another...it helpful for me to know what they are going through mentally and try to be kind and understanding. I recommend this book to everyone.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Must read

    .

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    This book deconstructs the possible causes of depression in laym

    This book deconstructs the possible causes of depression in layman terms and provides possible tools for  modifying them.  Dr. Weil makes you feel comfortable as he shares some his own personal experiences and is never preachy as he  explains possible solutions.  For once I feel like I understand what's going on with my moodiness and will no longer judge myself or feel stuck .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    I want a job!!!!!

    ~missy

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  • Posted April 7, 2013

    Am so excited to get and read this book...

    Am so excited to get and read this book...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Yrina to Willow

    I got lockd out

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    Bye

    I have a deseese that makes you just a pile of skin. Bones erode. Bye.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Suneagle

    Thanks ill have to tell my parents that. Gtg bye

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Turtlestar

    Ok

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Marvin to kayla

    Go to wolf result 1

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Will this give me insight

    ?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Excellent information

    Inspiring! Can't wait to read more!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Chey

    Kk sexy stuff

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

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