Happiness studies may offer relief to people suffering from depression

The story is found in the UPI.com Health News section under the heading Happiness research may help depressed.

First, who is behind this research:

Kristin Layous and Joseph Chancellor, graduate students at University of California, Riverside; Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology and director of the Positive Psychology Laboratory at UC Riverside; and Dr. Lihong Wang and P. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University conducted a review of previous studies of Positive Activity Interventions.

Second, Positive Activity Interventions? What exactly are Positive Activity Interventions?:

Positive Activity Interventions are intentional activities such as performing acts of kindness, practicing optimism and counting one’s blessings taken from decades of research into how happy and unhappy people are different, the researchers say.

Such positive activity interventions can apparently have an uplifting effect on one’s level of overall happiness and contentment.

“Over the last several decades, social psychology studies of flourishing individuals who are happy, optimistic and grateful have produced a lot of new information about the benefits of positive activity interventions on mood and well-being,” Lyubomirsky says in a statement.

It is thought that the 60 % (ha ha ha) of people labeled depressed who don’t respond to pharmacology (no mention is made of their response to sugar pills) might respond better to this PAI form of treatment.

I think this is a very encouraging development as it doesn’t necessarily involve altering a person’s natural chemistry through the intervention of any drug. Unfortunately, as the article explains, psychiatrists don’t tend to peruse the journals of social scientists. This negligence makes it imperative for people outside of the psychiatric field to make these studies known to psychiatrists in the interests of promoting safer, and more effective, health care.