Function and Happiness

At Highland Springs Specialty Clinic, our mission is to help people find happiness again.  That’s more than a nice phrase.  It’s a statement about how the human mind functions when working properly.  It’s a declaration of how our emotional brain exerts a powerful influence on our lives every day.  It’s a testimony of the power our brains have to change.  It’s an assertion that mental health is a desirable and maintainable goal of overall body fitness.


Our clients tell us about finding happiness again with words like, “Thank you for giving me my life back…I find joy in painting again…you gave me my daughter back…you saved my life…I enjoy traveling again…my wife and I have never had a better relationship…I can’t thank you enough for helping me get sober.”  What is the story behind these stories?  How did these people find happiness again?


For thousands of years our ancestors thought emotions came from body organs such as the heart, intestines, or spleen.  Who can blame them for those conclusions?  After all, don’t you feel most emotions in your chest and stomach?  Modern medical knowledge helps us understand that emotions come from our brains, but we feel them elsewhere.  Knowing that is the first step in the journey of mental health because it tells you where to direct healing treatment-the brain.


Let that sink in for a moment.  If you’re not feeling happy, how do you fix that?  You must direct the right treatment to the appropriate part of the brain.  Does it make sense that eating an entire package of cookies to cope with an emotion like stress is healing your brain?  Does it sound rational to conclude that abusing alcohol or drugs is healthy for your brain to experience happiness?  Is it logical to think that killing yourself is a sign that your brain is properly solving painful emotional problems?  No.  None of those conclusions make sense.  Proper treatment at Highland Springs Specialty Clinic is a better plan.


Your brain is designed to experience a full range of emotions.  That’s an important part of living a rich and fulfilled life.  We can feel very happy for a while when good things happen like marriages, graduations, promotions, and the birth of children.  We can also feel very down and depressed when bad things happen like funerals, divorces, loss of work, or tension in important relationships.  There is nothing wrong with any of that.  Its normal.  We feel those emotional extremes sometimes when appropriate, but should spend most our time in the emotional middle.


Your brain will help keep your emotions on an even keel.  It does that by matching emotions with behaviors that change your emotions.  For example, if you feel down, you’ll naturally gravitate towards activities or thoughts that make you feel better.  It’s different for each person.  Maybe you feel better by jogging, reading a good book, or thinking positively.  If you feel too up or excited for a while, you’ll naturally want to sit down, relax, or sleep.  Not so helpful behaviors include stress eating, substance abuse, shopping to feel better, pornography, self-harm, or another unhealthy relationship.


One of the most unhelpful behaviors is to not seek help when you know there’s a problem.  Nationally, about half of people that need help don’t make the time to get help.  Good therapy will use your brain to help you understand emotional difficulties, and choose helpful behaviors to find happiness again.  Sometimes medications may be necessary to help your brain work properly so you can make therapy a productive and helpful experience.  Don’t wait any longer. Please reach out if you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or your life is being negatively impacted by addictive behaviors. We’re here to help you find happiness again.[/vc_column_text]

Dr. Todd Thatcher, Chief Medical Officer of Highland Springs Health Clinic

Dr. Todd Thatcher, Chief Medical Officer


AUTHOR: Dr. Todd Thatcher
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