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The Chemistry of Joy: A Three-Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  460 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
The classic book that New York Times bestselling author Dr. Larry Dossey called “a valuable guide for anyone wishing to find greater exuberance and fulfillment in their life,” The Chemistry of Joy offers a unique blend of Western science and Eastern philosophy to show you how to treat depression more naturally and effectively, and what you can do TODAY to create a happier, ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Touchstone (first published 2005)
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May 01, 2015 Melody rated it really liked it
I've never read a book about depression like this. It's a blend of the typical stuff you're told on every blog and in every news article - sleep well, exercise, stop eating junk. The second half of the book is all about what type of depressed person you are and the things you can do to alleviate the pain. I like that there is acknowledgement of the various types of depression and how people respond to depression in a variety of ways. The way the author used his patients to tell stories was reall ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book for anyone who copes with depression, esp. chronic depression, or who lives with a loved one who suffers from depression. Dr. Henry Emmons is a psychiatrist who combines Western medicine with nutrition, fitness and lifestyle choices and Eastern health philosophies. He explains how depression meds work and why they do not work for everyone, although he is quick to say many of his patients have success with meds and that readers should not stop taking medication without a doc ...more
Erin Goettsch
Mar 03, 2015 Erin Goettsch rated it liked it
Some parts of this make all the sense in the world: treating patients' overall wellness, as a whole person, instead of reducing them to a diagnosis, is so great. There should be more books about this.

But this particular book is problematic in a handful of ways. Primarily, the tone is condescending and edges dangerously close to blaming patients for causing their own depression by having poor overall health (while seeming blind to the idea that it's actually the inverse of that cause/effect in ma
Mimi Somsanith
Aug 14, 2009 Mimi Somsanith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: few-good-reads
As the Intuition book describes the WHAT, this book explains the HOW to maintain a healthy self. The first section covers Western medicine such as noting your deficiencies in the “happy” chemical, the “energy” chemical, and/or the “motivation” chemical and how to rebalance according to your individual needs. Of course, the author has scientific terms for these chemicals. The second section illustrates your persona as the air, fiery, or earth type. We all have some combination but there is one pr ...more
Apr 24, 2010 Elisabeth rated it it was amazing
This book has been recommended to me by almost every professor I've had in my graduate program, as well as an Ayurvedic practitioner I interviewed for a research project. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it - it is excellent. Dr. Emmons focuses on depression and how to best cope with it and make yourself a "crucible for joy," with recommendations for diet, vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements, as well as ways to treat depression from Ayurvedic and Buddhist perspectives. It's a ver ...more
May 20, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Julie by: Jessica Griffith, Elisabeth
I've just ordered a copy of this for my home library - it will be a reference I return to again and again. Thank you, Jessica and Elisabeth, for an excellent recommendation!

Pitta with a touch of Vata, Anger type who has experienced anxious and sluggish depression and healed without prescription medication, I felt the message of every chapter in this book. I have so much work ahead of me, but also a good foundation to continue inner growth and healing.

I've been swallowing a TBL/day of cod liver
Sharon Miller
May 06, 2015 Sharon Miller rated it really liked it
Practical and accessible, a very useful and helpful book.
May 06, 2014 Ruby rated it it was amazing
WOW. What a brilliant read, straddling the best of modern medicine and ancient wisdom on well being. I have just finished reading the workbook, and now I intend to go through all the exercises.

A lot of the nutritional and lifestyle changes are things I am doing already and I can vouch for their effectiveness, my mental health is really great just now, despite some pretty stressful life issues that have knocked me for a six in the past. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to actively
Dec 28, 2007 Heather rated it it was amazing
I found this book helpful. It's not that I didn't know that I needed exercise, spirituality, & nutrition, but this book looks at depression from a western, ayurvedic/eastern & buddhist ways. I learned a lot about why I react to depression the way I do & how I can counteract.

I've already started some of his suggestions as I was reading it.

I found this book so useful, I bought a copy & plan to loan it to some friends who could use it.
Heid E.
Oct 04, 2007 Heid E. rated it really liked it
Don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of drugs, but this book has all the alternative stuff in one place, gives nice little boxes with how many and which B vitamins we all need (as well as a bunch of other odd oils and supplements to try for sleep and other good brain stuff) and its tone is no-nonsense and not too over-the-top positive for the typically skeptical low-serotonin type like myself. Oh, come on, read it!
Patrícia Gonçalves
The chemistry of joy is not the type of book I usually read, which is exactly what drove me to it. Described as a self-help book, Henry Emmons brings us a pragmatic and rational approach to depression and energy. Reading this, at first, was a very fun experience, as the language is simple as are the recommendations of the author. I discovered I'm a fire type and I have a bit of earth type (being a Pokemon fan this was a cool approach), soon into the book I got bored. There are too many recommend ...more
May 21, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chris by: Elisabeth
I know this is a resource I will go back to time and again. An excellent and comprehensive look at East/West remedies for depression. Emmons wasn't preachy and didn't lean one way or another. Great resource lists included as well.
May 27, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone who has ever been depressed or known someone who is depressed.
Nov 27, 2013 Tessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, eastern
Had this book for a while, but was overwhelmed with so much "life stuff", that I couldn't take a moment to try and make it better (yeah, yeah I know). Recently had a very odd experience where I had the opportunity to travel WITHOUT children and NOT to some work/industry thing that had me stressed out, so I took my travel time (including delayed flight time) to really crank through this book.

Turns out, not taking the moments to make sure I'm ok and all better so everyone around me can be taken ca
Nov 12, 2009 Hope rated it liked it
This book has some very good information. The explanations of brain chemistry are clear without being too oversimplified. I don't know enough about Ayerveda to have a feel for the accuracy of that section but it, too, was clear and interesting. The section on Buddhism seemed grossly oversimplified, but given that it's more aimed an an audience that has no familiarity with it, that's probably a wise choice. The frequent use of example cases helps make the information and suggestions very real and ...more
Peter Szerzo
Jul 16, 2014 Peter Szerzo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive, thorough and easy to follow. Having read the book, I know exactly what I need to do to maintain good mental health and emotional balance, and I often come back to this book for reassurance and motivation.

The writing style becomes marketing-style here and there, which can be somewhat annoying.
Jul 14, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Fascinating book that delves into depression from a holistic perspective with medications as a supplement. As a reader of anything I can find on depression, much of the material was not new, just written in Emmon's words. I learned the most from the chapter on the chemistry of the brain. A powerful affirmation of how amazing the human body is.
Sara floerke
Apr 16, 2014 Sara floerke rated it really liked it
Helpful book. This book adopts several perspectives on personality type, coping mechanisms, depression. There was actually some new info in here, stuff that was really helpful and insightful. This would be one to buy and keep on the shelf so I could access the info. I didn't agree with everything, but found the author respectful and found tools I could use even if I don't agree with his underlying foundations.
Jun 17, 2014 Mare rated it really liked it
Well written and informative. Will help to give new meaning to your view on depression. I appreciate that Henry admits to the fact that medication is not the first route to curing depression and that there are different kinds of depression. I believe we have all been touched by some type of depression and it's wise to be educated on the subject.

In today's fast paced society we've lost the art of truly taking care of ourselves as a whole. I feel more centered after reading Henry's book. I feel m
Oct 12, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A holistic approach to treating depression problems, concentrating on diet, exercise and mindfulness. I found this to be a practical approach to modenr life...for anyone.
Sep 05, 2015 Rob rated it it was amazing
Great holistic approach. Dr Emmons write in a balanced way that is easy for the layman to read as well as providing good technical information
C.E. G
Jul 29, 2014 C.E. G rated it liked it
Solid resource. I'd rather turn elsewhere for the Buddhism 101, but the nutrition and personality type sections were helfpul.
Sep 12, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
Loved this book. It gave me practical advise for short-term and long-term plans that can help me balance my brain chemistry.
Nov 30, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Thanks for the recommendation, Sarah. This was a good read for me.
Jul 19, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone working in the mental health field.
Sep 21, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
Dr. Emmons perspective on not only depression, but the greater state of our lifestyles these days felt right on to me. I really appreciate his merging of a physical perspective with the emotional and spiritual aspects of self. I have heard him speak and have incorporated his recommendations into my own life noting an increase in my own ability to manage stress and maintain a positive outlook. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but particularly those who may be struggling with depressi ...more
Chris Pederson
Apr 12, 2016 Chris Pederson rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
got this book as part of a resiliance class... enjoyed the class but this book was too woo-woo for me. between the ayurveda personality types and the continual recommendations of mega doses of supplements (which can actually be harmful)... ugh.. dislike!
Oct 28, 2011 LemontreeLime rated it really liked it
This was really well thought out, well written, and damn - he has excellent ideas. He has a way of teaching his paitents how to deal with depression with nutrition/exercise/&meds when necessary, then with temperament/lifestyle/ayurvedic tweeking, and then landing on spirituality as viewed through buddhist emotional types (hard to explain, you just have to read it, and no worries it is not limited to any one religion, its more a way to see how you worry and deal with stress). I have to admit ...more
Jailene Campos
Jun 14, 2014 Jailene Campos rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2010 ABleu added it
I skimmed through this book in 2 or 3 sittings highlighting important information about vitamins, minerals, exercise, etc. I had hard time getting into the second two sections about Buddhist personality and Indian body type. While I was open to it, the information just didn't seem to correspond me.

None the less, the invaluable information found in the first section will be key to getting through those rough spells.
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“Surely joy is the condition of life. —HENRY DAVID THOREAU” 0 likes
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