“Real happiness, is simply being content with what you have.”
Dr Yusuf Merchant is a medical practitioner who has been working for the rehabilitation of people with mental health issues like substance abuse and depression for over thirty-five years. He is the president of the Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation & Research Centre (DAIRRC) which has a success rate of 85 per cent. His unique treatment has been successful for patients from India, the UK, the US, Belgium, Mexico, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Maldives. He is an affiliate member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004. Recently he launched a book titled ‘Happyness’. My Powai recently met up with him and chatted about the problems of drug menace, depression, anxiety, etc, his method of treatment and also about the book. Excerpts:
What triggered you to write this book?
A desire to share my happiness. In the course of my life, which has had its fair share of strife and turmoil, I have realized and created certain life lessons, principles and fundamentals that have helped, nourished and sustained me through difficult times. These fundas, in turn have helped many addicts, depressed people and their families to resurrect their lives and attain happiness. This book is my attempt to reach out beyond my circle of influence and try to bring happiness and joy to the common man.
What is the message you have tried to convey through the book?
Everyone can be happy. Belief is everything. Happiness is a choice, a process and not an outcome. Happiness can be derived through having a good value system, along with belief, gratitude, imagination, visualisation, love and awareness, which are some of the other keys to experience a happy life.
Who do you think will benefit by the book?
Anyone, above the age of 15 years, who reads this book, will benefit from it. It has something in it for everyone.
How and where do you conduct your rehab programs?
In reality, my therapy programs are conducted in the minds and hearts of my patients. They differ from patient to patient. However, if you insist on a geographical location, in the initial years, I operated from my own home, and the homes of my patients. For the last 25 years, I have been operating mainly from my centre at Merchantwadi, Kushivalli, Kalyan, and my office at Fort, Mumbai.
How serious is the depression, drugs and anxiety problem?
Research reports by the U.N. suggest that one in every four adults nowadays is unhappy due to mental issues relating to depression and anxiety. Alcoholism, substance abuse, and other destructive addictive patterns are symptomatic outcomes of deeply ingrained unhappiness, dissatisfaction and despair. It is all a problem of conditioning.
Real happiness, is simply being content with what you have.
Conditioning, on the other hand, tells you, what it is you need, to become happy.
So one keeps adding items and conditions to a list, in the hope that one will become happy on attaining them. But it never happens. Instead one gets entangled in the vicious cycle of want/greed and despair.
The problem of unhappiness, depression and anxiety is prevalent in all age groups. I have children as young as 13 years, being brought to me for treatment of depression and other behavioural disorders.
Would you be interested in visiting any school in Powai for a talk on depression, drugs and anxiety?
Most certainly, but you will need to work out the logistics with Yasmeen.
What is your advice to the readers of My Powai?
All unhappiness is connected with fear. Just be brave, and do what you want to do, as long as it is legal, you do not hurt anyone in the bargain, and you are OK with the consequences, just do it. Happiness is a process. It increases when you share it.
The best way to be happy, is to help someone in your reality to be happy. Doing so will increase your joy, manifold.
Some keys to happiness:
Be in a constant state of gratitude. A frequency of gratitude will only receive signals of gratitude. No matter what the situation, there is always something to be grateful for. One just needs to look.
Get a Goal. Every goal comes with its own set of obstacles. Happiness lies in the overcoming of those obstacles, and reaching your goal. The more difficult the challenge, the more euphoric will be your joy on accomplishing it.
Maintain a healthy body. A healthy body is a temple, in which resides a healthy mind. A healthy mind will choose to be happy in all situations.
Happiness is intrinsic. It does not depend on material possessions. Observe any baby. It is simply happy by nature. We are all born happy. As we grow older, we start making choices that ultimately make us unhappy.
Positive Visualizations actually work! Anything is possible. If you can positively visualise your intentions in detail and feel as if the event you’re looking forward to has already happened, it will happen. If you can be at the end point now and then hold your attention on to your intentions, it will happen.
The above and much more is discussed at length in my book, “Happyness - Life lessons from a Creative Addict”, which is a unique approach towards handling Life’s challenges, and emerging a winner. It addresses the problem of Depression in an extremely innovative manner. This book offers forty-two different ways to live a peaceful and fulfilling life, and compels one to ask oneself the question “Why be Depressed when you can make a choice to be Happy?”
- Dr. Yusuf Merchant