When it comes to books on fitness tips, you might think that the more new the book, the better. But if you look at The Anatomy of Melancholy, a book written in 1620, your thinking will change. This extraordinary book played a vital role in understanding human nature and is still remarkably modern today.
The author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, or Robert Burton, wrote the book in 1621. His understanding of human nature and conditions, despite all these years, is still practical and modern. Burton was a British monk and scholar. He summed up his work on ancient Greek philosophy and medicine in the 17th century. Two thousand years of scholarly work have been used in his book.
He understood this subject very well because he himself was suffering from sadness, sadness which creates frustration and depression and takes it away from life. But the question is, how applicable is Burton’s extraordinary research to the present day on depression and mood disorders? Scottish journalist Amy Liptrot has revisited Burton’s work and authored a book, The New Anatomy of Melancholy, which explores the same theme in the 21st century.
Amy Liptrot says the advice on human mental health given in the 1620s is still effective today. People with depression may feel that there is no reason for it, but mood or mood can often be affected by a certain tendency.
According to Burton, depression is a hereditary disease. They looked at different family and generational mental illness trends. His method was largely accurate, and today genetic transmission and the environment are considered to be major causes of depression.
Dr. Frances Rice, who helps families with depression, says: “Where one parent has severe depression, I want their child and other family members to be involved in their care. Get your own treatment for depression. However, in addition to genetic predisposition, monitoring of mood and behavioral trends can also help in the early detection of mental illness.
Burton’s research on sadness was not limited to negative tendencies but also took the reader to the dizzying extremes of his emotions. Our understanding of mood disorders has grown, and today experts believe that Burton’s mood swings were actually a symptom of his bipolar disorder. He had a keen eye for his own ever-changing mood and the circumstances that affected his mood.
Going out of the house and bathing in the river and cold water is also one of such tips. This is also one of the tips for longevity. He had something in mind that he was giving this advice. Dr. Mike Tipton, director of research at the Extreme Weather Weather Laboratory at the University of Portsmouth, says: Also your reaction gets better.
According to Burton, nature has a key role to play in eliminating the symptoms of depression.
In his book, he describes the benefits of herbs and flowers for clearing the fog that covers the mind. He says that plants like borage and helibor make sadness happy far away. Professor Simon Haskok, director of the Oxford Botanic Gardens in the UK, says that plants such as borage have been used since ancient times to treat depression, anxiety and depression. “This plant was thought to not only bring pleasure, but it was also given to Roman soldiers mixed with alcohol to give them courage during the war.”
According to Burton, the good effects of nature are not limited to plants that can be eaten. He was also convinced of the positive effects of gardening, digging and plowing on the body. British broadcaster and gardener Monte Dawn is suffering from severe depression. He cites physical contact with plants, soil care and seeing their plants flourish as a powerful antidote to depression.= “I think the best exercise is one that has a cause and a purpose. For example, going for a walk with your dog gives you exercise, a reason and a connection with nature.
Burton’s views on the positive effects of going out of the home have been formally recognized by the British public health agency NHS and are included in the treatment of mental illness.
Burton said 400 years ago that it was better to tell a friend about your problem than to keep it in your heart. Depression is a disorder that is affecting more and more people. Doing so does not benefit the patient, but it may seem impossible to get out of such a state of mind.
Dr. Rice, who spends time with entire families to understand depression, believes that recreational activities should be part of the treatment, even if they are the exact opposite of what the patient is trying to do. Burton also had something on his mind when he suggested “going to his friends”.
If you tell your doctor about your bad mood, they may prescribe you antidepressants. But did you know that doctors in countries like Denmark, Canada and the UK now offer you social remedies like art classes, museum visits and group walks? It is true that Burton did not use terms such as work-life balance or work-life balance, but instead commented on “love of learning versus excessive study.”
His theory was that spending more time on reading and writing would mean less time for activities such as exercise, proper sleep and socializing, which are essential for mental health.
Balance is essential in life. When our minds are tired and we are frustrated, study takes us out of this state, gives us a positive direction and purpose. But over-reading makes us slow and lonely and we tend to ignore other activities that are necessary for a healthy mind.
Although Burton’s words are not from the past, his work on the symptoms and treatment of depression is still useful and practical today.
Of course, his understanding of the human body was very outdated. His medical knowledge was based on the humoral theory of ancient Greece. This theory was popular until the 1850’s, but then the discovery of pathogens, bacteria and viruses, changed everything. Scientist Louis Pasteur’s germ theory came to the fore and revolutionized science in medicine.
But even so, Burton was aware, in a way, of a natural and instinctive way to get rid of our sadness. If self-awareness, swimming, nature, socializing and studying were beneficial to people 400 years ago, why can’t it be for us today?
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