During this same period of time, the use of antidepressants in the U.S. rose by 65%, as 13.9% of Americans turned to chemical solutions for their anxiety and depression. Mind you, these statistics don't even take into account the tremendous numbers of people who self-medicate through recreational substances like alcohol and marijuana.
Clearly, the antidepressants aren't doing their job, as more people than ever before feel so miserable they would rather die. While there are many medical and scholarly explanations floating out there for all of this unhappiness, there is one truly Simple Explanation and cure. Here it is:
Humans need to join with others in common purpose, working side-by-side and hand-in-hand, to build something greater than themselves for the good of all.
This principle is known as "The Great Commandment" in religious literature. I call it the Simple Golden Rule. If you are depressed, here is how this Simple Golden Rule applies to you:
You need to join with others in common purpose, working side-by-side and hand-in-hand, to build something greater than yourself for the good of all.
This principle is also known as "Harmonious Cooperation." In other words, we are social creatures that need to contribute to society in order to feel satisfied. We are designed (or evolved, if you prefer) to work with others for the greater good. When we are not able to contribute, we feel bad.
So look around you and find someone or something that needs your positive contribution and get involved. Plug yourself into the job that needs doing and do your part to help. As Wayne Dyer put it in his commentary on Verse 68 of the Tao, "See the ball, move the ball." Meaning, as you do your best to help your teammates move the ball toward the goal, you also personally benefit by doing your part. Now you feel better. Your teammates feel better. The team is better off because of your contribution.
Johann Hari's best-seller, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions, goes into all of this in detail, if you would like a deep dive into the importance of this principle and how to activate it in your own life. Hari puts it this way:
Hari lists seven types of disconnection that form the roots of depression that need reconnecting in order to restore peace and happiness: "You need to have meaningful values, not the junk values you've been pumped full of all your life, telling you happiness comes through money and buying objects. You need to have meaningful work. You need the natural world. You need to feel you are respected. You need a secure future. You need connections to all these things. You need to release any shame you might feel for having been mistreated" (p. 256).
Hari concludes, "Because you have been given the wrong explanation for why your depression and anxiety are happening, you are seeking the wrong solution." I concur.
Meditate on this and let it seep in: "I need to join with others in common purpose, working side-by-side and hand-in-hand, to build something greater than myself for the good of all."
Now find a project you can help with and do your best to contribute.
Seriously, that's the simplest way I can put it.