Here's an unusual book that may help lots and lots of people.
Dr. Earl Henslin's This is Your Brain on Joy is a study of the neurological roots of human emotion. But Henslin offers much more than popular brain science. His book is a comprehensive and practical guide to mental health, rooted firmly in a Christian worldview.
Henslin's subject is how to balance one's mood by caring for one's body (nutrition and exercise) and one's brain (environment, reading, movies, prayer etc.).
Refreshingly, Henslin also acknowledges the beneficial and sometimes indispensable role that medication can play in treating mood or brain disorders. This is a welcome corrective to the rare but annoying Christians who insist that medication is always a sign of spiritual failure. If you have ever known and loved someone with a chemical imbalance, you are already well aware that discouraging the use of medication can be dangerous.
Henslin's research using brain imaging to detect emotional overactivity is fascinating. I appreciate the way he divides his book into sections for each kind of emotional overactivity, for example: the deep limbic system is the source of depression, the basal ganglia holds anxieties and phobias, and the temporal lobes are the seat of anger and impulsivity problems.
He also discusses foods that help balance emotions, other natural supplements, music, exercise, and the role of scripture and prayer.
This is a humane and compassionate work that will help us understand that we do not have to be passive victims of our emotional lives. Instead, we can take a proactive approach through lifestyle, spiritual exercise, and/or medication to liberate us from destructive brain chemistry.
I recommend this book very highly. In our unhealthy culture, we need to study how to live a healthier life. This may be the most important non-fiction book I've read in several years.