02 Dec 5 Tips to Be Happier Today
I know I’ve posted LOTS of lists of tips including ways to be happier.
And I know many of those lists and tips overlap in some ways.
But I’ll keep posting them because I think we all need reminders AND they’re all a bit different, coming from different perspectives, and sometimes a different word or phrase or way of thinking about things can make a big difference.
So today I’m sharing yet another list, this time with a strong influence from a surprising source … Darwin and evolutionary theory!
Check out the article by Glenn Geher from Psychology Today …
- Happiness is an evolved part of our psychology. Understanding its evolutionary roots can help us find it in our daily lives.
- During human evolutionary history, our ancestors experienced happiness when survival and reproductive benefits turned up in one’s life.
- Actions such as spending time in nature, working on a creative project, and connecting with loved ones can help boost happiness.
It’s gloomy outside of my window as I type. Everything is gray. The days are getting shorter. And at mid-life, there are all kinds of stressors! If you’re at all like me and could use a pick-me-up on this, the Monday after Thanksgiving (or, as my friend Becky Burch writes, The Monday-est of All Mondays), here are five Darwininian-inspired tips.
The evolutionary perspective on human emotions holds that our emotions, including happiness, evolved as they did to serve important evolutionary functions for our ancestors during the bulk of human evolutionary history.1 Under these conditions, largely when ancestrally modern humans lived in the African savanna in small, tight-knit groups, people experienced happiness when they encountered outcomes that would have been associated with survival and/or reproductive success. Such outcomes would have included, for instance:
- Finding a great new food source
- Creating something that is admired by others
- Natural phenomena such as a fresh water stream during drought conditions
- Sharing laughter and stories with family members
- Experiencing mutual love with a partner who is adoring, trustful, and attractive
As we experience the time of year associated with waning sunlight in North America, here are five ways to harness happiness based on this evolutionarily informed approach.2
1. Eat something healthy and yummy.
Under ancestral conditions, humans evolved to prefer foods that put fat on one’s bones, anticipating drought and famine. For this reason, we evolved to prefer foods that are high in things like carbohydrates and salt. Ironically, the modern food industry has hijacked these food preferences. And this is why places like Burger King are so good at making money but also at distributing food that is obnoxiously unhealthy.
For these reasons, eating something that is simply tasty does not always have happiness-inducing effects in the modern world. Tasty foods, such as chocolate chip cookies that are fresh from the oven, come with a price. And such foods might come with guilt from not being able to control one’s impulses.
Natural foods, which map onto the kinds of foods that our ancestors would have eaten before the advent of agriculture, can be tasty but they are also generally guilt-free. Find your favorite tasty natural treat today. It may be grapes, clementines, salmon, sweet potatoes, etc. Eat something tasty and natural today, and do it with a guilt-free smile…
… keep reading the full & original article HERE