Monday, July 11, 2011

Do You Know What Makes You Feel Good?

I read an interesting quote in Yoga Journal the other day.  I don't subscribe to this magazine, but it was in the quarter pile at the library, and I picked up an old issue.  It was a bit too intensely yogish for me, but it was interesting to read for a change of pace.

Anyway, the quote was, "Researchers have found that humans are generally pretty bad at predicting what will make them feel good over time."  The article was about how we always want more than we have, and we think having this one thing, or one life circumstance, or one person, will make us happy.  Then once we achieve a goal, it doesn't take long before we're wanting the next thing.

But I thought a lot about it in terms of our physical well being.  At any given moment, I probably would predict that sitting a little longer, sleeping a little later, eating another piece of chocolate, or having another Diet Coke would make me feel better.  And in the short term, those things do make me feel better.  But in the long term, taking a walk, going to a yoga class, eating some fresh fruit, and getting out of bed on time make me a happier person.

Why is it so hard to make those positive choices that will make us feel good in the long run? Why are our bodies and minds created so that the easy choice, the choice we instinctively want to make, is the one that's ultimately bad for us?  I'm sure it has something to do with prehistoric man needing to roam the earth fighting mastodons.  But I don't run across many mastodons in my day to day life.  Do you?

Come on human body, evolve already!

Anyway, it's been something to ponder.  Whether a choice will make me feel good in the moment, or in the long run.  What things always make you feel good in the long run?

(Lest you think I'm being too hard on Yoga Journal, take a look at this pose.  An entire eight page article in this issue is devoted to how to properly do this pose.  It's called Parivrttaikapada Sirsasana, or "revolved split-legged headstand."  No thank you.)


Shanan, The Book Addict said...

New follower. I love this blog. I would also love to lose some weight but I am so busy it sometimes feels easier to just accept how I am right now.

I actually love yoga and yoga journal (which is why my blog is called, however I wonder if it has less to do with what the human body preferring the things we see as "bad" decisions and more to do with our culture. Our culture likes quick fixes and the easy path. I am not saying this to be harsh or combative--just as my honest observation. The best decision--the one that will benefit us more over the long haul is probably not the easiest or quickest decision.

Wyatt said...

Great post and sooo true! Silly little things, like having just cleaned the house or taking a walk with the dogs or taking some nice pictures with the camera, make me really happy!

Wyatt's Mom

Regina said...

I think if we could trick our minds into enjoying the "right" choice and thinking that it was nearly as exciting as the "wrong or short term pleasure' then we would no longer need to discuss weight loss b/c it would just happen for us all.

Until then...