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.)
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