Happiness Is A Skill
You have to learn how to live a happy life because we are not programmed for happiness. We are programmed for survival, not today, but 50,000 years ago. Our environment has changed radically, but not our bodies. Our biologically driven urges feel natural, normal and sometimes irresistible but that does not necessarily mean that it is in our best interest to follow them.
We are often driven to act in very destructive ways.
We like fatty, salty and sweet foods (yum). We need a little fat, salt and sweetness to survive. When our bodies were designed these foods were rarities that required a great deal of effort to acquire. Nowadays they are abundantly available with just a short walk, drive or a click. The result is that we are facing a health crisis brought on by obesity.
We naturally crave rest and inactivity because back in the dawn of humanity it was hardly ever possible to relax. We are paying for our inactive life styles physically and psychologically. Exercise is a natural anti depressant that is free and available without a prescription.
We are naturally inclined to be fearful and suspicious. The ancestors that were relaxed and mellow got eaten by the lion that was stalking the campfire. The ones that were anxiously scanning the environment, got away in time. Over thousands of generations, it means that we are all inclined towards anxiety. Anxiety is not dangerous, but it is extremely unpleasant because it undermines enjoyment and relaxation.
Anger is a normal. It is energy. It is basically self protective, but it quickly and effortlessly can become aggressive when we allow ourselves to be vengeful, warlike and hostile. This helped our ancestors win disputes and tribal wars. In the modern day it causes relationship break ups, family feuds and war fare. It feels un natural to resolve disputes in a peaceful way. How ever learning to do so leads to a much more satisfying life with friends and family.
Gratitude, cultivating loving relationships, being present and living according to your values lead to a happy satisfying life. What gets in your way of developing these?
We crave instant pleasure and excitement. But long term satisfaction satisfaction is ultimately more satisfying, albeit boring. How do we balance these?
We are evolutionarily programmed in two opposite directions. 1) To be extremely selfish. 2) To be capable of extreme altruism. Both were needed for the survival of our species. #1 for survival of the individual and #2 for survival of the tribe (especially babies and children). This creates a lot of confusion and conflict especially in relationships. How do we balance these opposite urges?
An essential skill to building a good life is knowing how and when you are being driven. Then you can step and assess: is this leading me in a positive direction? or is this creating chaos and conflicts?
It is very possible to learn how to create a life that is conducive to happiness and satisfaction. It requires effort, awareness and honesty with ones self.