States of mind

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CarolA
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 09:30 pm
Having a family member who suffers bouts of quite severe depression has started me thinking about our states of mind.
Is what we call "normal" really overly optimistic, i.e. are humans hardwired to feel motivated, happy and relaxed when they might not have any logical reason for really being that way? I can see obvious evolutionary advantages here - if we worried about all the things that might happen to us we would become so miserable that we would hardly be able to function (and this is of course very similar to the behaviour of someone deeply depressed).
But if this is the case, and it seems that a lot of our state of mind depends on the right balance of hormones and brain function, how can we really make a judgement about a right way of thinking or "happiness"?
There is probably no right or wrong answer to this, but I would be interested to get some opinions.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 10:14 pm
@CarolA,
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 13 Oct, 2008 11:55 pm
@CarolA,
CarolA;27737 wrote:
Having a family member who suffers bouts of quite severe depression has started me thinking about our states of mind.


You have my sympathy. Several people I am close to suffer from clinical/acute depression. It is very difficult to see happening to someone you care about. Do you have people who tell you "Oh, it's just in their head! Tell 'em to cheer up and get over it." Don't you just want to smack those people in their head? I know I do. As if something that is "just in your head" is any less painful. It's infuriating.

You've asked some interesting questions. I have some thoughts (especially about worrying about every little thing and its effect and causes) that I might try to post later, but it's late here and I need to shut down the computer soon.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 04:46 am
@CarolA,
Hey Carol, Good issue...

CarolA wrote:
... Is what we call "normal" really overly optimistic, i.e. are humans hardwired to feel motivated, happy and relaxed when they might not have any logical reason for really being that way?


Yea I think so. Although there's nothing wrong with aspiring/struggling for levels of happiness, I don't believe being "happy" is a destination we'll ever truly achieve. I believe that happiness lies in a combination of experiences - the small successes upon a line towards happiness (not the least of which are the various satisfactions one achieves when working towards some goal (read: "the journey")).

But there's another tidbit I'd like to drop here, from this one man's perspective, and that is to be wary of conventional notions of what "happiness" is. If we're not careful, one develops over time, inculcated notions of what being happy is supposed to be. Unless you live in a third world country (or other place that so carefully filters everthing transmitted), its likely that you're subject to an extreme amount of advertising - each and every one proporting to be "that thing" we need to be happy. The only way to combat this is to be aware, trying to keep focused on those things that give what one truly wants (for me it's my marraige, family, home, friends, hobbies, my reading).

But yea, I believe you're right: What we generally carry as an aspiration towards happiness is - quite likely - unrealistic. That's not to say we should accept misery, but understanding the constant struggle towards-nature of humanity (as I believe it to be) is essential to keep this tempered.

CarolA wrote:
But if this is the case, and it seems that a lot of our state of mind depends on the right balance of hormones and brain function, how can we really make a judgement about a right way of thinking or "happiness"?


.... another excellent point. I believe that most folks don't quite understand the impact physiological issues have on the state of mind; from the most aberant psychosis to the tummy ache. "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you..." - A Chrimas Carol, ****ens

Thanks for soliciting input - I hope I've not been too far off here.

Thank you.
 
William
 
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 08:48 am
@CarolA,
CarolA wrote:
Having a family member who suffers bouts of quite severe depression has started me thinking about our states of mind.
Is what we call "normal" really overly optimistic, i.e. are humans hardwired to feel motivated, happy and relaxed when they might not have any logical reason for really being that way? I can see obvious evolutionary advantages here - if we worried about all the things that might happen to us we would become so miserable that we would hardly be able to function (and this is of course very similar to the behaviour of someone deeply depressed).
But if this is the case, and it seems that a lot of our state of mind depends on the right balance of hormones and brain function, how can we really make a judgement about a right way of thinking or "happiness"?
There is probably no right or wrong answer to this, but I would be interested to get some opinions.


Hi Carola,

Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book called "THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING" and here is a sight that briefly identifies what that means.
I hope it helps a little.

William
 
Justin
 
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 08:57 pm
@CarolA,
Balanced. That's a good point. It's easy to suffer from depression and attract the problems of depression. The diet helps but that's all it does. The most important balance is the mind.

If you look out the glass at the world today and see it for what it is and try to find your answers in that world out there, it's very easy to become depressed. The seeing it and giving it a voice and literally identifying with it produces the physiological reaction creating imbalance. So the mind's perception will cause physical imbalance. Anything that becomes out of balance becomes off center.

The difference is how far we take it. If they suffer from depression, they've depressed themselves. Most of the time it's based upon fears and most of the time these depressed individuals are all too concerned about things they have absolutely no control over yet it consumes them.

It's not the state of mind it's the level of the vibration of energy they radiate outward based on what the perceive and accept inward... a wonderful and complex paradox. However, we are the painter and universe is our canvas.

In hoononopono, the depression you see others suffer is really only within yourself. You may want to take a look. It's worth the experiment.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 09:37 pm
@Justin,
I get depressed, and I will write poetry to make me feel better, and I'm getting really good at poetry compared to when I first started.

I think the idea of us being hardwired to feel happy makes sense. That's why we (in respect to the norm, I suppose I should say) are happy when ignorant, blissfull! And we tend not have reflective thought, and not until media would people be able to have broad information for broader intra-introspective thought. So that period in time is minimal to humanity's existence as a species.

The concept seems Darwinian too. Its like a virtue to be happy rather than sad all the time. But suffering is also a virtue too, which is why we feel pain I guess. And western society lacks suffering, perhaps conveying the ironic unhappiness level.
 
xris
 
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 01:53 pm
@Holiday20310401,
I think depression is in the main an allowance for those who have nothing better to do with themselves...Struggle with life's essentials such as food ,clean drinking water would stop 90 % of most un clinical depressions..
 
William
 
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 03:21 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401 wrote:
I get depressed, and I will write poetry to make me feel better, and I'm getting really good at poetry compared to when I first started.

I think the idea of us being hardwired to feel happy makes sense. That's why we (in respect to the norm, I suppose I should say) are happy when ignorant, blissfull! And we tend not have reflective thought, and not until media would people be able to have broad information for broader intra-introspective thought. So that period in time is minimal to humanity's existence as a species.

The concept seems Darwinian too. Its like a virtue to be happy rather than sad all the time. But suffering is also a virtue too, which is why we feel pain I guess. And western society lacks suffering, perhaps conveying the ironic unhappiness level.


Try crossword puzzles.

William
 
CarolA
 
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 05:20 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
I think depression is in the main an allowance for those who have nothing better to do with themselves...Struggle with life's essentials such as food ,clean drinking water would stop 90 % of most un clinical depressions..


I was talking about clinical depression, there actually seems to be a change in the brain's chemistry.
But I think that the problem with non-clinical depression is deeper than just having nothing better to do, perhaps the the rather soul-less life in big cities? A person living a more "village" lifestyle may have a hard life, but they can get more exercise, breath clean air and (best of all) have a close group of family and friends around them all the time.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 06:41 pm
@CarolA,
I am much much happier, generally since I mostly stopped eating wheat and suger.

A suger high used to lead to a suger low; and then a lack of energy made a normal sad mood outright depressing, as I did not have the energy to just keep active.

Wheat used to cause my sinuses to clog and lead to terrible migraines. Very depressing to have a migraine headache every second day.

Both wheat and suger also made me put on weight, which is energy sapping and depressing.
 
currious
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 09:29 am
@Poseidon,
CarolA,

First of all I'd like to give you and your family member my sympathies. Clinical-depression is extremely tough to deal with whether it is you or someone close to you who is suffering personally.

Quote:
CarolA: Is what we call "normal" really overly optimistic


I believe that normality is something that can not be found in human behavior. As a race we are way to unpredictable to examine common traits that could well be defined as "normal". With that said; I would have to argue that humans as a whole are overly pessimistic. We, as humans, may always strive for happiness but it is never enough.
Quote:
VideCorSpoon: Take people who are by all accounts "normal." People that are unhappy want to be happy. People that are moderately happy want to be more happy. People that are extremely happy want to be even happier. It's never enough.


It is like happiness is a natural drug supplying us with an elongated state of euphoria until the next hurdle comes across our path. Then we carry out one of the most common human characteristics, laziness, until someone kicks our butt in gear to climb the hurdle. Thus placing us into another state of euphoria.
 
manored
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 11:57 am
@CarolA,
I think that depression is caused either by lack of purpose in life or by having a hopeless purpose. The cure is to realize that there is no purpose, and therefore you have to chose one that pleases you.

Another possible cause would be to fell there is no reason to be happy, depressing as the world is. The cure is to realize there is no reason to be sad either, and that what can be seen as depressing can also be seen as comic.

I think the "five book trilogy" by Douglas Adams is a huge help understanding this, try to get your depressed close people to read it.

These might not be true for everbody, but they are for me. I think another possible cause for clinical depression might be some form of altered perception, like madness, that is, brain problems cause the perception the person has of the world to be altered causing an alteration in behavior. In this case some kind of biologic treatment would be necessary.
 
 

 
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