« We All Need Words on Reading & TV | Main | Mark Vernon on Doubt »

March 02, 2011

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e55315ea908833014e5f8ff5a2970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Jules Evans on The Paradox of Happiness:

Comments

Jules Evans

Cheers Leigh - and thanks for signing up to the newsletter on my blog (shameless plug!)

Good luck with your website.

Jules

Leigh

At the risk of sounding silly I'll quote Mark Twain "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

It's no wonder so many therapists are introverts where extroversion seems more suited to the task! (says the introverted CMT)

Thank You for the post:)

Jules Evans

Hey Jane

Thanks for the comment!

This is a quote from a new book called Altruism in Humans by Daniel Batson, who has studied altruism for the last 30 years:

"those who turn to altruism as an antidote for depression, meaninglessness , and tension will find it does not work. To use altruism as yet another self-help cure - providing a means to the ultimately self-serving ends of gaining more meaning and better health - involves a logical and psychological contradiction. As soon as benefit to the other becomes an instrumental means to gain those self-benefits, the motivation shifts from altruistic to egoistic. So if it is empathy-induced altruistic motivation - rather than simply helping behaviour - that produces the health benefits noted, intentional pursuits of these benefits may be doomed to failure."

I personally think the best antidote for the blues, besides learning to be mindful of your thoughts, is to find a mission thats bigger than you. and that mission could be fighting mental illness - not just 'my' mental illness, but in general. Thats not a distraction - its an epic inspiring mission.

Jules

Lostlooking

REALLY pertinent and practical post, Jules, thank you. I totally agree with it. I guess the problem is that once you've started wondering whether you're happy or not, you've started engaging with your own mental state, and it's extremely hard to stop - a bit like asking yourself to unsee something. I think distracting yourself with the goal of helping others is a good one. My immediate "Yes but" to that, though, is that it's hard to know who to help - and, if you're unhappy, it's hard to motivate yourself to help anyone because you're far too busy sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Oh the joys of the vicious circle.

The comments to this entry are closed.