Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

Review From User :

The book looks at mental health from an evolutionary perspective: why did natural selection shape traits that make us vulnerable to diseases Nesse proposes a theory of how emotions evolved to help us cope with different situations (opportunities and threats) and lead us to behaviors that maximize our chance for reproduction because natural selection doesn't select for health, happiness or long life. From the evolutionary perspective, there are indeed good (from the perspective of our genes) reasons why we have bad feelings.

The books also provide a framework for understanding how emotions are normal reactions to certain situations that depend on how a person interprets the situation (based on their current goals and mindset). It also provides very vivid examples of how a lot of our regulation mechanisms face a mismatch with our modern environment, and how some mental glitches persist because of limitations of natural selection and other factors. By combining the perspective of evolutionary psychology and a person's current situation and goals, we can hopefully provide more effective treatments when emotions overpower or overwhelm us.

The author is also careful to point out that evolutionary psychology is still an evolving field and thus more experiments are needed to prove some of the theories described in the book. Regardless of how this field continues to develop, the book encourages us to look at emotions differently: as symptoms of (often complex) situations, not necessarily as diseases.


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