Good Reasons for Bad Feelings
A founder of the field of evolutionary medicine uses his decades of experience as a psychiatrist to provide a much-needed new framework for making sense of mental illness.Why do I feel bad? There is real power in understanding our bad feelings. With his classic Why We Get Sick, Dr. Randolph Nesse helped to establish the field of evolutionary medicine. Now he returns with a book that transforms our understanding of mental disorders by exploring a fundamentally new question. Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Nesse asks why natural selection has left us all with fragile minds.Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice and insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become overwhelming. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low moods prevent us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but they often escalate into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environment and our ancient human past. And there are good evolutionary reasons for sexual disorders and for why genes for schizophrenia persist. Taken together, these and many more insights help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show us new paths for relieving it by understanding individuals as individuals.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings Details

TitleGood Reasons for Bad Feelings
Author
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherDutton Books
ISBN-139781101985663
Rating
GenrePsychology, Nonfiction

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings Review

  • Alja
    January 1, 1970
    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) rea 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.
    more
Write a review