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I discovered the amazing increasehappiness.com website in April 2010. When I went
back to read it again, I found it was gone and the domain was for sale. So, I
purchased it and recreated this website to help others. If you have questions or
feedback please email travis at increasehappiness dot com.
6. Increase Health
The formula to Increase Health is well known.
- Eat well.
- Sleep well.
- Avoid Intoxication.
- Seek medical help when needed.
Despite the simplicity and truth of this advice, many fail repeatedly to Increase Health.
You can Increase Health the same way as everything else:
- Develop Desire for the goals you seek.
- Affirm Daily.
- Admit Failure when you develop Excuses.
And you will also benefit from knowing specific ways the Survival Syndrome works against
your Health. The first is Innovation.
All Choices involve both Pleasure and Pain, but what if you could somehow change the price of
Happiness? What if you could figure out a way to get more Pleasure for less Pain? That process
Innovation is an Instinctive Survival Desire. By constantly looking for a free lunch, or at least a
cheap lunch, occasionally one will be found. Finding new ways to gain more Pleasure for less
Pain provides a Survival advantage.
Innovation is responsible for every human advancement including the use of fire, the
development of nuclear energy, and the shortcut you take to get home. With a Survival Desire
that powerful, the Survival Syndrome promises equally powerful problems. Problems with
Innovations arise because we use them even when they don't work.
For every Innovation that successfully delivers more Pleasure for less Pain, there are many more
that try and fail. The desire to Increase Health has produced many failed Innovations.
- Fad diets that are popular, but ineffective.
- Exercise equipment that only collects dust.
- Addictive drugs that promise Happiness, but deliver more Pain than Pleasure.
Because Innovation is its own Desire, the Pleasure of Innovation is added to all other Pleasures
associated with an Innovative Choice. That's why products are often described as "new" or
"improved." The marketing often works, even when the products don't.
To compensate for any skepticism you might have about an Innovation, Mental Survival creates
Excuses in which the probable Pain of failure is overwhelmed by the unlikely Pleasure of
success. They sound like this:
- I know this new diet probably won't work, but it would be so great to lose 30 pounds.
- I know I probably won't use this new exercise equipment, but I would love to have a body that looks like that model.
- I know drugs will probably ruin my life, but I just want to feel good.
The cure for failed Innovations begins with realizing they exist. When real and effective
Innovations to Increase Health are developed, you or your doctor will hear about them. In the
meanwhile, be alert for tricks or gimmicks to Innovate the way you look or feel.
If you woke up tomorrow and your body weight had increased by 10% overnight, you would be
constantly aware of the extra weight. Yet many adults will wake up weighing 10% more than
they did a few years ago and not even think about it. The difference is NORMALIZATION.
Normalization is an Instinctive Survival Desire to adapt to our circumstances. It is an amazing
ability that allows us to: live in extreme climates, eat varied diets, and survive debilitating
injuries. Normalization also allows you to be comfortable with your bad habits.
Weak Health Choices include too much food and alcohol, and not enough sleep and exercise.
Thanks to Normalization, those Weak Choices feel perfectly normal, and you might have no
Desire to change them. Fortunately, Normalization will also allow you to feel normal with new,
Normalization often occurs through gradual changes. In the short run, gradual changes can be so
small they are unnoticed. Over time, those small, unnoticed changes can produce large results.
For example, if you eat one extra cookie, chances are you will hardly notice. You won't see the
difference on your scale. You might not even feel less hungry.
However, if you eat one extra cookie at every meal, and everything else stays the same, you will
gain weight. Over several years, the weight might be substantial.
The problem is, you also won't notice if you eat one less cookie, except you will miss the taste of
the cookie. You won't see the difference on your scale. There might be no immediate Pleasure.
Because the Strong Choices required to Increase Health might produce no immediate Pleasure,
you must gain Pleasure from the Choices themselves.
For example, to eat less you must:
- Take Pleasure from the act of turning down or turning away from food.
- Enjoy the feeling of being slightly hungry, or at least not stuffed.
- Enjoy ordering or preparing healthier choices like food that is grilled rather than fried.
You can't simply like the idea of losing weight. You need to like the things required to lose
weight. If you hate your diet, it will not work, because eventually you will do what you like. You
need to like your diet.
Fortunately, you can do that. Develop Desire by thinking about the Choices you must make to
achieve your goals, including learning about Healthy Choices as well as how to implement them.
Then Affirm Daily, and Admit Failure.
Intoxication offers a special challenge in your Desire to Increase Health, because it interferes
with Mental Survival.
Consider what Mental Survival does:
- Create habitual Desires.
- Cause you to make Choices based on your Desires.
- Create Excuses to prevent you from changing your Desires.
Mental Survival is constraining. If your life is great, you probably don't mind. If things are not
going well, you might want to get away from yourself.
Intoxication provides a temporary escape from Mental Survival by interfering with your brain
chemistry. With a diminished ability to affect brain chemistry, Mental Survival loses its grip.
You are uninhibited, free to make Choices you would normally avoid.
That freedom might be liberating if you are normally constrained. Many people enjoy the feeling
of losing their shyness, for example. But that feeling comes at a cost.
Intoxication is addictive, physically and mentally. Mental Survival detects patterns of
Intoxication makes them habitual Desires. Even though Mental Survival is suppressed during
Intoxication, the great irony is that to escape the Intoxication habit, you must sober up, and at
that point, Mental Survival will have the power to pull you back in.
Intoxication harms your Health while you are Intoxicated, and after. Permanent brain and organ
damage are at risk, as well as changes to your personality and even dementia. The social
problems associated with chronic Intoxication, such as losing your job, can impair your ability to
care for yourself.
Finally, without Mental Survival to guide you while Intoxicated, there is a possibility you will
make Choices that are devastating and permanent. Driving while intoxicated has ruined many
lives, and an incalculable number of people are hurt in other ways.
The best Choice for Intoxication is to enjoy living without it. And when you know how to
Increase Happiness you will have less reason to turn to Intoxication.
To overcome the habit of Intoxication, you need to deal with: physical addiction, social habits,
and the idea of Intoxication. Start with the idea. Write down your Excuses for Intoxication, and
then eliminate them one by one.
You might be surprised to learn that life without Intoxication is not only possible, but preferable.
Contrary to what you might think, Intoxication does not enhance your life, it obscures it.
Sobriety will illuminate your path to Happiness.
Much has been learned about how technology has exceeded evolution.
- Our bodies have evolved to store fat and survive on far less food than we can now readily obtain.
- We have drugs to put us to sleep and wake us up, but we still need more hours of restful
sleep than our lifestyles allow.
- We can earn a living while sitting all day, but our physiology requires walking.
No doubt more will be learned over time. But what remains constant is the need for change.
If you want to be Happier, you will need to change. If you want to change, you will need to
overcome the process that keeps you who you are. That process is Mental Survival.
You can put Mental Survival to work for you to accomplish anything you want. One of the best
ways to Increase Health is to reduce stress by learning to Increase Happiness. A good next step is
to INCREASE WEALTH
- You have an Instinctive Survival Desire to Innovate.
- Normalization allows you to be comfortable with bad habits.
- The Choices required to Increase Health often have no immediate Pleasure. You need to
Affirm to enjoy the Choice.
- Cherish your sobriety.
- One of the best ways to Increase Health is to reduce stress by learning to Increase