The Willpower Instinct Analysis

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Happiness is associated with the notion of feeling good, the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure. The pursuit of happiness has been an ancient tradition in which we believe that the only way to achieve a good life is to be happy. I personally believe that happiness comes from being kind to one another, having good company, a job that we will enjoy, making others smile and just simply helping out one another. I also believe that happiness is based on how one perceives life. For example, negative people such as people who are close-minded or pessimistic will have a negative outlook on life while people who are more optimistic and open-minded have a more positive attitude towards life. We chase happiness in order to achieve a good life,…show more content…
Stress provokes the fight-or-flight response that allows us to protect ourselves from danger, including feelings. Therefore, whenever we are feeling bad, the brain will try to find ways way that will make us happy. According to Kelly McGonigal, the author of The Willpower Instinct, McGonigal states that negative emotions shift the brain into a reward-seeking state(136). Our brains become convinced that the only way we will feel better is with the "promise of reward" which eventually leads to giving in. Similarily, Mihaly Csikzentmihaly, the author of Finding Flow also discusses the effects of negative emotions, stating that "psychic entropy" makes it harder for us to focus.(22) However, Sharon Kirkey, the author of the article, "Refute of Happiness" argues that the more we try to get rid of difficulties, negativity, and pessimism, the more unhappier we will become. McGonigal and Csikzentmihaly argue that we should learn how to deal with psychic entropy in a way which will not interfere with our goals in order to improve the quality of life while Kirkey implies that avoiding psychic entropy, a state in which it becomes difficult to focus on external tasks due to stress, will not improve the quality of life, rather it would cause more unhappiness. McGonigal states that stress causes any temptation seem even more tempting because our brains try to look for any type of relief even if it won’t make us feel better. "The stress hormones released during a fight-or-flight response also increase the excitability of your dopamine neurons"(136). She emphasizes that we end up desiring whatever our brain associates the promise of reward with, even if it interferes with our goals. I sometimes even find myself eating unhealthy when I'm stressed which I regret later on.
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