幸福追求,为什么有些痛苦都有助于我们感到愉悦

幸福追求,为什么有些痛苦都有助于我们感到愉悦
演习结束后,选手感到兴奋的感觉。 jacsonquerubin / Flickr的, CC BY-NC-SA

我们可以通过最大化快乐和痛苦最小化实现幸福的想法是既直观和流行。 事实是,然而,非常不同。 独自快乐不能不使我们快乐。

以克里斯蒂娜·奥纳西斯,船王亚里士多德·奥纳西斯的女儿。 她继承的财富超出想象,企图以减轻她的不快乐度过它奢侈享乐。 她在37死亡,她的传记,引人关注的副标题 所有的痛苦金钱可能买,讲述了一个生活充满了对她的苦难促成令人难以置信的贵气。

赫胥黎认识到无穷的快乐实际上可能导致他的小说1932反乌托邦社会的可能性 “美丽新世界”。 尽管无穷的快乐的想法似乎田园诗,现实往往是非常不同的。 就像在一个巧克力店巧克力狂,我们很快忘记这是什么,使得我们的愿望摆在首位吃香。

新的证据表明,疼痛可切实提升我们从生活中获得的乐趣和幸福。 正如我的同事和我在杂志最近列出 人格与社会心理学评论, pain promotes pleasure and keeps us connected to the world around us.

Pain Builds Pleasure

An excellent example of how pain may enhance pleasure is the experience commonly referred to as “the runners high”. After intense physical exertion, runners experience a sense of euphoria that has been linked to the production of opioids, a neurochemical that is also released in response to pain.

其他工作 has shown that experiencing relief from pain not only increases our feelings of happiness but also reduces our feelings of sadness. Pain may not be a pleasurable experience itself, but it builds our pleasure in ways that pleasure alone simply cannot achieve.

Pain may also make us feel more justified in rewarding ourselves with pleasant experiences. Just think how many people indulge themselves a little after a trip to the gym.

我和我的同事 tested this possibility by asking people to hold their hand in a bucket of ice-water and then offered them the choice of either a Caramello Koala or a florescent highlighter to take with them as a gift.

Participants who did not experience any pain chose the highlighter 74% of the time. But those who had pain only chose it 40% of the time – they were more likely to take the chocolate. Pain, it seems, can make chocolate guilt-free!

Pain Connects Us To Our World

People are constantly seeking new ways to clear their minds and connect with their immediate experiences. Just think of the popularity of 正念mediation exercises, both of which aim to bring us in touch with our direct experience of the world.

There is good reason to believe pain may be effective in achieving this same goal. Why? Because pain captures our attention.

Imagine dropping a large book on your toe mid conversation. Would you finish the conversation or attend to your toe? Pain drags us into the moment and after pain we are more alert and attuned to our sensory environment – less caught up in our thoughts about yesterday or tomorrow.

我和我的同事 recently tested whether this effect of pain may also have some benefits. We asked people to eat a Tim Tam chocolate biscuit after holding their hand in a bucket of ice-cold water for as long as they could. We found that people who experienced pain before eating the Tim Tam enjoyed it more than those who did not have pain.

In two follow-up studies, we showed that pain increases the intensity of a range of different tastes and reduces people’s threshold for detecting different flavours. One reason people enjoyed the Tim Tam more after pain was because it actually tasted better – the flavour they experienced was more intense and they were more sensitive to it.

Our findings shed light on why a Gatorade tastes so much better after a long hard run, why a cold beer is more pleasant after a day of hard labour, and why a hot chocolate is more enjoyable after coming in from the cold.

Pain literally brings us in touch with our immediate sensory experience of the world, allowing for the possibility that pleasures can become more pleasant and more intense.

Pain Bond Us With Others

Anyone who has experienced a significant disaster will know that these events bring people together. Consider the 55,000志愿者 who helped clean up after the 2011 Brisbane floods or the sense of community spirit that developed in New York in response to 911.

Painful ceremonies have been used throughout history to create cooperation and cohesion within groups of people. A 最近的一项研究 examining one such ritual – the kavadi in Mauritius – found that participants who experienced pain were more likely to donate money to a community cause, as were those who had simply observed the ceremony. The experience of pain, or simply observing others in pain, made people more generous.

Building on this work, my colleagues and I had people experience pain in groups. Across three studies, again, participants either immersed their hand in ice-water and held a squat position for as long as they could, or ate very hot raw chilies.

We compared these experiences to a no-pain control condition and found pain increased cooperation within the group. After sharing pain, people felt more bonded together and were also more cooperative in an economic game: they were more likely to take personal risks to benefit the group as a whole.

A Different Side of Pain

Pain is commonly associated with illness, injury or harm. Often we don’t see pain until it is associated with a problem and in these cases pain may have few benefits at all. Yet, we also experience pain in a range of common and healthy activities.

Consider the recent ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) ice-bucket challenge. By dousing ourselves in ice water we were able to raise unprecedented support for a good cause.

Understanding that pain can have a range of positive consequences is not only important for better understanding pain, but may also help us manage pain when it does become a problem. Framing pain as a positive, rather than negative, increases neurochemical responses that help us better manage pain.

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作者简介

Brock Bastian is an ARC Future Fellow at the School of Psychology at UNSW AustraliaBrock Bastian is an ARC Future Fellow at the School of Psychology at UNSW Australia. He is a social psychologist and his research focuses on happiness, pain, and morality. His research areas: motivated moral reasoning, moral vitalism, dehumanization, psychological essentialism, the benefits of physical pain, social norms for happiness. Visit his 网页.

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