Why You’re Unhappy: Biology vs Politics
Preorder Kindle here
(only $5; paper and audio available on launch day, January 9 2024)
About the book
Unhappiness is our brain’s natural default state, but we’re taught that happiness is “normal.” This makes your natural ups and downs seem like a disorder. It suggests that others are happy and you are missing out. And it diverts you from building skills that would actually spark your happy brain chemicals.
Why are we getting such bad information about our biology?
Not politics in the sense of electing leaders, but politics in the sense of winning support by saying what’s popular.
Doctors, therapists, academics, and the media win support by saying what Rousseau said: that nature is happy and “our society” causes unhappiness. You are taught that animals, children and hunter-gatherers are happy, and you would be too if “our society” hadn’t messed things up.
You may like this in the short run because it makes unhappiness “not your fault.” But it’s profoundly disempowering in the long run. It makes you a helpless victim of external forces and ignores your power to build brain-management skills.
And it’s not true. This book shows that animals, children and hunter-gatherers are unhappy a lot. It shows why medicine, academia, therapy, and the media ignore the fact that our happy chemicals are not designed to be on all the time. When you know why our brain produces unhappiness, you can stop feeling broken and expand the happy moments that our brain is capable of.
It’s hard to question the popular view of happiness because you’re told that it’s THE Science. You risk being labelled an anti-science nut if you question it.
But life is short. Every minute you ignore your power over your brain is a minute less you have to be happy. You can blaze new trails to your happy chemicals now instead of waiting for society to make you happy. You can spark more dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin in healthy ways when you know the job these chemicals are designed to do.
Our brain evolved to promote survival, not to make you happy. It releases happy chemicals to motivate action that meets survival needs. It releases bad-feeling chemicals to alert you to threats. It’s so focused on avoiding potential threats that you can end up feeling bad in a good life.
Our chemicals are controlled by neural pathways built from past experience. You can build new pathways, but it takes work. You don’t do the work when you’re taught that happiness is “normal” and unhappiness is a disease cured by “treatment.” You don’t find your power over your chemicals when you’re taught to blame society for your unhappiness and expect society to fix it.
This book explains your power to rewire your brain for more happy chemicals. It shows you why politics obscures the biological facts. It’s not easy to feel good with this brain we’ve inherited. Humans have always struggled to build the skill of sparking happy chemicals. Here are the facts you need to build happy skills now.