The Biology of Happiness

  • Bjørn Grinde

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Well-Being and Quality of Life Research book series (BRIEFSWELLBEING)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 1-17
  3. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 19-35
  4. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 37-61
  5. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 63-76
  6. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 77-94
  7. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 95-99
  8. Bjørn Grinde
    Pages 101-107
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 109-109

About this book

Introduction

The book presents a model for happiness based on current knowledge in evolutionary biology and neurobiology. Briefly, the primary purpose of nervous systems is to direct an animal toward behaviour relevant for survival and procreation. In primitive animals actions are based on reflexes, while in humans the modules directing behaviour engage positive and negative affect (good and bad feelings), and they are swayed by cognitive processes. The reason why evolution opted for this strategy was the improved flexibility in response – i.e., we learn from previous experiences. The human capacity for happiness is an accidental consequence.

An array of brain modules has evolved to care for various pursuits, but recent studies suggest that they converge on shared neural circuits designed to generate positive and negative mood. Happiness can be construed as the net output of the relevant modules. The book suggests a strategy for how to avoid having negative feelings (such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain) dominate the mind, and how to exercise positive feelings. In short, the book offers both a deeper understanding of what happiness is about, and a framework for improving well-being.

 

An array of brain modules has evolved to care for various pursuits, but recent studies suggest that they converge on shared neural circuits designed to generate positive and negative mood. Happiness can be construed as the net output of the relevant modules. The book suggests a strategy for how to avoid having negative feelings (such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain) dominate the mind, and how to exercise positive feelings. In short, the book offers both a deeper understanding of what happiness is about, and a framework for improving well-being.

 

Keywords

Darwinian Happiness Deeper understanding of Happiness Evolutionary Neurobiology Happiness on an evolutionary perspective Human Capacity for Happiness Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

Authors and affiliations

  • Bjørn Grinde
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Mental HealthNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4393-9
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2012
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-94-007-4392-2
  • Online ISBN 978-94-007-4393-9
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-7644
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-7652
  • About this book