Good Reasons for Bad Feelings Summary

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Randolph M. Neese, MD: Good Reasons for Bad Feelings Summary

Humans have always been successful in evolving, reproducing, and staying alive. Which is impressive with the list of dysfunctions that tend to follow us around.

Although some dysfunctions seem to be worse than others, like our anxiety over drugs, food, or sex, there are good reasons for us to have these bad feelings.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Randolph M. Nesse (Author) – Arthur Morey (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 02/12/2019 (Publication Date) – Penguin Audio (Publisher)

In Neese’s book, “Good Reasons for Bad Feelings,” he lays out this reasoning thru three main points:

  1. Emotions help us survive and pass on our genes
  2. An evolutionary perspective can help us treat the real causes of depression
  3. Our capacity for love and caring also comes with feelings of worry and grief

Lesson 1: Emotions help us survive and pass on our genes

Going to a doctor to help relieve some pain, whether it is emotional or physical, seems like a good fix, but it typically is a temporary fix.

There are excellent reasons we, as humans, have negative emotions. Instead of attempting to alleviate the pain, sometimes it is best to lean into these emotions and not get rid of them. These negative emotions help us recognize potentially harmful situations we should avoid in the future.

There is something to be said for having an imbalance of emotions. Rather than attempting just to get rid of them, it is best to work with a doctor. A doctor will help solve what the root cause of the issue is, and not help to get rid of negative emotion temporarily.

Lesson 2: An evolutionary perspective can help us treat the real causes of depression

Our emotions play a large part in how we go through life. Due to this, there are a lot of factors in the world that could lead us to depression.

Often, depression is looked at on a symptom basis, rather than finding the personal problems which could be causing it.

Depression, like other emotional issues, is typically not inherited and is caused by events that have been buried deep in our own subconscious. This is why treating symptoms won’t solve the issue.

Cognitive therapy is a great new way for people to tackle depression. Within this therapy, three key factors are explored to help bring this depression to light and to help deal with it.

These include life circumstances, how we relate to these circumstances, and how our own brains are functioning within these circumstances. This kind of therapy can open up an entirely new perspective to each patient and is better suited to deal with conquering depression.

Lesson 3: Our capacity for love and caring also comes with feelings of worry and grief

Love and Anxiety are two emotions that are entirely opposite, yet continue to pull at each person in very different directions.

With Love, you typically form a deep relationship with a person, which means you care deeply about what they think of you. If you are not in love with anyone, you might feel the need to find someone to love, so you start becoming anxious as to why no one will love you back.

This feeling of love and anxiety also presents itself when making a decision. You want to make a person happy in your life, but to do so, you may need to cause pain to someone else.

Love can also cause grief, especially if a loved one loses their life. This is especially true if you are part of a traumatic experience where you were there when someone lost their life. You cause yourself anxiety over the idea if you could’ve done something to prevent it.

The question then becomes, to get rid of these negative feelings, what if you never loved at all?

This does not seem to be the right answer, as these negative emotions will deliver pain. Still, it will provide you and others around you a chance to share in the grief and to help learn from these experiences.

It is a painful but necessary step in our continued evolution as a human race.

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Hey, I’m Erik… a Swedish university student, marketing professional, and life-long learner. Here at BookSummaryClub I summarize my favorite non-fiction books into easily digested posts. Hope you like what you’re reading!

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