Learn to Under Indulge

Under Indulge once in a while
Last month the NY Times had an article about the art ofunder-indulgence. It is about the science that shows that under indulging, that is indulging a little less than you might normally is a key to happiness.

I like this article because a) it is counter intuitive, b) it is based on what seems like actual science and c) because it is consistent with my own proclivities and yes, I consider myself a happy person.

Basically, science tells us that it is the initial response to something new that creates the best return on our happy synapses. After we indulge, the high we get from indulging becomes lessened. In other words, imagine you just sat down to an incredible meal. It is the first bite of a tremendously tasty meal that is tasty. The more you eat, the less aware you are of how incredible your meal tastes. In other words, the more you eat, the more you dull your taste buds. So, to get the most bang for your indulgent buck, you need to indulge less because the very act of indulging diminishes your returns.

So, if you have become convinced that to be happy you just need more, whether it is more money, food, candy, sex, or whatever it is you indulge in, you should realize that the science really does show, more isn’t necessarily better. Which is probably why people with severe indulgence problems (aka addictions) aren’t very happy.

The only exception to this rule is when you indulge in helping others. The more you give to others, the happier you are.  And yes, there is apparently science to back that up as well. So, to recap, indulging is good, but only to a point. After that, share what you got. In other words Franklin was right. In all things moderation.  

Image: "Woman And Ice Cream" by Naito8 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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