Douglas Lisle, PhD

Breaking Free Of The Dietary Pleasure Trap

If you are holding a copy of Health Science magazine, and know what it is all about, then you are one of the lucky ones.

Of the 300 million people who live in our country, most will spend their whole lives confused about what is good for them, and what isn’t. If you are one of the fortunate few who has a good feel for the truth about health, then you are more than halfway there. The problem is, knowing is only about half of the battle. The other half of the journey is pretty tough. Just knowing doesn’t quite get it done all by itself.For some reason, even after we know just what to do, there is a tendency to go ahead and do self-destructive things anyway. If we listen to a pop-psychology show,we might hear all sorts of dark and complex speculation about why people are often self-destructive. But doubt any of it is right. We think there are reasons for “self-destructive” behavior that make perfect sense.

The Strange Behavior of Moths in the Night

Have you ever taken a few moments to stare at moths banging into your porch light? Why do they keep circling and flying into a dangerous light? And more chilling still, why do they sometimes fly right into a candle or hot light that zaps them dead? It seems incredibly stupid, so why do they do it? Maybe moths are mysteriously self-destructive for some deep, dark, and complex reasons. But we doubt it. We think there must be another reason, and one that makes perfect sense. There is.

Why They [...]

How To Feel Better Fast

Important strategies for dealing with modern problems that can trick our natural psychology!

Our moods and emotions are signals to tell us about how our lives are going. When things are going well, we tend to feel good. When something goes poorly, our moods or emotions tend to shift towards an unpleasant internal state. In this way, moods and emotions act as feedback systems to help us act in productive ways – to keep going in the same direction if things are going well, and to change direction if things are going poorly. When much in our lives is going poorly, it is not uncommon to experience depression. Depression acts as a signal, and as a motivating force, to help us look carefully at what is not going well, and to consider alternative courses of action. In order to deal with depression most effectively, it can be useful to understand how we sometimes come to be depressed, and what actions we can take to restore better mood functioning.

Feelings and feedback

Moods and emotions – our psychological feelings – are feedback systems that can indicate the effectiveness of our actions. They work in a similar fashion to physical pains and pleasures. If we sprain an ankle, for example, we feel physical pain because our behavioral error has resulted in physical damage – and has potentially compromised our survival. The pain of walking on the injured ankle helps discourage us from doing anything that could cause further injury, and thus aids the healing process.
On the more pleasant [...]