The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray
Underwhelmed by your ordinary existence? Disillusioned with your middlin’ wage, average body, ‘bijou’ living situation and imperfect loved ones? Welcome to the club.
There are billions of us. The ‘default disenchanted’. But, it’s not us being brats.
Two deeply inconvenient psychological phenomenons conspire against our satisfaction. We have negatively-biased brains, which zoom like doom-drones in on what’s wrong with our day, rather than what’s right. (Back in the mists of time, this negative bias saved our skins, but now it just makes us anxious).
Also, something called the ‘hedonic treadmill’ means we eternally quest for better, faster, more, like someone stuck on a dystopian, never-ending treadmill. Thankfully, there are scientifically-proven ways in which we can train our brains to be more positive-seeking. And to take a rest from this tireless pursuit.
Whew. Catherine Gray knits together illuminating science and hilarious storytelling, unveiling captivating research showing that big bucks don’t mean big happiness, extraordinary experiences have a ‘comedown’ and budget weddings predict a lower chance of divorce. She reminds us what an average body actually is, reveals that exercising for weight loss means we do less exercise, and explores the modern tendency to not just try to keep up with the Murphys, but keep up with the Mega-Murphies (see: the social media elite).