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October 17, 2007

If You Want To Be Happy, Live Like A Caveman

Dr. Helen notes a new theory about old ways of living. I don't know about depression, but bashing someone in the head whenever I felt like it would do wonders for stress.

So Ilardi, the numbers guy who had always made fun of psych majors, went to grad school at Duke University to study psychology and then to the University of Kansas. It was there he encountered the theory that some problems, including depression, might result from a mismatch between the modern era and our Stone Age roots. Important backing for the theory came from anthropologist Edward Schieffelin, who found that the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea - contemporary hunter-gatherers - were virtually depression-free. Other studies suggested that less industrialized communities, such as the Amish, also have much lower depression rates.

"We've been engineering the activity out of our lives," says Ilardi. "The levels of bright-light exposure - time spent outdoors -have been declining.

The average adult gets just over six and a half hours of sleep a night. It used to be about nine hours a night. There's increasing isolation, fragmentation, the erosion of community."

The result? "We feel perpetually stressed. And the more we learn about depression neurologically, the more we learn that it represents the brain's runaway stress response."

From this article.

I dunno, the Caveman Diet is one thing, but the Caveman Lifestyle? Who wouldn't want to sleep nine or ten hours a day? But is it possible?

Even if he's right -- where do you go from there? I've tried living as a hunter-gatherer and trust me, chicks aren't that into it.

But who knows, maybe my parents were right -- sunlight, fresh air, lots of vigorous activity, occasionally talking to human beings. Sounds crazy, but it just might work.

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posted by Ace at 10:43 PM

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