Why do we find some things stressful and other things fun?

Mar 2012
3
0
A person returns home form a stressful day at work and are a little tired. They have to do much housework which requires physical effort. They dislike it and feel averse to it. Now lets say that instead of housework they were going to engage in a physical hobby e.g. sport. They feel inclined to it and happy about it, even though the sport requires more physical effort and they are a bit tired.

Why does the mind hate one thing and love another?
 
Sep 2011
28
0
Wisc
[quote author=haydar link=topic=3198.msg23112#msg23112 date=1367766768]
A person returns home form a stressful day at work and are a little tired. They have to do much housework which requires physical effort. They dislike it and feel averse to it. Now lets say that instead of housework they were going to engage in a physical hobby e.g. sport. They feel inclined to it and happy about it, even though the sport requires more physical effort and they are a bit tired.

Why does the mind hate one thing and love another?
[/quote]

It's a complex matter, but I think there's one thing in particular that offers insight into the difference, and that's the perceived reward that the specific activity offers the person.

To work with your example, it's easy to imagine a person feeling gratified from physical sport in place of housework because he's associated the results he'll get out of the sport, a physically fit body, with something pleasurable to him - the prospect of others finding him attractive. Housework might not offer him the same satisfaction because he doesn't conceive of its reward, or he devalues its reward compared with something else.

Personally, I find it very rewarding to take care of housework, even after a long day while I'm exhausted, because I've associated the activity with a clear reward - I imagine things like dirty dishes or unswept floors as a manifestation of an unresolved issue. If it's neglected, its state of unresolvedness begins to amplify and even snowball into other areas of my life. So, when I make sure that all the dishes are completely cleaned after dinner, it's very rewarding, because it means to me that I'm not carrying over into the next day unresolved issues from today (or yesterday or five years ago - in the sense that unresolved emotional issues can negatively impact our habits of behavior now). :)
 
Mar 2015
8
0
Lake Worth, FL
Complex answer

This is a very complex question to answer, there are so many factors that create somethings as likes and others as dislikes. To me though it can boil down to some distinct characteristics. One is what is motivating the person to do it and two how challenging is the activity.

People do things for many different reason, but there are underlying main motivation behind every activity we participate in. The two main reason for motivation are intrinsic vs. extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation means that you do something for its own sake because its enjoyable to you, while extrinsic means that you do it because you have to for some outside reward. Studies show that people who get paid to do what they love actually enjoy the task less than those who don't get paid to do what they love. This goes against all "common sense." But it makes sense when you know the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic. Those who did their craft just for its own sake took pride in the creation aspect, while those who got paid thought about the money they were making and lost sight of the creation and focused more on the external. If you do laundry because it has to be done and there is no more mess you are doing it just to get it done, instead of maybe doing it because that is what a good wife/husband would do and you get internal satisfaction from helping the house stay clean.

Another factor is what is called flow states. Some activities thoroughly engage you in them. Where the only thing you focus on is the activity itself because it is challenging enough that if you lose focus you will lose ability. Folding laundry, a child could do, it doesn't engage our energies in a flow state. Most people will be thinking of other things when doing those activities, whereas in the case of sports you aren't thinking much at all, but just "flowing." Your skill matches the activity and it is the optimal state of human consciousness.

Basically to find your purpose and to enjoy life, I believe, you should engage yourself in flow state activities that are intrinsically motivating. Without the pressure of money what would you do and is what you would do something that will constantly challenge you? Can you evolve your knowledge and understanding of it constantly and not hit a plateau where growth stagnates?
 
Sep 2012
59
0
Here, Now
@OP:In Reversal Theory, the person you described would be in a paratelic state (fun, arousal seeking) as opposed a telic state ( serious, goal minded, comfort seeking).

If it's not stimulating enough, someone in the paratelic state wouldn't be interested.
 
Mar 2015
18
0
Australia
Ask yourself what did you hate the most when you were a child. even though you have forgotten much of your childhood, the things children do to distract from things they didn't want to do, even though what they enjoyed doing was often work related, at the time, emotional gratification was higher than the disliked work practices creating mental stress. like a dog confined to a backward for long periods becoming stressed, the dog enjoys chasing a tennis ball to induce medicating brain chemical rewards. moving from one environment to a more enjoyable environment feels more pleasurable regardless of the physical effort. why many people like doing strange behaviours is because something similar in their childhood was being used to distract from something not similar being very mentally stressful. figuring out what children were forced to do during their childhood shouldn't be that much of a problem.