Spices & Their Unexpected Effect on Our Happiness

Don’t get me wrong, spices are delicious and healthy, and it’s important to learn how to use them in our cuisine. However, they also have an unexpected negative side effect on our happiness. The problem lies in the overstimulation of our senses.

Spices & How They Overstimulate Our Emotions

Before writing this article, I wrote a few controversial yet popular articles calling for people to stop watching scary movies and listening to music. What these articles have in common is that they contribute to the emotional overstimulation of our minds. In other words, people tend to overstimulate their emotions in various ways, such as overconsuming social media.

When the high level of stimulation eventually wears off, people feel unhappy and unsatisfied. They feel a need for new stimuli, as if something is missing in their lives. This leads to a never-ending cycle of seeking the next fix, whether it’s doing, buying, eating something new, or anything else that can provide a higher level of stimulation.

This constant overstimulation is one of the main reasons for the unhappiness we see today. Many people are unable to take low-stimulation breaks as they feel like they constantly need to be doing something. This is unrealistic and unhealthy. Even those who reach high levels of wealth and power often find themselves unsatisfied and unhappy. They come to the realization that more stimulation didn’t fix all their problems. Now they have reached the height of what is possible in terms of emotional stimulation, and it wasn’t enough, as they continue to be unhappy.

Spicy, A man on Spices store

A Never Satisfied Society

The natural solution to overstimulation is minimalism – wanting and having less, and being satisfied with the bare minimum. By proactively reducing mental stimulation, we can re-learn how to feel comfortable with less. This philosophy is at the core of many world religions, including Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. Interestingly, in the quiet of the mind, people often find a sense of peace or a connection to something greater, which some people refer to as “God.”

Many religions already practice a form of minimalism, even if it isn’t explicitly called that. People isolate themselves, give up their possessions, and practice celibacy in order to reduce stimulation. They eliminate social media, TV, and excessive stimulation through food, drinks, and drugs. While some religions do make exceptions and allow for some of these practices, their general practice remains the same.

Life With Less Spices

When it comes to spicy food, overstimulation is the main reason why spices can be bad for us. In some cultures, such as India, spices are used in excess compared to what we use in Europe and the USA. People from these cultures often say that Western cuisine is bland, and I used to wonder how they could taste the true flavors of the food underneath all these spices.

And this is exactly my issue with spicy food. People who are accustomed to eating spicy food often have a hard time eating something without spices because their minds are overstimulated. They struggle to appreciate the underlying flavors beneath all the spice.

Spicey, An image of different food spices on a spoon

Should We Stop Consuming Spices?

Overall, I still believe in the health benefits of spices as they add nutrients to our overly processed modern food, and some spices do taste amazing. However, we should be cautious not to overstimulate our emotions through the use of spices or in any other way. There are many other ways to overstimulate our emotions, such as watching TV, horror movies, using social media, spending money, taking drugs, and listening to music.

In this sense, we could argue that spices fall on the healthier side of the overstimulation spectrum. However, to truly understand overstimulation, we need to recognize the many forms it can take. Spicy food is definitely one of these forms. So while we don’t necessarily need to avoid spices altogether, we should be mindful of how they affect us emotionally.

Roman Russo

Roman Russo

Roman Russo is the visionary founder, senior happiness coach, and Chief Happiness Officer of Optimal Happiness. He has written the revolutionary Optimal Happiness: The Fastest and Surest Way to Reach Your Happiest Potential, a must-read book about achieving our happiest potential. After researching this field for over eight years, Roman is confident that anyone can become happy and invites us to undertake this transformation. Are you ready to start living the life you always meant to live?

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