Could Our Instincts Unlock Our Health and Happiness?

How To Cope In Our Modern Society

By: Dr. Stacy Irvine DC


Have you ever wondered why certain behaviours and actions happen before you even have a chance to think about them? Or why certain feelings and drives return even though you do everything in your power to control them? This is exactly how our instincts work in our everyday lives.  If we were able to understand them even just a bit better, we could hopefully harness these powerful pathways for good. 

What if the answers to unlocking better habits and performance were within us all along?  Maybe we are just ignoring them as we spend endless minutes diving deep into our social media, or late-night bingeing the latest Netflix series.  Is it possible that alcohol, food or even prescription drugs are enabling us to numb our senses and instincts in a way that allows us to manage and cope better within our 20th century lifestyles?

I recently listened to a fascinating interview of a researcher, Rod Phillips, who was discussing both the positive and negative impacts of alcohol in modern society.  Part of the discussion was around the idea that when human beings are placed in stressful situations, for example flying in a plane, consumption of alcohol can help alleviate anxiety. My recent book, Your Better Instincts, explores some similar concepts about when “humans are placed in stressful situations” we often reach for ways to dull our senses or distract ourselves.  Unfortunately, most of these distractions have a negative impact on our long-term health.  You could argue that our sedentary, screen-filled work environments lead to increased stress, and it is possible our coping mechanisms have just not caught up to the fast pace of technology. Could it be that our continued success might be our downfall?  We have invented so many ways to digitize our lives, create comfort, and reduce effort, but I am worried we may have tipped the scales too far in one direction.  We may have outperformed ourselves and are now paying a huge price in our health.

In our extremely busy, highly connected lifestyles, we are ignoring many of our basic instinctual patterns. We develop our instincts as we age and navigate life. Instincts are responsible for our survival as a species, and they are the amazing attributes that separate us from machines.  Spending time in nature, connecting with friends, moving daily as much as possible, are all proven techniques that allow us to thrive as healthy and happy humans.  By realizing these ancient patterns are within us, it will help us understand how best to use them in real life.  When we develop our Instincts to their full potential, we can spend less time avoiding and distracting ourselves from the world around us.  Finding our way back, moving away from distraction, toward awareness could be the easiest way to live our happiest and healthiest “In the Moment” lives.

Dr. Stacy Irvine is a chiropractor and the co-owner of Totum Health Sciences. To contact Stacy: