I am about to embark on a series of research studies with colleagues in Europe and the US which is (very briefly) looking a bit deeper into wellbeing bebefits of adventure and also emotional intelligence.. .. with comparisons to traditional sports as a control. We are just beginning so nothing to report as yet, but the background research into this area got me thinking.
I wonder if we could turn current thinking on its head??? .. if we did would this be what we came up with??
From and evolutionary psychology perspective one could argue .. not so long ago adventure was part of everyone’s life .. we lived the adventure everyday .. we did not survive if we were not prepared to accept or look for challenges and so forth. In some parts of the world this is still happening. What if we considered that in the “modern” world we seem to have forgotten how important adventure is to everyone’s life and now we see adventure as something different from normal (hence we call it risk??). Richard Louv’s book puts that into some perspective .. once, what we might have considered normal is now considered abnormal and labelled as such. Kids used to be adventurous as a matter of course .. out in the woods exploring and discovering .. now that this is too scary we need to “manage” their free time. Perhaps the increase in child hood obesity, ADHD, ADD , depression etc .. might be directly linked to the gradual move away from playing in nature (AKA adventure??). Perhaps we should really be having programs about our morbid and unhealthy desire for safety-seeking?? Maybe we should be looking for the safety-seeking gene?? Or safety-seeking chemical?? Wouldn’t that be interesting. How much of our percpetions on extreme sports and other adventurous activities is driven by cultural perceptions about what is normal?