No Pain, No Gain
No pain, no gain (or "No gain without pain") is a proverb, used since the 1980s as an exercise motto that promises greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. Under this conception competitive professionals, such as athletes and artists, are required to endure pain (physical suffering) and stress (mental/emotional suffering) to achieve professional excellence. Medical experts agree that the proverb is wrong for exercise.
No Pain, No Gain
It came into prominence after 1982 when actress Jane Fonda began to produce a series of aerobics workout videos. In these videos, Fonda would use "No pain, no gain" and "Feel the burn" as catchphrases for the concept of working out past the point of experiencing muscle aches.
David B. Morris wrote in The Scientist in 2005, "'No pain, no gain' is an American modern mini-narrative: it compresses the story of a protagonist who understands that the road to achievement runs only through hardship." The concept has been described as being a modern form of Puritanism.
A form of this expression is found in the beginning of the second century, written in The Ethics of the Fathers 5:23 (known in Hebrew as Pirkei Avot), which quotes Ben Hei Hei as saying, "According to the pain is the reward." This is interpreted to be a spiritual lesson; without the pain in doing what God commands, there is no spiritual gain.
Imagine having to choose over and over between what you enjoy doing and the pain that it might cause you, whether physical or emotional. If you live with conditions such as depression, anxiety, or chronic pain, you are probably familiar with making these difficult choices on a daily or weekly basis. But surprisingly little is known about which areas of the brain are involved in decisions of this kind.
We further compared this representation to future monetary rewards, physical pain, and aversive pictures and found that the representation of future pain overlaps with that of aversive pictures but is distinct from experienced pain.
Imagine having to choose over and over between what you enjoy doing and the pain that it might cause you, whether physical or emotional. If you live with conditions such as depression, anxiety, or chronic pain, you are probably familiar with making these difficult choices on a daily or weekly basis. But surprisingly little is known about which areas of the brain are involved in decisions of this kind. In a recent article in PNAS, McGill University researchers show that the ventral striatum plays a crucial role when it comes to choices about future pain versus future profit. Interestingly, this brain region has already been identified as being involved in motivation and rewards, but it has not been associated with pain until now. This discovery could advance treatments for a range of disorders that are characterized by excessive avoidance.
"No pain, no gain is the rule when it comes to gaining happiness from increasing our competence at something," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. "People often give up their goals because they are stressful, but we found that there is benefit at the end of the day from learning to do something well. And what's striking is that you don't have to reach your goal to see the benefits to your happiness and well-being."
Relating these momentary gains in happiness to people's long term life satisfaction, the study found that those who are already satisfied with their life in the long term stand to gain most from the momentary happiness that is derived from feeling connected to others and a sense of autonomy.
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