“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Best Milkshakes on the East Coast … it’s true!
We live in a society where withholding gratification is no longer seen as something worth doing. Instead we chip away at our ability to withstand challenge by succumbing to the idea that we should be happy and free of stress all of the time.
You can see self-gratification play out on our roads where people decide that passing on the shoulder is acceptable. We live in a time where our video game mentality is played out in real life. We strive to get more and more dopamine (the feel good hormone) released into our brain.
Let’s say you want something, something nice, how long will you wait until you have it? For most people the anticipation of waiting creates a strong desire to have it now. It might be that we are driven by primitive urges to satisfy our cravings quickly before the opportunity has been lost. We are still thinking that we are going to be chased by a large cat and if we don’t take care of our urges now we won’t be able to ever. How true is that?
Sale, 50% off, today only! It’s cool, it’s hot, and you have to have it NOW! These are tricks that your brain plays on you to get you to do things that you don’t really need to do. The promise of a reward is powerfully alluring and marketers know precisely which buttons to push to get you to act on desire rather than need. The message is if you have this thing today you’ll be happier, you’ll be satisfied, and you’ll gratified.
Test yourself and see what your resistance is to waiting for something you desire. What are the tricks being used to cause you to make a decision to trigger a release of dopamine?
Black Friday, shopping early and even earlier is a big rush for many people, the thrill is in the purchase and ultimately a dopamine rush. If our tasks and our work doesn’t fill us with dopamine we wait, we wait and wait and wait until we don’t have a choice and then it gets done.
What are your “feel good” things you do? What do you notice about them? What is your level of resistance to withhold self-gratification?
To learn more about the brain and the production of dopamine look at this video.
Posted in decisions, desire, motivation
Tagged Black Friday, decision making, Don't eat the marshmallow!, dopamine, gratification, happiness, Helen Fisher, self-gratification, the brain and love
“I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.”
― Pietro Aretino
What do you have power over?
Do you have power over yourself?
You may be in a position to tell others what to do and how to do it. You can will your power over others and have them take action and at the same time you have no control over your own emotions, thoughts and actions. You may lack the will power to change your own story.
Think about it. What goals have you set for yourself that lapsed into decay only a few weeks after you started your grand pursuit. When was the last time you refused an offer for that second helping? When was the last time you turned
down that extra cup of coffee? Did you start to exercise more after your doctor told you that it would be of great benefit to you? When did you stop smoking? When did you stop drinking? When did you stop your destructive behaviors?
Willpower, the ability to turn back desire. Do you have any?
We play to the power of dopamine, the feel good drug that is produced in the brain. There is a pull between two powerful hormones, dopamine and adrenaline. Adrenaline is our hormone that causes us to run from danger and dopamine is what is produced when pleasure is experienced.
If we do something that is challenging our systems our bodies produce stress hormones. If we do something we like we produce “happiness” hormones. If we want to change there is a likelihood that it will create stress and that resistance is enough to stop us from making the desired changes. In other words we produce negative hormones when we anticipate change.
As long as the stress of change exceeds the perceived value of the change we will resist making a change. If we can integrate into our thinking self-compassion into our lives we can change how our bodies react to stress. Self-compassion allows us to increase the production of “happiness” hormones. It takes some work to develop strategies to move our towards self-compassion.
Willpower can be increased by practicing self-compassion. With greater willpower there is a chance to create new supportive habits. New supportive habits will increase dopamine levels in your brain which will increase your happiness.
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ― George Eliot
Take a moment to reflect back on something that was a magical moment for you. Perhaps it was taking the time to look at the splendor of autumn, or perhaps it was something else. Whatever it was, remember it and then remember the feeling you experienced at that moment.
Those special moments which may happen many times in a day are caused when dopamine is released into the brain. That dopamine creates a feeling, a feeling of satisfaction, joy, happiness, pleasure, tingling, or something that just makes you feel good. Our brain likes those small rewards and they can be small moments, perhaps the taste of a great cup of coffee or a great meal at your favorite restaurant or just getting something done for the day.
When we are able to do something or experience something positive the brain gives us a small reward of dopamine. Video gamer’s are constantly being given small dopamine rewards as they accomplish small victories in the game and that might be the reason games can be do addictive, lots of small rewards and that sensation can become habit-forming.
The idea is to find those things that produce those moments of joy. Create work that can provide moments of joy. The people who have found work that is integrated with their strengths may have many small moments of success, small dopamine moments that push them on. If you’re not experiencing moments of joy in your day then perhaps you aren’t fully living the way you want to be.
What would allow you to experience more joy in your day?
” The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain
The doorway to success
What is the secret to success? It is doing three simple things. By doing these things you have more vitality during the day. You’ll feel alive and be able to think clearly. You’ll be able to feel the air pulse through the body. You’ll be able to focus and stay alert. You’ll feel happier and more grateful.
So, what are the big three.
1. Exercise – as simple as it may seem exercise increases the production of dopamine and serotonin in the body. These hormones increase the sense of well-being and can improve focus and alertness especially for those with ADHD/ADD. Exercise is something most people lack. In today’s fast paced world most of the work is done sitting down with little physical activity. Taking breaks to energize the body by increasing the respiratory rate and heart rate is a good practice. Better physical conditioning helps improve immune function. Exercise is a win-win proposition, a win for the mind and a win for the body. What is stopping you?
2. The second big secret and it appears to be a secret because it isn’t done nearly enough and that is eating a balanced diet and drinking the right amount of water. Drinking water, it’s cheap and available yet we spend a lot of money purchasing other drink alternatives. Save money and drink more water.
Diet in America is poor. Obesity rates are climbing quickly and all states exhibit obesity rates of 20% or more. The availability of cheap high calorie food might be to blame but so is the fast paced society we live in where preparing healthy meals has given way to meals that can be prepared in a few minutes or seconds.
Health issues increase dramatically as the weight increases. There is a greater risk of diabetes, a disease that can be controlled by diet and exercise and yet as a society more and more people are becoming diabetic.
The secret, eat less and eat better. Drink more water stay hydrated. Headaches are often a result of not drinking enough water.
3. The final secret even though there are hundreds of studies on this topic is getting enough sleep each day (7-8 hours). High performers get the sleep they need to continue to perform well. It is possible to get results on a few hours a sleep a night for a short period of time but for the long-term, the right amount of sleep is critical.
The formula for success is living an active healthy lifestyle. If the body isn’t healthy the mind isn’t as healthy as it should be either. Living a lifestyle of positive choices improves longevity, improves overall well-being and reduces the chances of having expensive medical care. You would think those would be great things to have but many people are making choices that push the responsibility of their health to the medical field. Why?
What are you doing to live a positive healthy lifestyle?
Posted in Attitude, happiness, heart, living life, stress
Tagged better diet, dopamine, exercise more, increase happiness, live a better life, lower stress, more focus, serotonin, take control