Dopamine on purpose

Choose intentionally.

Let’s talk about dopamine. Dopamine is our motivation neurotransmitter and it seeks reward and pleasure. 

We get hits of dopamine from eating sugar, social media likes, checking social media, checking email, thinking about pleasurable things/people, or finishing tasks, just to name a few things.

Because our actions can be driven almost unconsciously by our desire for dopamine hits, we want to start being more aware of where we get our dopamine on purpose. OR decide that we need less dopamine overall. 

So here’s how we can think about this. Our human brains can be rewarded in many ways. Mostly, the way our brains were designed was to be rewarded initially by things that would keep us alive, which is a very good idea.

So we are rewarded by things like accomplishment, by comfort, by food, by sex, by conserving energy.  When we were just starting to develop as humans, those were some of the things that drove us to stay alive, versus just staying in the cave, being afraid, and not going anywhere. We had dopamine driving our reward system, so we would go and seek things out.

We want to become aware of where we’re focusing our dopamine seeking. If we’re focused on getting dopamine from food, for example, we’ll be thinking about the next snack, our next meal, going to the grocery store, going to Starbucks, going to dinner, etc. However, this likely leads to a negative result of being overweight or having disordered eating.

Recently, I’ve been getting dopamine from learning through online courses, reading self-help books, and creating more in my business. I get dopamine from doing hard things—things that I “don’t feel like” doing, but I do them anyway because it serves me to do them. 

We can get dopamine from taking a walk, from completing a task (even just a small one), from seeing a clean floor after vacuuming, from singing, from creating, from anything that rewards us with some pleasure. 

When we become more aware of where our dopamine is focused, we can take better care of ourselves.

We get to decide, “I’m now going to spend more time doing these things that contribute to the life that I want and the results I want in my life.” Instead of unconsciously choosing other things that may produce negative results. 

Your turn: Where are you directing your dopamine? Where are you directing your desire? Where are you currently getting the most rewards? Where do you want to be getting rewards from on purpose? What pleasurable things would you like to create for yourself to experience and enjoy consciously?

Subscribe if you want to receive this content directly in your inbox.

Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

What’s on your mind? It can be powerful to learn from each other and our common struggles when it comes to our practice of self-care–or just being a human being. If you have something you’re struggling with and would like some perspective, share it here. Your issue may be chosen and addressed in the next post–it’ll be totally anonymous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s