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Meet Your Happy Chemicals (Part 2/5) — Dopamine

This is Part 2 of my series on the HAPPY CHEMICALS inside our brains.  For Part 1, click here.

The first happy chemical I’m going to look at is Dopamine.  Dopamine is the chemical that our brain produces when we’re about to accomplish something.  We don’t get Dopamine AFTER we’ve accomplished something – we get it RIGHT BEFORE.

So for example, say your asshole boss hands you a really annoying work project.  You slog through the BS, massaging your temples to avoid getting a migraine.  Then, just as you’re about to finish, you get a jolt of energy.

You’re almost done!  Just a few more clicks…

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That jolt of energy is Dopamine.

Your brain has evolved over time to give you that jolt, so you actually accomplish your goals and don’t end up like this…

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Dopamine is what pushes us to finish the task at hand and complete our goals.  It’s NOT that feeling of accomplishment you get after you’ve completed something.  That’s just a feeling – an emotion.  Dopamine is a chemical jolt dolled out by your brain with the express purpose of getting you to reach the finish line.

There are plenty of ways to boost your Dopamine levels on a regular basis.  One way is to constantly make small lists – like 3 or 4 things you need to do, then start checking those things off.  For example, say you set up 3 small tasks for yourself – picking up dry cleaning, emailing your friend back, and Tindering while taking a dump.

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Those are small, easy tasks.  But if you do them thoughtlessly you might miss out on a Dopamine boost.  Instead, make a list of those 3, then check them off one by one as you accomplish each.  As you’re accomplishing your 3rd task, you should get a small – but not insignificant – Dopamine boost.

Make a habit of this, and your Dopamine levels should rise significantly over time.

Another option is to be like this guy…

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Cocaine actually boosts your Dopamine levels (probably a bit higher than they should be boosted).  That jolt of energy you get when you do blow – or, um… so I’ve heard – is akin to a massive Dopamine boost.

It’s not the healthiest long-term strategy, since massive Dopamine boosts lead to huge drop-offs directly afterwards, but if you’d like to know what a big-time Dopamine jolt feels like, and you don’t have the work ethic to accomplish a major life goal, then follow the coke-clown’s lead…

Just, whatever you do, try not to end up like this…

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Meet Your Happy Chemicals (part 1/5)

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‘Meet Your Happy Chemicals’ is a book by Loretta Breuning.

It’s unfortunate that “self improvement” books like ‘The Secret’ are so popular, while actual self improvement books which are grounded in science like this one are so overlooked (of course, people are idiots, so that’s to be expected…)

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Meet Your Happy Chemicals identifies the four main neurochemicals in our brain that boost happiness – Dopamine, Endorphins, Oxytocin, Serotonin – and explains how each is created and what we can do to manage their output (and in the end, lead happier lives..).  These Happy Chemicals evolved with our brains over millions of years, and each serves a distinct purpose in relation to our survival within the animal kingdom.

This book was super controversial when it came out, because it flew in the face of the modern psychological theory which basically says that we should rise above our primitive brains and embrace our elevated consciousness. This book suggests accepting our primitive brains and working within that framework to make our lives better.

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In the following posts, I will summarize the book by explaining what each chemical does and what we can do in life to stimulate each one – thus making us all happier and more productive.

If you don’t want to wait until my next post, you can always stimulate these chemicals on your own with drugs like Prozac, cocaine, ecstasy…  or even cutting yourself!

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NOTE – I am not advocating cutting yourself.  The other stuff I might be advocating… depending on how responsible/financially well off you are.

So until next time…

Remember, even if you aren’t happy, you can always FAKE IT WITH CONFIDENCE!