How To Naturally Activate The Pleasure Chemicals In The Brain
We all know that we have it within us to be as happy as we want, or can be. We also have it in us to activate and then stimulate more of the natural “pleasure” chemicals which are natural in our body, this with no side effects.
All you need to do is realize and then understand what the roles that these various happy chemicals play on the body and mind are, and how they’ve evolved over time.
There are also ways which we’re able to naturally discharge these chemicals resulting in a natural “high,” while simultaneously avoiding the unpleasant one’s in the brain. What happens is that our brains will wire itself from it’s past experiences.
Every time that these neurochemicals happens to surge, what the neurons will do is they’ll begin building connections with each other.
All of your previous life experiences, whether they were good or bad, what they did was they trained your brain to turn on or off certain brain chemicals, and have always done so in the past.
When we were younger and our brains were still developing, the neurons were able to build new connections quickly and easier. But beyond our teenage years, it becomes more difficult to build these new circuits to turn on or off at will.
What it requires is continuous repetition for it to become a habit. So what you need to do is acquire a new habit which you like, and then begin repeating it as much as possible.
Over time, all of your new “happy” habits will then begin to feel natural and impulsive as your old ones, all without needing exterior stimuli which may have unwanted side effects such as addiction.
Activating The Natural “Pleasure” Chemicals In The Brain
Getting Giddy With Endorphin
What any type of physical pain in the body does is it releases endorphin. That is what’s referred to as an endorphin high. Long distance runners, for instance, won’t get the mythical “runners high” unless they’ve pushed themselves far past their limits, usually to the point of painful distress.
What endorphin does is it causes a sense of brief euphoria which will mask the pain. In nature, the release of endorphin will help animals who are injured, and then escape from a predator.
Endorphin also helped our ancestors in running for help once they were injured, so it’s history is based more on survival, and not partying. If you happen to be “high” on endorphin at all times, then you’d be able to touch a hot stove element, or walk around with broken limbs without feeling pain.
Endorphin is meant for coping with emergencies. So if you inflict harm on yourself to stimulate the endorphin chemical, doing so isn’t a smart survival strategy.
Fortunately, there are solutions which include laughing and stretching, as doing so activates your body in irregular ways, which causes moderate endorphin flow.
This strategy however has its limits. A genuine hearty laugh can’t be produced on demand when something is funny. Proper stretching requires more technique and skill such as doing yoga.
Once you adopt the power of laughing along with proper stretching, what you’ll do is develop opportunities to trigger endorphin.
Setting Goals With Dopamine
In nature, a predator such as a lion will approach it’s prey, then dopamine surges through them which provides the additional energy that’s required for them to hunt.
Our ancestors would release dopamine when they were out in the hot desert just prior to they finally finding a watering hole. This feeling would surge directly before the actual event, such as before they sipped the water. Just seeing the water would activate dopamine in the brain.
For the lion, just smelling their prey would turn on the dopamine. The expectation of getting a reward triggers a good feeling in the brain, and will then release the additional energy which is required to get their reward.
What dopamine does is it alerts your attention to things which meets your needs. The definition of this “need” will depend on your personal life experiences.
Every time that dopamine was activated when we were young, what it did was connect the neurons in our brains. What that did was it wired the brain to meet our needs, making it feel better.
Dopamine can motivate you to seek something out. That could be a law degree, or a perfect 30 foot putt on a green. What dopamine is capable of doing is motivating persistence when pursuing things which meets your needs.
You’re also able to stimulate the good feeling that’s provided by dopamine without damaging or hurting your best interests. Begin by embracing a new goal, and then begin taking small calculated steps towards it on a daily basis.
What happens is dopamine will reward your brain every time you accomplish a new step or goal. Repetition builds new dopamine pathways until it becomes large enough to be able to compete with the dopamine habit, which you may or may not be better off without.
Building Trust With Oxytocin
Trust triggers the oxytocin chemical in the brain. All mammals have the herd mentality since their brain naturally releases oxytocin on cue. This is the reason why reptiles can’t stand being around other reptiles.
Social bonds will help these mammals in protecting their young from danger, and natural selection builds a brain which rewards the good feeling once these bonds are strengthen.
At times, this trust can be betrayed. Trusting someone who’s not that trustworthy can be bad for your survival. Your brain will releases unhappy chemicals once this trust becomes betrayed.
What this does is it paves neural pathways which will alert you not to trust as much in the future. If you happen to withhold that trust at all times, what you’re doing is depriving yourself of oxytocin.
What you can do is stimulate it by building up trust consciously. Begin by creating realistic expectations which both parties are able to meet or agree on. Each time that your expectations are met, your brain will then reward you with a dose of oxytocin.
What taking these small steps does is it will build up your oxytocin circuits. So make sure that you continuously verify, trust, and then repeat. As a result, you’ll then begin to trust yourself more as well as others.
Believe In Serotonin
What your confidence or the lack of it does is it triggers serotonin. Primates such as monkeys will always attempt to one-up each other since it stimulates their serotonin. Humans will also do the same.
After all, we did inherit this brain of ours which rewards social dominance since it promotes our genes in nature. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll still enjoy the pleasure of serotonin once you feel respected by others.
What the brain does is it seeks out more of the same feeling by repeating certain behaviors which triggered it previously. The respect which you received when you were young, paved these neural pathways which tells your brain on how to get the same respect today.
At times, individuals will seek it out in ways which can undermine their well being. The solution isn’t to dismiss your natural urge for getting status, this because you need the serotonin.
But instead, it’s better to develop belief on your own self worth. There are some people right now who are most likely respecting you at this moment, so decide to focus on that instead of you looking for disrespect.
Everyone on a daily basis has their wins and losses. If you happen to dwell on your losses, you’ll then depress your serotonin, even if you’re an executive for a Fortune 500 company.
So begin by focusing just on the wins. You may think that it may be too risky or arrogant, or you may even consider it lame, but its your serotonin which will ultimately suffer if you don’t.
Survival Of The Cortisol
Cortisol won’t make you feel that good. What it does is it will alert animals of any upcoming threats which may be urgent. Cortisol will also alert our brains of any subtle threats.
The bad feeling that’s emitted by cortisol will always be around since our everyday lives are always dependent on survival, this as long as we’re alive. It will especially grab your attention during the times when it’s not being masked by the “happy” chemicals.
You might all of a sudden get a bad gut feeling once your happy chemicals begin to wear off, even though there may be no imminent danger. If you’re not able to get comfortable with that, you might then mask it with a happy chemical stimulant which you’re familiar with.
The result is that your well being will suffer. You’ll lose the information which the cortisol is attempting to send you, and your happy habit will also begin to have side effects.
More cortisol will then begin to flow, increasing the temptation to stimulate yourself with external chemicals to make you feel better, such as drinking alcohol. This cycle can be avoided, however, if you learn how to tolerate and then manage this bad feeling once the natural happy chemical surge is over.
It doesn’t always necessarily mean that there’s something wrong. Cortisol is a steering mechanism and an alerting service which will motivate you to either approach rewards or avoid threats.
If you learn to accept the cortisol release, you’ll then free yourself from the need to mask it in bad ways. You’ll instead make better decisions which ends up with more of the happy chemicals being triggered.