Write out your responses in your Goals Sheet for this week and journal on it if you would like
When it comes to happiness, we cannot trust our brains to lead us in the right direction due to The Promise of Reward.
The reward system of the brain causes a dopamine rush. Dopamine plays a role in anticipating rewards not in experiencing them. Dopamine is for action, not happiness.
We mistake the promise of reward for happiness. Often the thing we are seeking happiness from can be the main source of our disappointment with ourselves.
Example, overeating food, spending too much money, etc. Test the promise of reward. We must distinguish wanting from happiness. Our brains mistake the promise of reward for a guarantee of happiness, so we chase satisfaction from things that do not deliver.
What gets your dopamine neurons firing? Is it the thought of staying on the couch watching TV instead of exercising, is it the thought of snacking through the workday to help reduce stress, is it the thought of a salty chip or the combination of peanut butter and chocolate?
As we now know, we tend to reach for things when we are stressed, upset, or emotional, we THINK are going to make up feel better due to the promise of reward instead of what truly helps us relieve stress.
Least effective stress-relieving strategies are; gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the internet, watching TV or movies for more than two hours.
The effective strategies boost mood-enhancing brain chemicals like serotonin and GABA, as well as the feel-good hormone oxytocin. They also shut down the brain’s stress response and reduce stress hormones.
The most effective strategies to relieve stress are exercising or playing sports, meditating, reading, listening to music, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, spending time with friends, practicing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby.
Let’s pick one effective strategy to boost mood- enhancing brain chemicals for you to engage in when your brain is telling you to go for the least effective strategies.