The secret to stealing dopamine
Do you need a shortcut to dopamine? One that won’t kill you? One that you could use at work without getting fired or gaining 100 pounds?
Maybe you don’t even know that this is what you’re missing. Maybe you haven’t identified that this can get you out of that blah feeling.
You know the one.
The feeling of “Is it done yet? Can we go home?”
The feeling of “I want to be in shape but I just can’t get myself to do it?”
The feeling of “what does it matter? Nothing is going to change.”
The feeling of “I should plan a healthy dinner but takeout is so much easier.”
The feeling of “It’s not working.”
The feeling of monotony, or futility, or defeat.
Hopefully it’s not just me……
What if you could just tap into that motivation neurotransmitter whenever you want (and without using sugar, vodka or cocaine)? What if instead of scrolling through social media you could actually tap into the energy and excitement needed to actually go work out instead?
What if you could steal some unearned dopamine
anytime you want?
I’m not talking about grit and determination, I’m talking about stealing some dopamine to get that feeling of reward AHEAD OF TIME so that you can get the ball rolling.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Allow me a couple sentences of science to tell you why and how we can do this. Everyone has a general understanding of dopamine, it’s the stuff that unlocks the reward center in the brain. What we forget is that this is supposed to serve a biological purpose. It is the part of the brain that rewards LIFE SUSTAINING BEHAVIORS like foraging for food when hungry and continuing the lifeline of our species in other ways (wink wink).
And because we are super smart, the brain learns that the behavior causes reward and it learns to keep doing it.
And here we thought it was just for sugar, alcohol and drugs.
Now there are natural ways to increase your overall dopamine levels such as sleep, exercise, and meditation and of course it would be great if we did all these things. The “problem” with these approaches is that they take time and discipline… whereas the little dopamine hits that we get from scrolling TikTok, online shopping, or eating chocolate are much easier. So we are constantly involved in a balancing act between the instant gratification of unproductive dopamine hits and the work it takes for the long term dopaminergic benefits of a healthy lifestyle and goal achievement.
Daunting....unless you have a hack.
And this is a good one (it has to be if we are involving dopamine.)
It involves story telling, creativity and a little ridiculousness.
Decide what it is that you want to do, what’s your goal (the one you keep saying “I should” about).
Now take a minute, pretend it is tomorrow, and tell me about all the amazing things you did today to make it happen. Really get into the nitty gritty details and get excited describing the transformation and how you “won at life” today. This is the part that may feel ridiculous.
I legit want you to tell the story out loud as if you are talking to a friend.
An example? Here’s my story about today from tomorrow’s perspective.
I cannot believe how great yesterday was. I was skeptical at first since I woke up at 4 am with a splitting headache. On top of that, it was my daughter’s birthday so I was a little nervous about how I could get all my business stuff done and have some time to do something fun. It was like the stars aligned though. I got my coffee and just started writing my blog. The words just poured out and it was totally effortless. I only took breaks for my coaching session and more coffee and then straight back to work. I was on such a roll, I decided to do my next 3 blogs so that I could spend the next month really focusing on finding new and creative ways to support struggling nurses. When I got distracted by the stupid squirrel climbing my birdfeeder, I changed rooms so I couldn’t see him and I kept working. What's even crazier was that I was so focused I didn’t even have to worry about eating healthy or exercising. I put it on my schedule and I knew it was as good as done because I follow through with what I commit to. The motivation was truly amazing. By 1:30 pm I had completed all the things so I could spend the afternoon with Phoebe. Done and done! I LOVE GETTING STUFF DONE! It was amazing how even though I got so much done, it literally felt effortless! Best. Day. Ever.
With one story, I have tapped into the dopamine rush of creativity and productivity; the dopamine rush of accomplishment. And even better, I gave my brain the roadmap of how this can actually happen today.
One blog down, three to go.
I won’t try and convince you. Try it for yourself. It feels great.
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