Dopamine is the will-to-live molecule. Motivation is its primary function. It is often called a pleasure molecule. In reality, dopamine serves more as a tool that our brains use to encourage us toward something that will bring us a reward.
America’s favorite neurotransmitter is, in fact, more like the desire molecule. You could even call it the motivation molecule.
This article is about a very powerful, but often misunderstood neurotransmitter that secretly motivates you to do almost everything you do. The article will cover:
- What Dopamine is Used For
- How to Have More Motivation
- What Jordan Peterson Says About the Relationship Between Responsibility and Meaning
The Dopamine Rat Experiment
In 2009, scientists published a study that showed a radical difference in mental state between rats with and without dopamine.
The conclusion of the experiment is that the rats who were injected with dopamine would begin pressing the food level until they literally passed out from exhaustion. This signaled a dramatic difference from the rats with their dopamine inhibited, who would not leave their nest even for food or water.
Dopamine, as you might be able infer, is lacking in people with depression. These people can still feel pleasure from good food or doing something thrilling, but they are unlikely to be exposed to good food or thrills because they will not get out of bed.
Anything that involves a reward will trigger dopamine from your brain. The problem is that our society is inundated with these activities. They include social media, junk food, and video games.
It is much easier for your body to grow an addictive dopamine routine out of junk food and video games than exercise and writing a book.
If your dopamine pathways are constantly overstimulated, you will practically become an addict toyour bad habits. It is easy to see how you could end up in a depression from here.
How to Hack Your Dopamine
There are many very productive people out there who have essentially balanced their homeostasis and tricked their body into enjoying difficult things. These people have tapped into the secrets of dopamine.
One way you can change your habits is by ingraining meaning into your routine. Positive psychology tells us that meaning is a key component of happiness. It is also a way to trigger dopamine in a healthy and balanced way.
For many people, meaning can be found in the pursuit of art, love, responsibility, and family. Let us know in the comments what other things bring you meaning that wehave not thought of.
Philosophy without an application is pointless. So we have included two ways you can actually re-structure your dopamine balance so your body begins to crave productivity.
Get a Simple Elephant Agenda:
This particular agenda is better than others because it leverages positive psychology to propel you toward your long-term goals. It comes with a generous amount of blank pages in the back that let you express yourself creatively, loosely, and spontaneously; it includes a vision board and mand map in the front that keep you aimed toward your goal; and it includes random appearances of an elephant icon throughout the regular entry pages—when you see this icon, you are supposed to go back to the mind map and vision board in the beginning and reflect on your progress.
Learn What is Meaningful to You:
Meaning aligns your dopamine levels with healthy activities. Psychologists talk about the relationship between responsibility and meaning.
If you begin to accept responsibility over things in your life, you will add meaning to your life, which is not just a principal factor in motivation, but directly plays into happiness too.
If you embrace responsibility over something, this relationship becomes a tool you can use to boost yourself into a meaning-rich lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if your responsibility is over a child, a dog, a company, or a job as a busboy.
Spending time achieving long term goals is difficult, while eating McDonalds and playing Call of Duty is easy. This is due to a molecule in your brain called dopamine. This key neurotransmitter is the hidden hand pushing you forward, no matter what is ahead—good or bad. It is important to balance dopamine by detoxing from easy, comfortable high-dopamine tasks and practicing self-control.
Luckily there are many guides on how to do this. For example, Twelve Rules for Life by Dr. Jordan Peterson offers practical applications of psychology and philosophy. Dr. Peterson is a former Harvard psychology lecturer who gained fame in the 2010s for challenging certain tropes and norms in Canada.
Dr. Peterson is a global expert on the benefits of accepting responsibility on your well-being. If you or someone you know lacks motivation, his channel on YouTube might be a good place to start