Feeling big concerns about the outcome of the Presidential election and its influence on the U.S. going forward? Then you’re experiencing the effects of dopamine on your mind and body. Dopamine is a natural narcotic-like neurochemical, instinctively supplied by our brain when we experience fear. Because fear always underlies anger, we get big dose of dopamine whenever we become frightened.
Unfortunately, as with any addictive drug, ultimately we succumb to doing whatever it takes to scare up our next fix – which, as it happens, couldn’t be easier. Just a conversational exchange of our darkest concerns and most frightening thoughts is enough to push dopamine into the brain. Then, because addictive drugs, including dopamine, rapidly create a drug tolerance, our anxieties and fears must become progressively more dismal and appalling (whether real or imagined) in order to maintain the same high!
Fortunately, there is another choice! Altruism. Altruism feels good because it stimulates dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin – a neurochemical combination that’s as close as we humans get to nirvana! Social connection and support release the well-being gifts of oxytocin. Serotonin is our reward for feeling worthwhile and appreciated.
We can get high on anger or altruism. Very different experiences, with extremely different outcomes. Always our choice!