By Donna-Christine (D.C.) McGuire
There is one Jekyll and Hyde brain chemical that if understood and used intentionally could dramatically improve life on this planet, for everyone. In the dark about dopamine? It’s an opioid cousin of cocaine and amphetamines, and with similar addictive rewards. Dopamine regularly shows up as an accomplice in times of chaos and great misery. In healthy quantities it is a powerful ally and essential to our survival. Misused, it is a remarkably unscrupulous pusher of mind – meth.
Recent neuroscience shows that dopamine can be a major culprit behind our addictions to overeating, worry, violence, conflict, and dangerous risk-taking behavior. Unknowingly, it’s often the motivation for some of our most puzzling, counter-productive, and horrific actions. Frequently, dopamine is the answer to questions like, “What was I thinking”, and “Why did I do that?”
The Drug, Made Between Our Ears, that Runs the World
False Assumption: Our behavior is at the mercy of circumstances.
Fact: Our reactions are largely driven by neurochemistry, especially dopamine, the feel-good neurochemical, naturally manufactured in our brain.
• Dopamine is the Animal (Mammalian) Brain’s pleasurable reward for eating, procreation, taking risks, novelty, confrontations, competition, anger, or fear, related to survival.
• Dopamine is also the body’s indiscriminate reward for consuming sweet and fatty foods, porn, gambling, extreme sports, quarrels, aggression, and violence (including bullying shootings, terrorism, and war).
A simple, non-scientific knowledge of dopamine, and a few easy management tips offer potential new solutions to complex personal, political, business, and social issues. No prescriptions, trainers, special equipment, or degrees in neuroscience needed to make significantly healthier, happier, more successful choices going forward!
Looking for those dopamine management tips, and solutions to some of life’s most puzzling questions? Stay tuned!