Successfully reshaping your mindset and raising the good feelings of dopamine, can be a matter of a 3 second brain exercise, including one that helps you recognize “thin slices of joy.” “Right now, I’m a little thirsty, so I will drink a bit of water. And when I do that, I experience a thin slice of joy both in space and time.” It’s not like ‘Yay!”, but more like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of nice.’”
Usually these events are unremarkable: a bite of food, the sensation of stepping from a hot room to an air-conditioned room, the moment of connection in receiving a text from an old friend. Although they last two or three seconds, the moments add up, and the more you notice joy, the more you will experience joy, and the positive pleasure of dopamine.
“Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.” That’s because you’re familiarizing the mind with joy. This concept is based on neurological research about how we form habits. Habitual behaviors are controlled by the mid-brain (limbic/mammalian) region of the brain, which also plays a role in the development of memories and emotions. The better we become at something, the easier it becomes to repeat that behavior without much cognitive effort.
The “thin slice” exercise contains a trigger, a routine, and a reward—the three parts necessary to build a habit.
The trigger is the pleasant moment
The routine is the noticing of it
The reward is the feeling of joy itself
A small study by psychologists from Loyola University published a study in the journal Aging, showed that among adults over age 55, those who reported a better ability to savor life were more likely to report higher life satisfaction, regardless of ill health. For those less able to relish small events, poor health made all of life seem drearier.
The “thin slice technique” was the realization of Chade-Meng Quartzan, a former engineer, Google employee number 107, and author of, Joy on Demand, that describes his path from someone who was “constantly miserable” to a much happier guy. Sometime in his mid-20s, he discovered that he wasn’t stuck with self-loathing. It was only a temperament he discovered was malleable!
This is the art and science of managing dopamine!
Resource: Lila MacLellan, Quartz