What is dopamine and how it makes you feel? How dopamine affects your brain?

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“I am going to study from tomorrow”, I told myself. The next morning before I got down to study, I thought of giving a glance to my social media feeds. One thing led to another and my books were left untouched throughout the day. At night I felt guilty of how I wasted my whole day. But I assured myself that the next day was going to be very productive. Unfortunately, the loop kept repeating and repeating. 

“I am going to go work out from tomorrow.” The very next evening, before I put on my running shoes, I decided to watch an episode of the series I was watching. I hardly moved an inch away from the screen.

How many of you reading this article have fallen for any of the above? 

I am sure most of you would have fallen prey to the above-mentioned circumstances. We keep delaying the imperative stuff in our lives.

Have you ever wondered why it happens? Why are you entangled in such low fruitful activities?

The answer to this is Dopamine.

WHAT IS DOPAMINE?

Dopamine in the brain is an important neurotransmitter that is often attributed to pleasure chemical. In simple words, dopamine is a sense of reward which is released when you do something that derives us exhilaration, be it watching movies, porn, or playing games. Well, it varies from individual to individual. Till here, it’s all normal. The release of dopamine produces sensations in your minds which makes you feel great. But the problem arises when we become addicted to dopamine. 

WHAT DOPAMINE DOES TO YOUR CRAVINGS

When you are hooked to dopamine, you constantly crave it. Why do you think it’s hard for you to resist an episode or chocolate, why is it so difficult for you to quit the porn addiction? It’s simply because dopamine floods your system the moment you look at the things, that you feel, will make you happy and satisfy your cravings.

When you develop a habit, be it good or bad, it’s hard to get rid of that habit. You need that enjoyment. Without dopamine, you start to feel uncomfortable, as your mind is searching for the next dopamine hit. That is why you develop this habit of instant gratification.

With social media, a major part of our lives, we repeatedly look for new updates on our feed. We have that desperation for likes because all these activities are providing us with instant gratification or, I should say, prompt dopamine. Many tech giants and researchers spend a tremendous amount of time in discovering new ways to release dopamine. That is why you see the followers and likes options on various apps. Don’t forget the explore option which displays the type of stuff you are interested in. Many apps have been coined to give you a hero-like-feel, which enhances your demand for it.    

During old times our grandparents were devoid of technology. They would spend hours chatting and reading. For them, that was the release of dopamine. With the paradigm shift, our dopamine drivers have gone through a massive change. Almost all the worthless activities are linked to the release of dopamine.   

That’s not it. After you have been used to a certain level of dopamine, your mind aims a bigger reward, until you get addicted to it. This process keeps on and on.

It is just a few moments of satisfaction that your mind seeks. Your mind has now created it an integral part of it. It hampers our concentration. You get down to read, and there is a certain urge to go through the cell phone.

Our attention span is so low nowadays. We have an environment that does not let us grow. Life becomes worse when we are hooked to drugs, sex, etc.

All the unwanted, unacceptable activities have a direct correlation with dopamine. Lust, drugs, porn, sex, generates a powerful surge in the release of dopamine. When you get the taste of that high intent of dopamine, it is next to impossible to resist. Without all these activities you are in a predicament, dying to attain the dopamine hit. Your mental desire for Dopamine stimulates you to take action and receive it. If you fail to achieve it, you have an impinge on your body and mind. Of course, you would have seen or read about drug addicts. 

Dopamine is necessary for your body but only to some extent. Too much of it starts to influence your mind disrupts your mindset. Dopamine is one of the key reasons why we are inconsistent whenever it comes to improving. One day, we work so hard. The other day is just wasted lying around- all because of our addiction to dopamine.

Well, are you familiar with the concept of ‘dopamine fasting’?

Simply put, it’s the abstinence from anything that pleases you, be it, social media, video games, sex, and so on.  It’s a newish fad that started in Silicon Valley that helps one de-stress and limit compulsive behaviors. Once in a while, we can also go in for dopamine fasting. This concept needs more awareness in India, though.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Limit your cravings for dopamine levels. You must prioritize the vital stuff. We need to reflect and control our minds. In true sense, rewards should only come from repeated efforts and patience. You need to create a balance. You need to delay your gratification.

Dopamine is a reward. You should treat it that way. 


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