Dopamine Quotes

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Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: ‘Happiness begins within.’ Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Bending his head, Kai pressed his lips to her knuckles. The plating had no nerve endings, and yet the touch sent a tingle of electricity along her arm. “Cinder?” “Mm?” He lifted his gaze. “Just to be clear, you’re not using your mind powers on me right now, are you?” She blinked. “Of course not.” “Just checking.” Then he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her. Cinder gasped, pressing her palms against his chest. Kai pulled her closer. Seconds later, her brain began registering all the new chemicals flooding her system. INCREASED LEVELS OF DOPAMINE AND ENDORPHINS, REDUCED AMOUNTS OF CORTISOL, ERRATIC PULSE, RISING BLOOD PRESSURE … Leaning into him, Cinder sent the messages away. Her hands tentatively made their way to his shoulders, before stringing around his neck.
Marissa Meyer
The exaggerated dopamine sensitivity of the introvert leads one to believe that when in public, introverts, regardless of its validity, often feel to be the center of (unwanted) attention hence rarely craving attention. Extroverts, on the other hand, seem to never get enough attention. So on the flip side it seems as though the introvert is in a sense very external and the extrovert is in a sense very internal - the introvert constantly feels too much 'outerness' while the extrovert doesn't feel enough 'outerness'.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
That's what falling in love really amounted to, your brain on drugs. Adrenaline and dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. Chemical insanity, celebrated by poets.
Tess Gerritsen (Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles, #10))
When the eyes of a woman that a man finds attractive look directly at him, his brain secretes the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine - but not when she looks elsewhere.
Daniel Goleman (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships)
Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains — cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes evermore computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
Perempuan memang tidak bisa diajak berpikir jernih jika menyangkut perihal lelaki. Dalam situasi seperti ini, kepala mereka dipenuhi kabur merah muda bernama dopamine yang meracuni sel-sel kelabu mereka dengan berbagai ide romantis yang absurd.
Windry Ramadhina (Montase)
Most people are about as happy as their self confidence will allow them to be.
Shannon L. Alder
Because what we associate with the idea of love is purely chemical. It can be broken down into scientifically proven phases: it starts with a dose of testosterone and estrogen, what we would think of as ‘lust,’ followed by the goofy ‘lovesick’ phase, which is a combination of adrenaline, dopamine, and a drop in serotonin levels—which, by the way, makes our brains behave exactly like the brains of crack addicts—and ends up, if we make it through phases one and two, with ‘attachment,’ where the body produces oxytocin and vasopressin, which basically make us want to cuddle excessively. It’s science. That’s all.
Cynthia Hand (The Last Time We Say Goodbye)
The paradox is that hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure for it's own sake, leads to anhedonia. Which is the inability to enjoy pleasure of any kind.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Because we’ve transformed the world from a place of scarcity to a place of overwhelming abundance: Drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting . . . the increased numbers, variety, and potency of highly rewarding stimuli today is staggering. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
People are attracted more towards bad things because being good has been turned into a boring duty. No adrenaline & dopamine rush, no rewards!
Saurabh Sharma
What is love when it's not for dopamine?
Saurabh Sharma
The warmth and satisfaction of positive contact with the adult is often just as good as a psychostimulant in supplying the child’s prefrontal cortex with dopamine.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It)
Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. To make matters worse, the prefrontal cortex has a novelty bias, meaning that its attention can be easily hijacked by something new—the proverbial shiny objects
Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
Love? Dopamine released in the brain, which gets depleted over time, leaving contempt.
Marisha Pessl (Night Film)
When a person sees someone attractive to them, their eyes dilate twenty percent. Their brain floods with dopamine, which makes them happy. Thus, they believe it’s love. That’s a medical fact. Love doesn’t exist.
Kelly Moran (Residual Burn (Redwood Ridge, #4))
Each happy chemical triggers a different good feeling. Dopamine produces the joy of finding what you seek– the “Eureka! I got it!” feeling. Endorphin produces the oblivion that masks pain– often called “euphoria.” Oxytocin produces the feeling of being safe with others– now called “bonding.” And serotonin produces the feeling of being respected by others–“pride.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
Carol, I can’t describe how you make me feel. Wait, no, I can—you make my mind release pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters and you’ve flooded my mind with dopamine. If the experience of snorting cocaine and getting so high out of my mind that I want to climb a telephone pole with my bare hands just to see if I can do it were a person, it would be you.
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance: An Investigation)
For Abby, "friend" is a word whose sharp corners have been worn smooth by overuse. "I'm friends with the guys in IT," she might say, or "I'm meeting some friends after work." But she remembers when the word "friend" could draw blood. She and Gretchen spent hours ranking their friendships, trying to determine who was a best friend and who was an everyday friend, debating whether anyone could have two best friends at the same time, writing each other's names over and over in purple ink, buzzed on the dopamine high of belonging to someone else, having a total stranger choose you, someone who wanted to know you, another person who cared that you were alive.
Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend's Exorcism)
You’d think people would realize they’re bad at multitasking and would quit. But a cognitive illusion sets in, fueled in part by a dopamine-adrenaline feedback loop, in which multitaskers think they are doing great.
Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
...what draws us into a story and keeps us there is the firing of our dopamine neurons, signaling that intriguing information is on the way.
Lisa Cron (Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence)
In other words, dopamine is not about the happiness of reward. It's about the happiness of pursuit of reward that has a decent chance of occurring.
Robert M. Sapolsky
Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.1
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
From dopamine’s point of view, having things is uninteresting. It’s only getting things that matters. If you live under a bridge, dopamine makes you want a tent. If you live in a tent, dopamine makes you want a house. If you live in the most expensive mansion in the world, dopamine makes you want a castle on the moon. Dopamine has no standard for good, and seeks no finish line. The dopamine circuits in the brain can be stimulated only by the possibility of whatever is shiny and new, never mind how perfect things are at the moment. The dopamine motto is “More.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
I don't believe. Religion? Humans desperate to take out infinity insurance. Death? The great big nada. Love? Dopamine released in the brain, which gets depleted over time, leaving contempt.
Marisha Pessl (Night Film)
Lessons of the balance. 1. The relentless pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain, leads to pain. 2. Recovery begins with abstinence 3. Abstinence rests the brains reward pathway and with it our capacity to take joy and simpler pleasures. 4. Self-binding creates literal and metacognitive space between desire and consumption, a modern necessity in our dopamine overloaded world. 5. Medications can restore homeostasis, but consider what we lose by medicating away our pain. 6. Pressing on the pain side, resets our balance to the side of pleasure. 7. Beware of getting addicted to pain. 8. Radical honesty promotes awareness, enhances intimacy and fosters a plenty mindset. 9. Prosocial shame affirms that we belong to the human tribe. 10. Instead of running away from the world, we can find escape by immersing ourselves in it.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
We all know that feeling of wanting something so bad and then finally getting it. You feel this rush of dopamine, and then very soon after you crash and you need something else to give you that hit of dopamine. This is the vicious cycle that emerges from the empty promise of capitalism – that happiness comes from acquiring material possessions. The Native Americans have one of the most beautiful concepts in the world. They have 10,000 different languages and all these tribes and none of them have a word for ownership or possession. They know that they are just temporary stewards of the earth; no one can truly own anything.
Todd Perelmuter (Spiritual Words to Live by : 81 Daily Wisdoms and Meditations to Transform Your Life)
Dopamine can be read as the ultimate feminist chemical in the female brain.
Naomi Wolf (Vagina: Revised and Updated)
Because of these exaggerated dopamine responses, once they focus on the chance to get a reward, psychopaths are unable to alter their attention until they get what they're after.
Kevin Dutton (The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success)
After kicking opiates, “it takes two years for your dopamine receptors to start working naturally,” Paul
Sam Quinones (Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic)
High levels of dopamine suppress H&N functioning, so brilliant people are often poor at human relationships. We need H&N empathy to understand what’s going on in other people’s minds, an essential skill for social interaction.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
Studies show any movement, but particularly walking, will ease anxiety when we’re in the middle of a stress hormone surge. Indeed, the studies show that a mere 20–30 minute walk, five times a week, will make people less anxious, as effectively as antidepressants. Even better, the effect is immediate—serotonin, dopamine and endorphins all increase as soon as you start moving.
Sarah Wilson (First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety)
Narcissistic Supply You get discarded as supply for one of two reason: They find you too outspoken about their abuse. They prefer someone that will keep stroking their ego and remain their silent doormat. Or, they found new narcissistic supply. Either way, you can count on the fact that they planned your devaluation phase and smear campaign in advance, so they could get one more ego stroke with your reaction. Narcissists are angry, spiteful takers that don't have empathy, remorse or conscience. They are incapable of unconditional love. Love to them is giving only when it serves them. They gaslight their victims by minimizing the trauma they have caused by blaming others or stating you are too sensitive. They never feel responsible or will admit to what they did to you. They have disordered thinking that is concerned with their needs and ego. It is not uncommon for them to hack their targets, in order to gain information about them. They enjoy mind games and control. This is their dopamine high. The sooner you distance yourself the healthier you will become. Narcissism can't be cured or prayed away. It is a mental disorder that turns the victims of its abuse into mental patients because it causes so much psychological manipulation.
Shannon L. Alder
Is that what God does? He helps? Tell me, why didn't God help my innocent friend who died for no reason while the guilty ran free? Okay. Fine. Forget the one offs. How about the countless wars declared in his name? Okay. Fine. Let's skip the random, meaningless murder for a second, shall we? How about the racist, sexist, phobia soup we've all been drowning in because of him? And I'm not just talking about Jesus. I'm talking about all organized religion. Exclusive groups created to manage control. A dealer getting people hooked on the drug of hope. His followers, nothing but addicts who want their hit of bullshit to keep their dopamine of ignorance. Addicts. Afraid to believe the truth. That there's no order. There's no power. That all religions are just metastasizing mind worms, meant to divide us so it's easier to rule us by the charlatans that wanna run us. All we are to them are paying fanboys of their poorly-written sci-fi franchise. If I don't listen to my imaginary friend, why the fuck should I listen to yours? People think their worship's some key to happiness. That's just how he owns you. Even I'm not crazy enough to believe that distortion of reality. So fuck God. He's not a good enough scapegoat for me.
Elliot Alderson
Giving in to craving doesn’t necessarily lead to pleasure because wanting is different from liking. Dopamine makes promises that it is in no position to keep. “If you buy these shoes, your life will change,” says the desire circuit, and it just might happen, but not because dopamine made you feel it.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
The reason we’re all so miserable may be because we’re working so hard to avoid being miserable.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Jessie?” “Hmmm?” “I’m glad we’re dating now.” Cue her arguments in 3…2…1… “We’re…not dating.” I grin at the ceiling. “Sure we are. We did it on my bed.” I shrug. “That means we’re dating.” “That’s not how it works!” she protests, raking a hand through her golden hair. “You don’t date people. Everyone says so. I mean, you’re just going there now because we had spectacular sex and you want more of it. It’s just the dopamine talking. I read up on this for my pharmacology exam.” I snort. “You’re saying I’m driving under the influence of orgasms?
Sarina Bowen (Good Boy (WAGs, #1))
Pornography causes release of adrenaline from an area in the brain called the locus coeruleus, and this makes the heart race in those who view, or even anticipate, viewing pornography. The sexual pleasure of pornography may be partially caused by release of dopamine from the ventral tegmental area, and this stimulates the nucleus accumbens, one of the key pleasure centers of the brain.
Donald L. Hilton Jr. (He Restoreth my Soul)
During times of physical separation, when touching and caressing is impossible, a deep, longing, almost a hunger, for the beloved can set in. We are used to thinking of this longing as only psychological, but it's actually physical. The brain is virtually in a drug-withdrawal state. During a separation, motivation for reunion can reach a fever pitch in the brain. Activities such as caressing, kissing, gazing, hugging, and orgasm can replenish the chemical bond of love and trust in the brain. The oxytocin-dopamine rush once again suppresses anxiety and skepticism and reinforces the love circuits in the brain. From an experiment we also know that oxytocin is naturally released in the brain after a twenty-second hug from a partner- sealing the bond between huggers and triggering the brain's trust circuits.
Louann Brizendine (The Female Brain)
Nothing speeds brain atrophy more than being immobilized in the same environment: the monotony undermines our dopamine and attentional systems crucial to our brain plasticity.
Norman Doidge
May your cortisol levels stay low, your dopamine levels high, your oxytocin run thick and rich, your serotonin build to a lovely plateau, and your ability to watch your brain at work keep you fascinated until your last breath. I wish you well on your journey.
David Rock (Your Brain at Work)
In time, as if by magic, we will realize that we have developed a deep bond with this person. The madness and excitement and spontaneity of the dopamine hit is replaced by a more relaxed, more stable, more long-term oxytocin-driven relationship. A vastly more valuable state if we have to rely on someone to help us do things and protect us when we’re weak. My favorite definition of love is giving someone the power to destroy us and trusting they won’t use it.
Simon Sinek (Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't)
You can change dopamine and the dorsal striatum with exercise. You can boost serotonin with a massage. You can make decisions and set goals to activate the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. You can reduce amygdala activity with a hug and increase anterior cingulate activity with gratitude. You can enhance prefrontal norepinephrine with sleep.
Alex Korb (The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)
each is associated with different neurochemicals. Lust is associated primarily with the hormone testosterone in both men and women. Romantic love is linked with the natural stimulant dopamine and perhaps norepinephrine and serotonin. And feelings of male-female attachment are produced primarily by the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin. Moreover,
Helen Fisher (Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love)
In neuroscience, our textbook showed how the brain scans of people newly in love look a lot like the brain scans of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In each case, your dopamine is suppressing your serotonin.
Daria Snadowsky (Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy, #2))
You know when you send a text message to someone and you don't get a response right away, you feel depressed? You send a text message to someone you really like and you get a response right away you feel happy? You feel happy, the body, it creates the chemical dopamine, the dopamine, it goes through your blood and you become addicted to that dopamine rush, and you associate that dopamine rush with the happy feeling of receiving the text, and that's why you got people sending 3,000 fucking text messages a day, right, we're not even paying attention to what we're saying anymore it's just like a, like a morphine drip, right, it's like a dopamine drip! HAPPY BUTTONS! HAPPY BUTTONS! HAPPY BUTTONS! TIME TO PLAY WITH THE HAPPY BUTTONS!
Tom Green
When a monkey loses a banana to a rival, he feels bad, but he doesn't expand the problem by thinking about it over and over. He looks for another banana. He ends up feeling rewarded rather than harmed. Humans use their extra neurons to construct theories about bananas and end up constructing pain.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin Levels)
exercise has yet to be embraced as a medical treatment. It doesn’t simply raise serotonin or dopamine or norepinephrine. It adjusts all of them, to levels that, we can only presume, have been optimally programmed by evolution.
John J. Ratey (Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)
I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Love is nothing more than elevated levels of dopamine, nor-epinephrine, and other chemicals. But the way Uncle Antionio's face lights up as they dance... I wonder what it would be like to feel that. To let the chemicals of romance take over for just a little while. Then I remember that I am immortal and that my body doesn't work like everyone else's. Who knows if I can even feel love?
Jessica Khoury (Origin (Corpus, #1))
Dopamine isn’t the pleasure molecule, after all. It’s the anticipation molecule. To enjoy the things we have, as opposed to the things that are only possible, our brains must transition from future-oriented dopamine to present-oriented chemicals, a collection of neurotransmitters we call the Here and Now molecules, or the H&Ns. Most people have heard of the H&Ns. They include serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins (your brain’s version of morphine), and a class of chemicals called endocannabinoids (your brain’s version of marijuana). As opposed to the pleasure of anticipation via dopamine, these chemicals give us pleasure from sensation and emotion. In fact, one of the endocannabinoid molecules is called anandamide, named after a Sanskrit word that means joy, bliss, and delight.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
Cynicism is popular because it stimulates the brain chemicals that make you feel good. It stimulates dopamine by making the world feel predictable. It triggers serotonin by making you feel superior to “the jerks.” It triggers oxytocin by telling you who to trust. You pay a high price for these moments, unfortunately, because cynicism keeps you focused on problems instead of opportunities.
Loretta Graziano Breuning
Take dopamine. Elevated levels of dopamine in the brain produce extremely focussed attention,2 as well as unwavering motivation and goal-directed behaviors.3 These are central characteristics of romantic love. Lovers intensely focus on the beloved, often to the exclusion of all around them. Indeed, they concentrate so relentlessly on the positive qualities of the adored one that they easily overlook his or her negative traits;4 they even dote on specific events and objects shared with this sweetheart.
Helen Fisher (Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love)
I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to. The rewards of finding and maintaining balance are neither immediate nor permanent. They require patience and maintenance. We must be willing to move forward despite being uncertain of what lies ahead. We must have faith that actions today that seem to have no impact in the present moment are in fact accumulating in a positive direction, which will be revealed to us only at some unknown time in the future. Healthy practices happen day by day. My patient Maria said to me, “Recovery is like that scene in Harry Potter when Dumbledore walks down a darkened alley lighting lampposts along the way. Only when he gets to the end of the alley and stops to look back does he see the whole alley illuminated, the light of his progress.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
According to scientists, there are three stages of love: lust, attraction, and attachment. And, it turns out, each of the stages is orchestrated by chemicals—neurotransmitters—in the brain. As you might expect, lust is ruled by testosterone and estrogen. The second stage, attraction, is governed by dopamine and serotonin. When, for example, couples report feeling indescribably happy in each other’s presence, that’s dopamine, the pleasure hormone, doing its work. Taking cocaine fosters the same level of euphoria. In fact, scientists who study both the brains of new lovers and cocaine addicts are hard-pressed to tell the difference. The second chemical of the attraction phase is serotonin. When couples confess that they can’t stop thinking about each other, it’s because their serotonin level has dropped. People in love have the same low serotonin levels as people with OCD. The reason they can’t stop thinking about each other is that they are literally obsessed. Oxytocin and vasopressin control the third stage: attachment or long-term bonding. Oxytocin is released during orgasm and makes you feel closer to the person you’ve had sex with. It’s also released during childbirth and helps bond mother to child. Vasopressin is released postcoitally. Natasha knows these facts cold. Knowing them helped her get over Rob’s betrayal. So she knows: love is just chemicals and coincidence. So why does Daniel feel like something more?
Nicola Yoon (The Sun Is Also a Star)
There are few things ever dreamed of, smoked or injected that have as addictive an effect on our brains as technology. This is how our devices keep us captive and always coming back for more. The definitive Internet act of our times is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward: we search. And we search. And we search some more, clicking that mouse like – well, like a rat in a cage seeking another “hit”, looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough.
Kelly McGonigal (Maximum Willpower)
This brings up a key concept, namely the inverted U. The complete absence of stress is aversively boring. Moderate, transient stress is wonderful—various aspects of brain function are enhanced; glucocorticoid levels in that range enhance dopamine release; rats work at pressing levers in order to be infused with just the right amount of glucocorticoids. And as stress becomes more severe and prolonged, those good effects disappear (with, of course, dramatic individual differences as to where the transition from stress as stimulatory to overstimulatory occurs; one person’s nightmare is another’s hobby).
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
The feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and energy dissipate. Dopamine has shut down. Dopamine circuits don’t process experience in the real world, only imaginary future possibilities. For many people it’s a letdown. They’re so attached to dopaminergic stimulation that they flee the present and take refuge in the comfortable world of their own imagination. “What will we do tomorrow?” they ask themselves as they chew their food, oblivious to the fact that they’re not even noticing this meal they had so eagerly anticipated. To travel hopefully is better than to arrive is the motto of the dopamine enthusiast.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, . . . was all about: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.
Cal Newport (Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World)
Trick #3—excitement is not the same thing as fulfillment
Thibaut Meurisse (Dopamine Detox : A Short Guide to Remove Distractions and Get Your Brain to Do Hard Things (Productivity Series Book 1))
Dopamine and constant stimulation can impair your ability to think long term
Thibaut Meurisse (Dopamine Detox : A Short Guide to Remove Distractions and Get Your Brain to Do Hard Things (Productivity Series Book 1))
And it turns out that dopamine is made from protein—specifically, from the amino acid known as tyrosine, which is found in both animal and vegetable forms of protein.
Ben Lynch (Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health)
Why would I waste time—a highly precious, constantly diminishing resource—on transitory neurological fluctuations of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin?
Marisha Pessl (Neverworld Wake)
The volunteers displaying high levels of psychopathic traits released almost four times as much dopamine in response to the stimulant as did their non-psychopathic counterparts.
Kevin Dutton (The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success)
Bring your dopamine or adrenaline level down by activating other regions of the brain other than the prefrontal cortex.
David Rock (Your Brain at Work)
understanding that exposure to early adversity affects the way dopamine functions in the brain is an absolute must.
Nadine Burke Harris (The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity)
Evolution doesn't give a damn about your happiness, but will use the promise of happiness (using dopamine rushes) to keep you hunting, gathering, working, and wooing.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It)
higher concentration of dopamine appears to lower skepticism and result in greater vulnerability to pattern detection; an
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
I prefer to control my brain's dopamine reactions myself. Not be at the mercy of... butterflies.
Ed Brubaker (My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies)
Dopamine is the chemical that fuels the brain’s pleasure center, producing the kind of euphoria we associate with feeling fully alive. This
Ori Brafman (Click: The Magic of Instant Connections)
It is the anticipation of a reward—not the fulfillment of it—that gets us to take action. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine spike.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
If you want to be happy with your music all the time, start exposing yourself to unfamiliar music now, so it will be in the sweet spot by the time you’ve worn out the old pleasures.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
brainwaves slow from agitated beta to daydreamy alpha and deeper theta. Neurochemically, stress chemicals like norepinephrine and cortisol are replaced by performance-enhancing, pleasure-producing compounds such as dopamine, endorphins, anandamide, serotonin, and oxytocin.
Steven Kotler (Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work)
FOUR HAPPY CHEMICALS Dopamine: the joy of finding what you seek Endorphin: the oblivion that masks pain Oxytocin: the comfort of social alliances Serotonin: the security of social importance
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels)
New lovers tend to “lose their minds” and do all sorts of crazy things in the heat of the moment. One study showed that new lovers’ brains have a lot in common with people on cocaine. Dopamine is sometimes called the “drug of desire.” Too much dopamine, from being “high with excitement,
David Rock (Your Brain at Work)
In his book In This Very Life, the Burmese meditation teacher Sayadaw U Pandita, wrote, "In their quest for happiness, people mistake excitement of the mind for real happiness." We get excited when we hear good news, start a new relationship, or ride a roller coaster. Somewhere in human history, we were conditioned to think that the feeling we get when dopamine fires in our brain equals happiness. Don't forget, this was probably set up so that we would remember where food could be found, not to give us the feeling "you are now fulfilled." To be sure, defining happiness is a tricky business, and very subjective. Scientific definitions of happiness continue to be controversial and hotly debated. The emotion doesn't seem to be something that fits into a survival-of-the-fittest learning algorithm. But we can be reasonably sure that the anticipation of a reward isn't happiness.
Judson Brewer (The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits)
Most people think love comes from the heart or soul. The heart simply pumps blood, so love can't be created there. Where is the center for what appears to be a person's soul? The Brain. And what is created there, Jilly? That's right--dopamine. What does dopamine do? Creates feelings of love and euphoria. How do we get our brains to create more? Drugs, massage, and/or sex. Boil it down and it's all just dopamine.
Kaya McLaren (How I Came to Sparkle Again)
but we have reached the point now where even the most sublime experience of Nature on Earth has devolved into just one more means to an end to getting likes on social media. People are dancing with the possibility of death just to steal a little dopamine rush to the brain which will wear off in a few seconds anyway and for a status update which will be buried by the algorithm after just 24 hours due to a lack of relevance.
Chad A. Haag (Hermeneutical Death: The Technological Destruction of Subjectivity)
She and Gretchen spent hours ranking their friendships, trying to determine who was a best friend and who was an everyday friend, debating whether anyone could have two best friends at the same time, writing each other’s names over and over in purple ink, buzzed on the dopamine high of belonging to someone else, having a total stranger choose you, someone who wanted to know you, another person who cared that you were alive.
Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend's Exorcism)
The nucleus accumbens, a region of the forebrain associated with pleasure, grows to its largest size in one’s teenage years. At the same time, the body produces more dopamine, the neurotransmitter that conveys pleasure, than it ever will again. That is why the sensations you feel as a teenager are more intense than at any other time of life. But it also means that seeking pleasure is an occupational hazard for teenagers. The leading cause of deaths among teenagers is accidents—and the leading cause of accidents is simply being with other teenagers. When more than one teenager is in a car, for instance, the risk of an accident multiplies by 400 percent.
Bill Bryson (The Body: A Guide for Occupants)
Digital vegetables can be a healthy use of screens (researching a term paper), while digital candy (Minecraft, Candy Crush) are hyperarousing and dopamine-activating digital stimulants without any ostensible 'health benefit'.
Nicholas Kardaras (Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids -- And How to Break the Trance)
Kuhnen and Brian Knutson have found that men who are shown erotic pictures just before they gamble take more risks than those shown neutral images like desks and chairs. This is because anticipating rewards—any rewards, whether or not related to the subject at hand—excites our dopamine-driven reward networks and makes us act more rashly.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
We’re all running from pain. Some of us take pills. Some of us couch surf while binge-watching Netflix. Some of us read romance novels. We’ll do almost anything to distract ourselves from ourselves. Yet all this trying to insulate ourselves from pain seems only to have made our pain worse.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
This,” Alaric explained to Sarah in what he thought was a kindly voice, “isn’t love you’re feeling. Only dopamine. Because Felix isn’t like anyone else you know. Being a creature of the night, he’s new and exciting and activates a neurotransmitter in your brain that releases feelings of euphoria when you’re around him…especially because you know you can never actually be together, and he seems complicated, and perhaps even sensitive and vulnerable at times. But I can assure you: he’s anything but.” “How dare you?” Sarah demanded hotly. “It isn’t dopa…whatever! It’s love! Love!
Meg Cabot (Insatiable (Insatiable, #1))
[E]mpathy without accountability is a shortsighted attempt to relieve suffering.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
But, there is a cost to medicating away every type of human suffering, and as we shall see, there is an alternative path that might work better: embracing pain.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
The warmth and satisfaction of positive contact with the adult is often just as good as a psychostimulant in supplying the child’s prefrontal cortex with dopamine. Greater security means less anxiety and more focused attention. The unseen factor that remains constant in all situations is the child’s unconscious yearning for attachment, dating back to the first years of life.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It)
Here’s my point. The world is working against you. There will always be someone trying to grab your attention. As such, you have two choices. You can protect your focus by building habits and systems, or you can remain unprepared and let anyone distract you from the important things you should be doing with your time.
Thibaut Meurisse (Dopamine Detox : A Short Guide to Remove Distractions and Get Your Brain to Do Hard Things (Productivity Series Book 1))
As the neuroscientist, Daniel Freedman, who studies the foraging practices of Red Harvester ants, once remarked to me: "The world is sensory rich and causal poor". That is to say, we know the donut tastes good in the moment, but we are less aware that eating a donut every day for a month, adds 5 pounds to our waistline.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
What science offers for explaining the feelings we experience when believing in God or falling in love is complementary, not conflicting; additive, not detractive. I find it deeply interesting to know that when I fall in love with someone my initial lustful feelings are enhanced by dopamine, a neurohormone produced by the hypothalamus that triggers the release of testosterone, the hormone that drives sexual desire, and that my deeper feelings of attachment are reinforced by oxytocin, a hormone synthesized in the hypothalamus and secreted into the blood by the pituitary. Further, it is instructive to know that such hormone-induced neural pathways are exclusive to monogamous pair-bonded species as an evolutionary adaptation for the long-term care of helpless infants. We fall in love because our children need us! Does this in any way lessen the qualitative experience of falling in love and doting on one’s children? Of course not, any more than unweaving a rainbow into its constituent parts reduces the aesthetic appreciation of the rainbow.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
Even having saved the world doesn't make me feel good about myself. Perhaps it's something you get habituated to; each new world-saving moment has to be bigger and better than the last to give you that same dopamine and serotonin kick. Maybe heroes are just junkies.
Charlie Human (Kill Baxter (Apocalypse Now Now #2))
Driving a car provides a person with a rush of dopamine in the brain, which hormonal induced salience spurs modalities of creative and critical thinking regarding philosophical concepts such as truth, logical necessity, possibility, impossibility, chance, and contingency.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Music gives pleasure because your mind keeps predicting what comes next. Each correct prediction triggers dopamine. You can't make good predictions for unfamiliar music, so you don't get the dopamine. But when music is too familiar, something strange happens. You don't get the dopamine either because your brain predicts it effortlessly. To make you happy, music must be at the sweet spot of novelty and familiarity.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin Levels)
When you eat your favorite food, 150 dopamine units are released. When you have sex, 200 dopamine units are released. But when you use methamphetamine, 1050 dopamine units are released—five times more dopamine than is released during sex. Even cocaine use only releases 340 units.
Ellen Hopkins (Flirtin' With the Monster: Your Favorite Authors on Ellen Hopkins' Crank and Glass)
But it turns out that dopamine is a chemical on double duty in the brain. Along with its role in motor commands, it also serves as the main messenger in the reward systems, guiding a person toward food, drink, mates, and all things useful for survival. Because of its role in the reward system, imbalances in dopamine can trigger gambling, overeating, and drug addiction—behaviors that result from a reward system gone awry.
David Eagleman (Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)
Conspiracy theories are really attractive. Figuring out patterns is one of the things that gets your brain to give you a nice dose of chemical reward, the little ping of dopamine and whatever else that keeps you smiling. As a result, your brain is pretty good at finding patterns, and at disregarding information that doesn’t fit. Which means it’s also pretty good at finding false patterns, and at confirmation bias, and a bunch of other things that can be fatal. Our brains are also really good at making us the center of a narrative, because it’s what we evolved for.
Elizabeth Bear (Ancestral Night (White Space, #1))
The biochemistry of pleasure can counteract the biochemistry of aging. Nitric oxide is the über-neurotransmitter that increases and balances levels of all the others: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin (a bonding neurotransmitter released while breast-feeding, experiencing an orgasm, or even enjoying the company of others), and DMT, which is generated in the pineal gland in the brain and probably plays a role in dreaming.3
Christiane Northrup (Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being)
Vanderbilt University scientists had discovered chemically testable differences between psychopaths and others. One was the variance in levels of dopamine, a naturally produced chemical that contributed to a person’s motivation and pleasure. Those scientists concluded that the elevated level of dopamine was not an additional symptom to the personality abnormalities already known, but rather responsible for the personality changes.
Michael Benson (Watch Mommy Die)
As psychologist Susan Weinschenk explained,[52] ‘dopamine causes us to want, desire, seek out, and search’. Yet ‘the dopamine system is stronger than the opioid system. We seek more than we are satisfied. ... Seeking is more likely to keep us alive than sitting around in a satisfied stupor.
Gary Wilson (Your Brain On Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction)
There are 2.5 quintillion bits of information added to the Internet every day. As a result, each time we access the Web, we are offered something new, a shot of dopamine: a like! a share! an email! a purchase! Our egos are bolstered, our nervous energy absorbed. While ideas can spark online, it’s more often through face-to-face conversations, sketches in our source books, extended hours lost in a project or even in sleep, that ideas grow legs.
Christina Crook (The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World)
When people have trouble with their emotions – a bout of anxiety or depression, say, or seasonal gloominess - they often want science to pinpoint an offending neurotransmitter in the way that a witness picks the perp out of a lineup. Is it excessive norepinephrine, too little dopamine, errant estrogen? The answer is apt to dissatisfy: no single suspect can be fingered with confidence because the question itself attributes a fallacious simplicity to the brain.
Thomas Lewis (A General Theory of Love)
I had avoided writing about love. I had never sensed that rush and buzz that comes with love, the release into the brain of body chemicals, pheromones and dopamine - the taste of love to which I was becoming addicted, his spearminty tongue when we kissed, his male sweat, the outdoor vanilla tang of his semen.
Chloe Thurlow (Katie in Love)
One stretch of the gene is repeated a variable number of times, and the version with seven repeats (the “7R” form) produces a receptor protein that is sparse in the cortex and relatively unresponsive to dopamine. This is the variant associated with a host of related traits—sensation and novelty seeking, extroversion, alcoholism, promiscuity, less sensitive parenting, financial risk taking, impulsivity, and, probably most consistently, ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
After three of four years of schooling, the nucleus basalis, which forms sharp memories in the brain, falls into disuse and decays. This is the part of the brain that makes learning so effortless for small children, and it is always activated in undomesticated humans. But neuroplasticity research has shown that damage to the nucleus basalis can be reversed by reintroducing activities involving highly focused attention, which results in massive increases in production of acetylcholine and dopamine. Using new skills under conditions of intense focus rewires billions of neural connections and reactivates the nucleus basalis. Loss of function in this part of the brain is not a natural stage of development--we are supposed to retain and even increase it throughout our lives. Until very recently in human history, we did.
Tyson Yunkaporta (Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World)
When dopamine and norepinephrine are working together, it’s easier to know what to focus on and what tasks need to be carried out. If you have ADHD, your brain’s inability to access these neurotransmitters in adequate amounts is part of what leads to distractibility and an inability to focus, which are hallmarks of the condition.
Phil Boissiere (Thriving with Adult ADHD: Skills to Strengthen Executive Functioning)
Instead of taking a bow for walking on the moon, Colonel Buzz Aldrin, PhD, told his admirers, “It’s something we did. Now we should do something else,” apparently no more satisfied than if he had painted a fence. His desire was not to bask in his glory but to find “something else”—the next big challenge that could hold his interest. This perpetual need to identify a goal and calculate a way to reach it was perhaps the most important factor in his historic success. But it’s not easy having so much dopamine coursing through the control circuits. It almost certainly played a significant role in Aldrin’s post-lunar struggle with depression, alcoholism, three divorces, suicidal impulses, and a stay on a psychiatric ward, which he described in his candid autobiography, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
[Texting] discourages thoughtful discussion or any level of detail. And the addictive problems are compounded by texting's hyperimmediacy. E-mails take some time to work their way through the Internet, through switches and routers and servers, and they require that you take the step of explicitly opening them. Text messages magically appear on the screen of your phone and demand immediate attention from you. Add to that the social expectation that an unanswered text feels insulting to the sender, and you've got a recipe for addiction: You receive a text, and that activates your novelty centers. You respond and feel rewarded for having completed a task (even though that task was entirely unknown to you fifteen seconds earlier). Each of those delivers a shot of dopamine as your limbic system cries out "More! More! Give me more!
Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
Scientists induced Parkinson’s in rats by killing the dopamine cells in their basal ganglia, and then forced half of them to run on a treadmill twice a day in the ten days following the “onset” of the disease. Incredibly, the runners’ dopamine levels stayed within normal ranges and their motor skills didn’t deteriorate. In one study on people with Parkinson’s, intensive activity improved motor ability as well as mood, and the positive effects lasted for at least six weeks after they stopped exercising.
John J. Ratey (Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)
Most people think love comes from the heart or soul. The heart simple pumps blood, so love can't be created there. Where is the center for what appears to be a persons soul? The brain. And what is created there Jilly? That's right-dopamine. What does dopamine do? creates feelings of love and euphoria. How do we get our brains to create more? Drugs, massage, and or sex. Boil it down and it's all just dopamine. The good news is that you can also get more dopamine pumping through your brain by skiing fast...
Kaya McLaren (How I Came to Sparkle Again)
Hearing, they say, is one of the last senses to go. My mother smiled. I tearfully asked her, "Mommy, can you see heaven?" She smiled again. Then she was gone. There was no death rattle, no sudden in-breath or out-breath. She simply stopped breathing. She smiled and slipped away. Smiling while dying is apparently not that unusual. The body tries to produce a state of euphoria to usher us out. It releases the same kinds of neurochemicals, dopamine and serotonin, that flood our brains as we are falling in love.
Edwidge Danticat (The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story)
Dr. Greenfield, predictably, goes further. He deems young people who are raised on digital devices “Generation D.” “They’re so amped up on dopamine that when it’s not firing, they feel dull, dead,” he says. And that means they need to move on to the next thing, quickly, rather than staying with something. “They have no threshold for attentional capacity.
Matt Richtel (A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention)
In other words, once reward contingencies are learned, dopamine is less about reward than about its anticipation. Similarly, work by my Stanford colleague Brian Knutson has shown dopamine pathway activation in people in anticipation of a monetary reward.91 Dopamine is about mastery and expectation and confidence. It’s “I know how things work; this is going to be great.” In other words, the pleasure is in the anticipation of reward, and the reward itself is nearly an afterthought (unless, of course, the reward fails to arrive, in which case it’s the most important thing in the world). If you know your appetite will be sated, pleasure is more about the appetite than about the sating.fn48 This is hugely important.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
We’ve all experienced the letdown of unmet expectations. An expected reward that fails to materialize is worse than a reward that was never anticipated in the first place.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Reality can’t live up to your expectations because you keep building new expectations.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
You don’t notice your neural guidance system because you built it without conscious intent. That’s why it’s hard to build new trails: You don’t know how you built the old ones.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels)
You can increase your pleasure if you’re willing to do things that don’t feel good at first.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
modern psychology warns against addiction, in which the ‘dopamine fix’ expels the long-term projects of the heart;
Roger Scruton (Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left)
People buy things in the hope that it will make them feel better,” said Blair. “It gives you a momentary boost, just buying it, but not for long. It’s just a stupid dopamine hit
Jenny Colgan (The Christmas Bookshop)
Dopamine directs your focus toward the desired object and urges you to pursue it.
Drew Dyck (Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners, Quitters, and Procrastinators))
In fact, 90 percent of serotonin and 50 percent of dopamine are actually produced in the gut.
Will Bulsiewicz (Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome)
Some scientists christened dopamine the pleasure molecule, and the pathway that dopamine-producing cells take through the brain was named the reward circuit.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
The more a sufferer concentrates on his symptoms, the deeper those symptoms are etched into his neural circuits. In the worst cases, the mind essentially trains itself to be sick. Many addictions, too, are reinforced by the strengthening of plastic pathways to the brain. Even very small doses of addictive drugs can dramatically alter the flow of neurotransmitters in a person’s synapses, resulting in long-lasting alterations in brain circuitry and function. In some cases, the buildup of certain kinds of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, a pleasure-producing cousin to adrenaline, seems to actually trigger the turning on or off particular genes, bringing even stronger cravings for the drug. The vital path turns deadly.
Nicholas Carr (What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains)
When a person does something for another person—a prosocial act, as it’s called—they are rewarded not only by group approval but also by an increase of dopamine and other pleasurable hormones in their blood. Group cooperation triggers higher levels of oxytocin, for example, which promotes everything from breast-feeding in women to higher levels of trust and group bonding in men.
Sebastian Junger (Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging)
When the suffering begins, our brain pleads with us to not think too far into the future. I can’t endure 60 minutes of this, but I can do 10 minutes. I can’t get through 8 weeks of solid exercise, but I can get through today. The neurological beauty of segmentation is that once the segment is completed, you get a mini-squirt of dopamine (pleasure juice) that resets the coping clock.
Simon Marshall (The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion)
First, your brain is temporarily taken over by the promise of reward. At the sight of that strawberry cheesecake, your brain launches a neurotransmitter called dopamine from the middle of your brain into areas of the brain that control your attention, motivation, and action. Those little dopamine messengers tell your brain, “Must get cheesecake NOW, or suffer a fate worse than death.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
Many people stimulate that good serotonin feeling by trying to rescue others. Feeling like a hero is a reliable way to stimulate your serotonin. But the good feeling soon passes and you have to rescue again. Sometimes rescuers reward bad behavior in others because they are so eager to rescue.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
Beginning in early adulthood, dopamine levels, which affect both physical movement and reward-motivated behavior (in addition to a bunch of other things), decline by about 10 percent every decade.
Rahul Jandial (Neurofitness: The Real Science of Peak Performance from a College Dropout Turned Brain Surgeon)
70% of the world global deaths are attributable to modifial behavioural risk factors like smoking, physical inactivity and diet. The leading global risks for mortality are high blood pressure 13%, tobacco use 9%, high blood sugar 6%, physical inactivity 6% and obesity 5%. In 2013, an estimated 2.1 billion adults were overweight, compared with 857 million in 1980. There are now more people world-wide, except in sub-Saharan parts of Africa and Asia who are obese, than who are underweight.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
People who live with ADHD are at high risk of addiction, especially adolescents, because of their poorly functioning frontal lobes. Years ago, when the illness was less well understood, doctors and parents were reluctant to give these vulnerable children addictive drugs such as Ritalin and amphetamine. It sounded reasonable: don’t give addictive substances to people at risk for addiction. But rigorous testing showed unambiguously that adolescents who were treated with stimulant drugs were less likely to develop addictions. In fact, those who started the drug at the youngest age and took the highest doses were the least likely to develop problems with illicit drugs. Here’s why: if you strengthen the dopamine control circuit, it’s a lot easier to make wise decisions. On the other hand, if effective treatment is withheld, the weakness of the control circuit is not corrected. The desire circuit acts unopposed, increasing the likelihood of high-risk, pleasure-seeking behavior.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
if when you look at the world you see joy and happiness, the brain will translate that joy and happiness into chemistry, such as a dopamine release from feeling pleasure. This chemistry enhances growth. If you look at the world through a lens of fear, it will cause the brain to release stress hormones and inflammatory agents that will put you into a state of self-protection, which halts growth.
Dave Asprey (Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life (Bulletproof Book 4))
An imbalance of these neurotransmitters is why some people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) come across as stress junkies. They have to get stressed to focus. It’s one of the primary factors in procrastination. People learn to wait until the Sword of Damocles is ready to fall—it’s only then, when stress unleashes norepinephrine and dopamine, that they can sit down and do the work.
John J. Ratey (Spark!: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain)
Kuhnen and Brian Knutson have found that men who are shown erotic pictures just before they gamble take more risks than those shown neutral images like desks and chairs. This is because anticipating rewards—any rewards, whether or not related to the subject at hand—excites our dopamine-driven reward networks and makes us act more rashly. (This may be the single best argument yet for banning pornography from workplaces.)
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
I was diagnosed with ADHD in my mid fifties and I was given Ritalin and Dexedrine. These are stimulant medications. They elevate the level of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. And dopamine is the motivation chemical, so when you are more motivated you pay attention. Your mind won't be all over the place. So we elevate dopamine levels with stimulant drugs like Ritalin, Aderall, Dexedrine and so on. But what else elevates Dopamine levels? Well, all other stimulants do. What other stimulants? Cocaine, crystal meth, caffeine, nicotine, which is to say that a significant minority of people that use stimulants, illicit stimulants, you know what they are actually doing? They're self-medicating their ADHD or their depression or their anxiety. So on one level (and we have to go deeper that that), but on one level addictions are about self-medications. If you look at alcoholics in one study, 40% of male adult alcoholics met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD? Why? Because alcohol soothes the hyperactive brain. Cannabis does the same thing. And in studies of stimulant addicts, about 30% had ADHD prior to their drug use. What else do people self-medicate? Someone mentioned depression. So, if you have been treated for depression, as I have been, and you were given a SSRI medication, these medications elevate the level of another brain chemical called serotonin, which is implicated in mood regulation. What else elevates serotonin levels temporarily in the brain? Cocaine does. People use cocaine to self-medicate depression. People use alcohol, cannabis and opiates to self-medicate anxiety. Incidentally people also use gambling or shopping to self-medicate because these activities also elevate dopamine levels in the brain. There is no difference between one addiction and the other. They're just different targets, but the brain systems that are involved and the target chemicals are the same, no matter what the addiction. So people self-medicate anxiety, depression. People self-medicate bipolar disorder with alcohol. People self-medicate Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. So, one way to understand addictions is that they're self-medicating. And that's important to understand because if you are working with people who are addicted it is really important to know what's going on in their lives and why are they doing this. So apart from the level of comfort and pain relief, there's usually something diagnosible that's there at the same time. And you have to pay attention to that. At least you have to talk about it.
Gabor Maté
Lots of work has examined the genes involved, most broadly showing that variants that produce lowered dopamine signaling (less dopamine in the synapse, fewer dopamine receptors, or lower responsiveness of these receptors) are associated with sensation seeking, risk taking, attentional problems, and extroversion. Such individuals have to seek experiences of greater intensity to compensate for the blunted dopamine signaling.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Desire is the brain’s strategy for action. As we’ve seen, it can be both a threat to self-control and a source of willpower. When dopamine points us to temptation, we must distinguish wanting from happiness. But we can also recruit dopamine and the promise of reward to motivate ourselves and others. In the end, desire is neither good nor bad—what matters is where we let it point us, and whether we have the wisdom to know when to follow.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
The release of dopamine is a form of information, a message that tells the organism “Do that again.” Dopamine produces the sensation of pleasure that accompanies mastering a task or accomplishing a goal, which makes the organism want to repeat the behavior, whether it is pressing a bar, pecking a key, or pulling a slot machine lever. You get a hit (a reinforcement) and your brain gets a hit of dopamine. Behavior—Reinforcement—Behavior. Repeat sequence.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
Identifying a potential threat feels curiously good. You’re like a gazelle that smells a lion and can’t relax until it sees where the lion is. Seeing a lion feels good when the alternative is worse. We seek evidence of threats to feel safe, and we get a dopamine boost when we find what we seek. You can also get a serotonin boost from the feeling of being right, and an oxytocin boost from bonding with those who sense the same threat. This is why people seem oddly pleased to find evidence of doom and gloom. But the pleasure doesn’t last because the “do something” feeling commands your attention again. You can end up feeling bad a lot even if you’re successful in your survival efforts.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels)
Work ethic is not a moral virtue that can be cultivated simply by wanting to be a better person. It’s actually a biochemical condition that can be fostered, purposefully, through activity that increases dopamine levels in the brain.
Jane McGonigal (SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient--Powered by the Science of Games)
Human sexual and social behavior shares some similaries with that of rodents, but has some important differences as well. It shows much greater variability and individuality, for example, and is less closely tied to the olfactory system. At present, it is tempting to speculate that those of us with cheatin' hearts might have differences in brain dopamine, vasopressin, or oxytocin signaling when compared to our more faithful friends who have adopted the prairie vole lifestyle.
David J. Linden (The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good)
Now we have hundreds of carefully engineered, designed, and marketed commercial foods filled with rapidly absorbed processed sugars that cause a burst of sensation that can’t be matched by some lowly natural food. Once, we had lives that, amid considerable privation and negatives, also offered a huge array of subtle and often hard-won pleasures. And now we have drugs that cause spasms of pleasure and dopamine a thousand-fold higher than anything stimulated in our drug-free world.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
She’s smart enough to know that material objects don’t ever actually touch, that sensation is just electron fields overlapping and repelling each other, and all they’re feeling are resultant rushes of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins.
A.D. Aliwat (In Limbo)
exercise triggers a whole host of beneficial processes for your brain.  One of the most important is the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which acts as a kind of “fertiliser” for the brain, triggering repair and neuronal growth.
James Lee (Your Brain Electric - Everything you need to know about optimising neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline)
Throughout the human life span there remains a constant two-way interaction between psychological states and the neurochemistry of the frontal lobes, a fact that many doctors do not pay enough attention to. One result is the overreliance on medications in the treatment of mental disorders. Modern psychiatry is doing too much listening to Prozac and not enough listening to human beings; people’s life histories should be given at least as much importance as the chemistry of their brains. The dominant tendency is to explain mental conditions by deficiencies of the brain’s chemical messengers, the neurotransmitters. As Daniel J. Siegel has sharply remarked, “We hear it said everywhere these days that the experience of human beings comes from their chemicals.” Depression, according to the simple biochemical model, is due to a lack of serotonin — and, it is said, so is excessive aggression. The answer is Prozac, which increases serotonin levels in the brain. Attention deficit is thought to be due in part to an undersupply of dopamine, one of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters, crucial to attention and to experiencing reward states. The answer is Ritalin. Just as Prozac elevates serotonin levels, Ritalin or other psychostimulants are thought to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain’s prefrontal areas. This is believed to increase motivation and attention by improving the functioning of areas in the prefrontal cortex. Although they carry some truth, such biochemical explanations of complex mental states are dangerous oversimplifications — as the neurologist Antonio Damasio cautions: "When it comes to explaining behavior and mind, it is not enough to mention neurochemistry... The problem is that it is not the absence or low amount of serotonin per se that “causes” certain manifestations. Serotonin is part of an exceedingly complicated mechanism which operates at the level of molecules, synapses, local circuits, and systems, and in which sociocultural factors, past and present, also intervene powerfully. The deficiencies and imbalances of brain chemicals are as much effect as cause. They are greatly influenced by emotional experiences. Some experiences deplete the supply of neurotransmitters; other experiences enhance them. In turn, the availability — or lack of availability — of brain chemicals can promote certain behaviors and emotional responses and inhibit others. Once more we see that the relationship between behavior and biology is not a one-way street.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Pleasure and pain are co-located. In addition to the discovery of dopamine, neuro-scientists have determined that pleasure and pain are processed in overlapping brain regions, and work via an opponent processing mechanism. Another way to say this is pleasure and pain work like a balance. Imagine our brains contains a balance, a scale with a fulcrum in the centre. When nothing is on the balance it's level with the ground. When we experience pleasure, dopamine is released in our reward pathway and the balance tips to the side of pleasure. The more our balance tips and the faster it tips, the more pleasure we feel. But here's the important thing about the balance. It wants to remain level! that is, in equilibrium. It does not want to be tipped for very long, to one side or another. Hence, everytime the balance tips towards pleasure, powerful self-regulating mechanisms kick into action to bring it level again. These self-regulating mechanisms do not require conscious thought or an act of will, they just happen like a reflex.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to the dopamine system, and that is addiction. Addictive drugs take over the role of reward signals that feed into the dopamine neurons. Gambling, pornography, and drugs such as cocaine cause the brain to flood itself with dopamine in response. So, too, do addictive ideas, most notably addictive bad ideas, such as those propagated by cults that lead to mass suicides (think Jonestown and Heaven’s Gate), or those propagated by religions that lead to suicide bombing (think 9/11 and 7/7).
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
Blaming others for your unhappiness is a habit that’s hard to give up because it triggers some happy chemicals. You feel important when you battle perceived injustice (serotonin), and you bond with others who feel similarly deprived (oxytocin). You get excited when you seek and find evidence that you have been denied your fair share of happiness (dopamine). You may even trigger endorphins by welcoming physical pain into your life as evidence of your deprivation. You keep building a circuit for seeking happiness by feeling wronged.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
Why does chronic self-administration of cocaine reduce the density of dopamine receptors? It’s a simple matter of brain economics. The brain is accustomed to a certain level of dopamine activity. If it is flooded with artificially high dopamine levels, it seeks to restore the equilibrium by reducing the number of receptors where the dopamine can act. This mechanism helps to explain the phenomenon of tolerance, by which the user has to inject, ingest, or inhale higher and higher doses of a substance to get the same effect as before.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
Thanks to this predictive learning mechanism, arbitrary signals can become the bearers of reward and trigger a dopamine response. This secondary reward effect has been demonstrated with money in humans and with the mere sight of a syringe in drug addicts. In both cases, the brain anticipates future rewards. As we saw in the first chapter, such a predictive signal is extremely useful for learning, because it allows the system to criticize itself and to foresee the success or failure of an action without having to wait for external confirmation.
Stanislas Dehaene (How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine . . . for Now)
We might have a zillion reasons to be jaded about our world, but that is not the kind of person I want to be. I want to be someone who clings to the grace and the gift and the good. Rather than spend my days scanning the digital horizon for a dopamine hit of false comfort, I want to keep my ear tuned to the groanings of my place. I want to stand ready, as Christ’s ambassador in my neighborhood, wearing grace, flesh, and skinny jeans. I want to belong, just as I am, and I want to get better at loving people for every good and puzzling thing they are.
Shannan Martin (The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God's Goodness Around You)
Case in point: Warnings on cigarette packages can increase a smoker’s urge to light up. A 2009 study found that death warnings trigger stress and fear in smokers—exactly what public health officials hope for. Unfortunately, this anxiety then triggers smokers’ default stress-relief strategy: smoking. Oops. It isn’t logical, but it makes sense based on what we know about how stress influences the brain. Stress triggers cravings and makes dopamine neurons even more excited by any temptation in sight. It doesn’t help that the smoker is—of course—staring at a pack of cigarettes as he reads the warning. So even as a smoker’s brain encodes the words “WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer” and grapples with awareness of his own mortality, another part of his brain starts screaming, “Don’t worry, smoking a cigarette will make you feel better!
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
Once we get the anticipated reward, brain dopamine firing increases well above tonic baseline, but if the reward we anticipated doesn't materialise, dopamine levels fall well below baseline. Which is to say, if we get the expected reward, we get an even bigger spike, if we don't get the expected reward, we experience an even bigger plunge. We've all experienced the letdown of unmet expectations. An expected reward that failed to materialise is worse than a reward that was never anticipated in the first place. How does cue-induced craving translate to our pleasure-pain balance? The balance tips to the side of pleasure, a dopamine mini spike, in anticipation of future reward. Immediately followed by a tip to the side of pain, a dopamine mini defecit, in the aftermath of the cue. The dopamine defecit is craving and drives drug seeking behaviour.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
From an evolutionary standpoint, food that you don’t have is critically different from food that you do have. It’s the same for water, shelter, and tools. The division is so fundamental that separate pathways and chemicals evolved in the brain to handle peripersonal and extrapersonal space. When you look down, you look into the peripersonal space, and for that the brain is controlled by a host of chemicals concerned with experience in the here and now. But when the brain is engaged with the extrapersonal space, one chemical exercises more control than all the others, the chemical associated with anticipation and possibility: dopamine. Things in the distance, things we don’t have yet, cannot be used or consumed, only desired. Dopamine has a very specific job: maximizing resources that will be available to us in the future; the pursuit of better things.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
Of all the chemical transmitter substances sloshing around in your brain, it appears that dopamine may be the most directly related to the neural correlates of belief. Dopamine, in fact, is critical in association learning and the reward system of the brain that Skinner discovered through his process of operant conditioning, whereby any behavior that is reinforced tends to be repeated. A reinforcement is, by definition, something that is rewarding to the organism; that is to say, it makes the brain direct the body to repeat the behavior in order to get another positive reward.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
A lizard never thinks something is wrong with the world, even as it watches its young get eaten alive. It doesn't tell itself "something is wrong with the world," because it doesn't have enough neurons to imagine the world being other than what it is. It doesn't expect a world in which there is no predators, so it doesn't condemn the world for falling short of expectations. it doesn't condemn itself for failing to keep its offspring alive. Humans expect more, and we do something about it. That's why we end up focused on our disappointments instead of saluting our accomplishments.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin Levels)
Dr. Helen Fisher divides love into three categories that correspond to different hormones and brain systems. Her analysis of the data suggests that high androgen and estrogen levels generate lust, romantic love correlates with high dopamine and norepinephrine and low serotonin, and attachment is driven by oxytocin and vasopressin. To make matters more complicated, these three systems interact. For example, testosterone can “kickstart the two love neurotransmitters while an orgasm can elevate the attachment hormone,” according to Fisher. “Don’t copulate with people you don’t want to fall in love with,” she warns.4
Deborah Anapol (Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy With Multiple Partners)
The victim narrative reflects a wider societal trend in which we’re all prone to seeing ourselves as the victims of circumstance and deserving of compensation or reward for our suffering. Even when people have been victimized, if the narrative never moves beyond victimhood, it’s difficult for healing to occur.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Environmental influences also affect dopamine. From animal studies, we know that social stimulation is necessary for the growth of the nerve endings that release dopamine and for the growth of receptors that dopamine needs to bind to in order to do its work. In four-month-old monkeys, major alterations of dopamine and other neurotransmitter systems were found after only six days of separation from their mothers. “In these experiments,” writes Steven Dubovsky, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Colorado, “loss of an important attachment appears to lead to less of an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Once these circuits stop functioning normally, it becomes more and more difficult to activate the mind.” A neuroscientific study published in 1998 showed that adult rats whose mothers had given them more licking, grooming and other physical-emotional contact during infancy had more efficient brain circuitry for reducing anxiety, as well as more receptors on nerve cells for the brain’s own natural tranquilizing chemicals. In other words, early interactions with the mother shaped the adult rat’s neurophysiological capacity to respond to stress. In another study, newborn animals reared in isolation had reduced dopamine activity in their prefrontal cortex — but not in other areas of the brain. That is, emotional stress particularly affects the chemistry of the prefrontal cortex, the center for selective attention, motivation and self-regulation. Given the relative complexity of human emotional interactions, the influence of the infant-parent relationship on human neurochemistry is bound to be even stronger. In the human infant, the growth of dopamine-rich nerve terminals and the development of dopamine receptors is stimulated by chemicals released in the brain during the experience of joy, the ecstatic joy that comes from the perfectly attuned mother-child mutual gaze interaction. Happy interactions between mother and infant generate motivation and arousal by activating cells in the midbrain that release endorphins, thereby inducing in the infant a joyful, exhilarated state. They also trigger the release of dopamine. Both endorphins and dopamine promote the development of new connections in the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine released from the midbrain also triggers the growth of nerve cells and blood vessels in the right prefrontal cortex and promotes the growth of dopamine receptors. A relative scarcity of such receptors and blood supply is thought to be one of the major physiological dimensions of ADD. The letters ADD may equally well stand for Attunement Deficit Disorder.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Desire dopamine makes us want things. It is the source of raw desire: give me more. But we’re not at the ungoverned mercy of our desire. We also have a complementary dopamine circuit that calculates what sort of more is worth having. It gives us the ability to construct plans—to strategize and dominate the world around us to get the things we want.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
Just ten minutes of exercise had significantly altered their dopamine circuits and increased their willpower. Yes, pedaling a couple miles on a stationary bike while reading the latest issue of People won’t solve all your problems, but for your brain, it’s a heckuva lot better than just sitting there, and it’s a great kick start to an upward spiral.
Alex Korb (The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)
Reflect on your life When we’re constantly busy and overstimulated, we sometimes fail to take a step back. We can’t see the forest for the trees. Use your dopamine detox as a way to zoom out. To do so: Reflect on your goals. What goals are you pursuing? Are they the right ones for you? Are you making progress toward them each day? And if you keep doing what you’re doing, will you reach them? Assess how you’re using your time. Are you being truly productive each day? Do you spend time on things that matter? Which activities or projects do you really need to focus on? Which ones do you want to stop doing? Self-reflect. Are you where you want to be in life? What inner work could you do to improve yourself?
Thibaut Meurisse (Dopamine Detox : A Short Guide to Remove Distractions and Get Your Brain to Do Hard Things (Productivity Series Book 1))
Build the foundations for success one brick at a time. Build them strong so that they won’t collapse at the first obstacle or setback.
Thibaut Meurisse (Dopamine Detox : A Short Guide to Remove Distractions and Get Your Brain to Do Hard Things (Productivity Series Book 1))
There may be a genetic basis to how much dopamine each of our brains produces. The gene that codes for the production of dopamine is called DRD4 (dopamine receptor D4) and is located on the short arm of the eleventh chromosome. When dopamine is released by certain neurons in the brain it is picked up by other neurons that are receptive to its chemical structure, thereby establishing dopamine pathways that stimulate organisms to become more active and reward certain behaviors that then get repeated. If you knock out dopamine from either a rat or a human, for example, they will become catatonic. If you overstimulate the production of dopamine, you get frenetic behavior in rats and schizophrenic behavior in humans.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
Fortunately, suppressing an impulse doesn’t always have to decrease your dopamine—it can actually feel good. The key is the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for pursuing long-term goals and has the ability to modulate dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens. So suppressing an impulse can be rewarding, as long as it’s in service of your larger values.
Alex Korb (The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)
That’s the nature of dopamine. It’s always focused on acquiring more of everything with an eye toward providing for the future. Hunger is something that happens here and now, in the present. But dopamine says, “Go ahead and eat the donut, even if you’re not hungry. It will increase your chance of staying alive in the future. Who knows when food will be available next?
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
In recent years behavioral scientists have shed some light on why these waiting techniques can be powerful. Let’s first look at the notion that texting back right away makes you less appealing. Psychologists have conducted hundreds of studies in which they reward lab animals in different ways under different conditions. One of the most intriguing findings is that “reward uncertainty”—in which, for instance, animals cannot predict whether pushing a lever will get them food—can dramatically increase their interest in getting a reward, while also enhancing their dopamine levels so that they basically feel coked up. If a text back from someone is considered a “reward,” consider the fact that lab animals who get rewarded for pushing a lever every time will eventually slow down because they know that the next time they want a reward, it will be waiting for them. So basically, if you are the guy or girl who texts back immediately, you are taken for granted and ultimately lower your value as a reward. As a result, the person doesn’t feel as much of an urge to text you or, in the case of the lab animal, push the lever.
Aziz Ansari
Humans are curious creatures, and most people find it almost impossible to ignore their email and social media notifications until the end of their work sessions. If you’re being interrupted every few minutes by a ping or flashing browser tab, it will greatly reduce your productivity and concentration. Additionally, these social activities are pleasurable—they give our brains a little hit of dopamine, otherwise known as the happy hormone. In other words, social media can be addictive. A quick five minutes on Facebook can easily turn into an hour, as many of us can attest to. Rather than struggling against your brain’s natural inclination to procrastinate, save yourself a lot of time and hassle by simply closing your email tab and banning social media during work time.
S.J. Scott (Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less)
Gratitude Improves Activity in Dopamine Circuits. The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable. Keep a gratitude journal. Take a few minutes every day to write down three things you’re grateful for. To make it a better habit, try doing it at the same time every day. If you can’t think of three things, just write one. If you can’t think of even one thing, just write, “I’m grateful for the food I ate today” or “I’m grateful for the clothes I’m wearing.” Even if a situation is 90 percent what you don’t want, you can still be grateful for the other 10 percent.
Alex Korb (The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)
In contrast to dopamine-fueled feelings of pleasure, feelings of happiness are caused by another neurotransmitter—serotonin. Serotonin also helps create feelings of contentedness, significance, and importance. Among other functions, serotonin is a mood stabilizer. Sure, dopamine will give you the quick pleasure rush, but serotonin will keep you happy in the long term—a positive upbeat mood that chases the blues away.
Simon Marshall (The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion)
HE SHOU WU (POLYGONUM MULTIFLORUM) This ancient Chinese herb originally appeared in Taoist texts as a longevity enhancer. Now we know why. It stimulates the body to produce superoxide dismutase, an incredibly powerful antioxidant. It also inhibits MAO-B, increasing dopamine levels in the body54—kind of like deprenyl. I started taking He Shou Wu a few years ago because of its ability to restore hair growth and reduce grays.
Dave Asprey (Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever)
The results of decades of neurotransmitter-depletion studies point to one inescapable conclusion: low levels or serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine do not cause depression. here is how the authors of the most complete meta-analysis of serotonin-depletion studies summarized the data: "Although previously the monoamine systems were considered to be responsible for the development of major depressive disorder (MDD), the available evidence to date does not support a direct causal relationship with MDD. There is no simple direct correlation of serotonin or norepinephrine levels in the brain and mood.' In other words, after a half-century of research, the chemical-imbalance hypothesis as promulgated by the drug companies that manufacture SSRIs and other antidepressants is not only with clear and consistent support, but has been disproved by experimental evidence.
Irving Kirsch (The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth)
Here are some key attributes of the voice in my head. I suspect they will sound familiar. • It’s often fixated on the past and future, at the expense of whatever is happening right now. The voice loves to plan, plot, and scheme. It’s always making lists or rehearsing arguments or drafting tweets. One moment it has you fantasizing about some halcyon past or Elysian future. Another moment you’re ruing old mistakes or catastrophizing about some not-yet-arrived events. As Mark Twain is reputed to have said, “Some of the worst things in my life never even happened.” • The voice is insatiable. The default mental condition for too many human beings is dissatisfaction. Under the sway of the ego, nothing is good enough. We’re always on the hunt for the next dopamine hit. We hurl ourselves headlong from one cookie, one promotion, one party to the next, and yet a great many of us are never fully sated. How many meals, movies, and vacations have you enjoyed? And are you done yet? Of course not. • The voice is unrelievedly self-involved. We are all the stars of our own movies, whether we cast ourselves as hero, victim, black hat, or all three. True, we can get temporarily sucked into other people’s stories, but often as a means of comparing ourselves to them. Everything ultimately gets subordinated to the one plotline that matters: the Story of Me.
Jeff Warren (Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book)
The dopamine desire circuit is powerful. It focuses attention, motivates, and thrills. It has a profound influence over the choices we make. Yet it isn’t all-powerful. Addicts get clean. Dieters lose weight. Sometimes we switch off the TV, get off the couch, and go for a run. What kind of circuit in the brain is powerful enough to oppose dopamine? Dopamine is. Dopamine opposing dopamine. The circuit that opposes the desire circuit might be called the dopamine control circuit.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
Repetition takes time, but it builds behaviors with fewer side effects. If you expose yourself to something over and over, it can “grow on you.” You can get to like things that are good for you, even if you don’t like them instantly. But who wants to repeat something over and over if it doesn’t feel good? Usually, people don’t, which is why we tend to rely on the circuits built by accidents of experience. You will be shaped by accident unless you start repeating things by choice.
Loretta Graziano Breuning (Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin)
I chose people who made me feel anxious and insecure and re-created my childhood circumstances of getting erratic attention. I gravitated toward people who were either physically or emotionally unavailable to subconsciously ensure I was getting a constant hit from my “internal drug cabinet.” Instead of heroin or cocaine, I used to be addicted to cortisol and adrenaline (which turns into dopamine! Yay!). That drove me to pick people who couldn’t give me safety or stability, which caused those chemicals to go buck wild on my brain. You live in London? Yes, please. You work until three A.M., and when you are available, you’re super tired, so every time we have the chance to connect, your eyes are half closed? Sure, let’s move in together. One day you tell me you’re in love with me, but then you disappear and go on a week-long bender on Long Island? Absolutely. You travel for four months at a time in places that have horrible cell service? Don’t mind if I do marry ya.
Whitney Cummings (I'm Fine...And Other Lies)
The kids of well-off parents, bored and dulled by easy pleasure, find that hit of dopamine every time they cancel a nobody or, better, a non-nobody on Twitter. It's entirely possible that the misery junkies fueling cancel culture are doing it because they have nothing else going on in their lives. And that "nothing else" could be beyond their control-- consequences of a society that paradoxically offers dwindling opportunities for fulfillment despite offering huge opportunities for distraction.
Greg Gutfeld (The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help)
How does stress influence the midbrain pleasure circuit (or the feeding control circuits)? The short answer is that we don't really know. However, there are some tantalizing initial clues. Recall that twenty-four hours after a single exposure to cocaine, the excitatory glutamate-using synapses recived by VTA dopamine neurons express LTP. This change, which will result in greater dopamine release in VTA target areas, could also be produced by nicotine, mophine, amphetamines, or alcohol. Amazingly, even breif exposure to stress (a rat's five-minute-long forced swim in cold water) also produced LTP of the VTA synapses that was indistinguishable from that evoked by drugs. What's more, the stress-induced LTP could be prevented by pretreatment with a corticosterone receptor blocker. This suggests that drugs and stress rewire the pleasure circuit in overlapping ways and that the stress response to trigger LTP in the VTA requires a stress hormone signaling loop from the brain to the body and back.
David J. Linden (The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good)
Serotonin—improves willpower, motivation, and mood. Norepinephrine—enhances thinking, focus, and dealing with stress. Dopamine—increases enjoyment and is necessary for changing bad habits. Oxytocin—promotes feelings of trust, love, and connection, and reduces anxiety. GABA—increases feelings of relaxation and reduces anxiety. Melatonin—enhances the quality of sleep. Endorphins—provide pain relief and feelings of elation. Endocannabinoids—improve your appetite and increase feelings of peacefulness and well-being.
Alex Korb (The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)
The space between, called a synapse, is where a variety of chemical messages swirl. Those chemical embers, called neurotransmitters, float across the synaptic cleft. There are dozens of these neurotransmitters—some that you might have heard of include dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and histamine—and they all have different effects on neuronal communication and function. Put it all together, and you can begin to understand the design that can generate the infinite variety of feeling, thought, and imagination that humans experience.
Rahul Jandial (Neurofitness: The Real Science of Peak Performance from a College Dropout Turned Brain Surgeon)
Let’s say that you have committed to running every day for two weeks, and at the end of those two weeks, you “reward” yourself with a massage. I would say, “Good for you!” because we all could benefit from more massages. But I would also say that your massage wasn’t a reward. It was an incentive. The definition of a reward in behavior science is an experience directly tied to a behavior that makes that behavior more likely to happen again. The timing of the reward matters. Scientists learned decades ago that rewards need to happen either during the behavior or milli-seconds afterward. Dopamine is released and processed by the brain very quickly. That means you’ve got to cue up those good feelings fast to form a habit. Incentives like a sales bonus or a monthly massage can motivate you, but they don’t rewire your brain. Incentives are way too far in the future to give you that all-important shot of dopamine that encodes the new habit. Doing three squats in the morning and rewarding yourself with a movie that evening won’t work. The squats and the good feelings you get from the movie are too far apart for dopamine to build a bridge between the two. The neurochemical reaction that you are trying to hack is not only time dependent, it’s also highly individualized. What causes one person to feel good may not work for everyone. Your boss may love the smell of coffee. When she enters a coffee shop and inhales, she feels good. And her immediate feeling builds her habit of visiting the coffee shop. But your coworker might not like the way coffee smells. His brain won’t react in the same way. A real reward — something that will actually create a habit — is a much narrower target to hit than most people think. I
B.J. Fogg (Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything)
Opioid circuits and dopamine pathways are important components of what has been called the limbic system, or the emotional brain. The circuits of the limbic system process emotions like love, joy, pleasure, pain, anger and fear. For all their complexities, emotions exist for a very basic purpose: to initiate and maintain activities necessary for survival. In a nutshell, they modulate two drives that are absolutely essential to animal life, including human life: attachment and aversion. We always want to move toward something that is positive, inviting and nurturing, and to repel or withdraw from something threatening, distasteful or toxic. These attachment and aversion emotions are evoked by both physical and psychological stimuli, and when properly developed, our emotional brain is an unerring, reliable guide to life. It facilitates self-protection and also makes possible love, compassion and healthy social interaction. When impaired or confused, as it often is in the complex and stressed circumstances prevailing in our “civilized” society, the emotional brain leads us to nothing but trouble. Addiction is one of its chief dysfunctions.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
Introverts are naturally more sensitive because they don’t need a ton of dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that your brain produces in response to positive stimuli. Conversely, extroverts can’t get enough. They even love adrenaline, the chemical that your brain produces in the face of fear, so they need bigger and riskier situations to produce the same natural high that an introvert gets from just having a conversation with a close friend. Introverts are also more apt to pay attention to the small details (and an eBay store is a treasure trove of small details).
Sophia Amoruso (#GIRLBOSS)
Caffeine has a calming effect on the ADHD brain. The theory is that the brain of people who suffer from the disorder has an overabundance of dopamine transporters, or re-uptake inhibitors. They carry away dopamine too fast, creating a shortage of it. In turn, that affects serotonin and norepinephrine. The combined effect is a reduced ability to focus, especially on tasks that the person doesn’t enjoy, a lesser ability to control impulsivity, and it even messes with the awareness of time. Caffeine stimulates dopamine production in the brain, temporarily filling up the gap created by the rapid
I.T. Lucas (Dark Memories Submerged (The Children of the Gods, #53))
Practicing mindfulness is something like observing the Milky Way. It demands that we see our thoughts and emotions as separate from us, and yet, simultaneously apart of us. Also the brain can do some pretty weird things, some of which are embarrassing, thus the importance of being without judgement. Reserving judgement is important to the practice of mindfulness because as soon as we start condemning what our brain is doing, eww, why would I be thinking about that, I'm a loser, I'm a freak - We stop being able to observe. Staying in the observer position is essential to getting to know our brains and ourselves in a new way.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Experiments show that a free rat will instinctively work to free another rat trapped inside a plastic bottle. But once that free rat has been allowed to self-administer heroin, it is no longer interested in helping out the caged rat, presumably too caught up in an opioid haze to care about a fellow member of its species.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
I’m sure you’re stuck on something right now—it’s page 332, you can’t go any further, but you know you should finish the book. So what do you do? You give up reading books for a while. For me, giving up reading was a tragedy. I grew up on books, then I switched to blogs, then I switched to Twitter and Facebook, and I realized I wasn’t actually learning anything. I was just taking little dopamine snacks all day long. I was getting my little 140-character burst of dopamine. I would Tweet, then look to see who retweeted my Tweet. It’s a fun and wonderful thing, but it’s a game I was playing. I realized I had to go back to reading books. [6]
Eric Jorgenson (The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness)
Identifying ourselves with our dopamine circuits traps us in a world of speculation and possibility. The concrete world of here and now is disdained, ignored, or even feared, because we can’t control it. We can only control the future, and giving up control is not something dopaminergic creatures like to do. But none of it is real. Even a future one second away is unreal. It is only the stark facts of the present that are real, facts that must be accepted exactly as they are, facts that cannot be modified by a hair’s breadth to suit our needs. This is the world of reality. The future, where dopaminergic creatures live their lives, is a world of phantoms.
Daniel Z. Lieberman (The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity--and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race)
I tend to imagine the self-regulating system like little gremlins hoping on the pain side of the balance to counteract the weight on the pleasure side. The gremlins represent the work of homeostasis, the tendency of any living system to maintain physiologic equilibrium. Once the balance is level, it keeps going, tipping an equal and opposite amount to the side of pain. In the 1970s social scientists Richard Solomon and John Corbett called this reciprocal relationship between pleasure and pain "The Opponent Process Theory". Any prolonged or repeated departure from hedonic or adaptive neutrality has a cost. That cost is an after-reaction, that is opposite in value to the stimulus, or as the old saying goes: "What goes up, must come down".
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
(1) reward is not contentment, and pleasure is not happiness; (2) reward is dopamine, and contentment is serotonin; (3) chronic excess reward interferes with contentment; (4) business has conflated pleasure with happiness consciously and with clear-cut intent, specifically to get you to buy its junk or engage in hedonic behaviors favorable to industry; (5) government has passed legislation to make it easier to buy that junk or make easier access to engage in those behaviors to drive profit and GDP, and the Supreme Court has justified and supported these practices; and (6) buying that junk or engaging in those behaviors long-term and without thought can leave you and society fat, sick, stupid, broke, addicted, depressed, and most decidedly unhappy.
Robert H. Lustig (The Hacking of the American Mind: Inside the Sugar-Coated Plot to Confuse Pleasure with Happiness)
Try a cognitive enhancer from the list in this chapter to promote healthy brain function and avoid cognitive degeneration as you age. Here is the short list: •​Piracetam: Reduces cognitive decline with age •​Modafinil: Performance enhancing, not anti-aging •​Nicotine: Low doses (not from cigarettes) can be helpful for aging and cognitive performance •​Deprenyl: Works on dopamine receptors for cognitive enhancement •​CoQ10: Helps your mitochondria produce energy •​PQQ: A powerful antioxidant for anti-aging •​L-theanine: An amino acid that helps with memory and mental endurance •​Curcumin: Improves memory and attention while acting as an antioxidant •​He Shou Wu: Longevity-enhancing antioxidant herb that can also help you regrow and regain color in your hair!
Dave Asprey (Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever)
The first girl I dated was named Cammie Anthony. She was a year older than me. She had failed eleventh-grade calculus and had to take it again with my class. The specific chemicals that are released when we have a crush are called norepinephrine, dopamine, and endogenous opioids. I remember Cammie reaching to hold my hand in a movie theater. We went to see a horror movie, and it was unclear if we were going as friends or on a date. Norepinephrine is what causes our bodies to have sweaty palms and increased heart rates. I remember lying awake in my bed texting Cammie until three in the morning. Dopamine is energizing; it makes us feel motivated and attentive. I remember every time my phone pinged with a text from Cammie, I felt happy. Endogenous opioids are part of our reward system. It's what makes having a crush feel enjoyable rather than just crushing. Oxytocin and vasopressin are the chemicals that make us feel calm, secure, comfortable, and emotionally attached to long-term partners.
Emily Austin (Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead)
Flow is an extremely potent response to external events and requires an extraordinary set of signals. The process includes dopamine, which does more than tune signal-to-noise ratios. Emotionally, we feel dopamine as engagement, excitement, creativity, and a desire to investigate and make meaning out of the world. Evolutionarily, it serves a similar function. Human beings are hardwired for exploration, hardwired to push the envelope: dopamine is largely responsible for that wiring. This neurochemical is released whenever we take a risk or encounter something novel. It rewards exploratory behavior. It also helps us survive that behavior. By increasing attention, information flow, and pattern recognition in the brain, and heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle firing timing in the body, dopamine serves as a formidable skill-booster as well. Norepinephrine provides another boost. In the body, it speeds up heart rate, muscle tension, and respiration, and triggers glucose release so we have more energy. In the brain, norepinephrine increases arousal, attention, neural efficiency, and emotional control. In flow, it keeps us locked on target, holding distractions at bay. And as a pleasure-inducer, if dopamine’s drug analog is cocaine, norepinephrine’s is speed, which means this enhancement comes with a hell of a high. Endorphins, our third flow conspirator, also come with a hell of a high. These natural “endogenous” (meaning naturally internal to the body) opiates relieve pain and produce pleasure much like “exogenous” (externally added to the body) opiates like heroin. Potent too. The most commonly produced endorphin is 100 times more powerful than medical morphine. The next neurotransmitter is anandamide, which takes its name from the Sanskrit word for “bliss”—and for good reason. Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid, and similarly feels like the psychoactive effect found in marijuana. Known to show up in exercise-induced flow states (and suspected in other kinds), this chemical elevates mood, relieves pain, dilates blood vessels and bronchial tubes (aiding respiration), and amplifies lateral thinking (our ability to link disparate ideas together). More critically, anandamide also inhibits our ability to feel fear, even, possibly, according to research done at Duke, facilitates the extinction of long-term fear memories. Lastly, at the tail end of a flow state, it also appears (more research needs to be done) that the brain releases serotonin, the neurochemical now associated with SSRIs like Prozac. “It’s a molecule involved in helping people cope with adversity,” Oxford University’s Philip Cowen told the New York Times, “to not lose it, to keep going and try to sort everything out.” In flow, serotonin is partly responsible for the afterglow effect, and thus the cause of some confusion. “A lot of people associate serotonin directly with flow,” says high performance psychologist Michael Gervais, “but that’s backward. By the time the serotonin has arrived the state has already happened. It’s a signal things are coming to an end, not just beginning.” These five chemicals are flow’s mighty cocktail. Alone, each packs a punch, together a wallop.
Steven Kotler (The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance)
In the moment, an anticipated rush of sugar, or of dopamine, or sinking into a couch to be entertained by a screen, can seem like the best thing in the world. But it is not those moments that we remember, and it is not those moments that we treasure. They are not rich with meaning. Fleeting, easy satisfaction does not a meaningful life make. [...] Consider how you know about speed, for instance. When driving on a warm Spring day with the windows open, you can understand how fast you are going by feeling the wind in and around the car; by recognizing the road’s surface and cant and your car’s responsiveness to it; by observing other vehicles and how they are moving, and how they respond to you. Or you can read the number on the speedometer. The first provides an understanding of speed that is embodied and holistic; the second way of knowing how fast you are going, in contrast, is a much thinner kind of knowledge. That number that you glean from a glance at the speedometer tells you something, but it is both far less meaningful than having an embodied sense of speed, and far easier to communicate when you get pulled over.
Heather E. Heying
The connection between dopamine and belief was established by experiments conducted by Peter Brugger and his colleague Christine Mohr at the University of Bristol in England. Exploring the neurochemistry of superstition, magical thinking, and belief in the paranormal, Brugger and Mohr found that people with high levels of dopamine are more likely to find significance in coincidences and pick out meaning and patterns where there are none. In one study, for example, they compared twenty self-professed believers in ghosts, gods, spirits, and conspiracies to twenty self-professed skeptics of such claims. They showed all subjects a series of slides consisting of people’s faces, some of which were normal while others had their parts scrambled, such as swapping out eyes or ears or noses from different faces. In another experiment, real and scrambled words were flashed. In general, the scientists found that the believers were much more likely than the skeptics to mistakenly assess a scrambled face as real, and to read a scrambled word as normal. In the second part of the experiment, Brugger and Mohr gave all forty subjects L-dopa, the drug used for Parkinson’s disease patients that increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. They then repeated the slide show with the scrambled or real faces and words. The boost of dopamine caused both believers and skeptics to identify scrambled faces and real and jumbled words as normal. This suggests that patternicity may be associated with high levels of dopamine in the brain. Intriguingly, the effect of L-dopa was stronger on skeptics than believers. That is, increased levels of dopamine appear to be more effective in making skeptics less skeptical than in making believers more believing.8 Why? Two possibilities come to mind: (1) perhaps the dopamine levels of believers are already higher than those of skeptics and so the latter will feel the effects of the drug more; or (2) perhaps the patternicity proclivity of believers is already so high that the effects of the dopamine are lower than those of skeptics. Additional research shows that people who profess belief in the paranormal—compared to skeptics—show a greater tendency to perceive “patterns in noise,”9 and are more inclined to attribute meaning to random connections they believe exist.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
behaviors. Alcohol becomes more important because drinking it excessively tricks a primitive, unconscious part of our brain into believing it’s more critical to our survival than it actually is. The artificially high levels of dopamine that flood the brain when we ingest alcohol begin a cascade of other reactions and responses. The brain has a hedonic set point (a term coined by Dr. Kevin McCauley), which means that it both needs a certain amount of dopamine to register pleasure, and is programmed to downgrade levels of dopamine when we receive too much pleasure. Our bodies are constantly trying to find stasis, or balance, and the hedonic set point is an example of that. When high levels of dopamine are regularly released into the system from chronic use of alcohol, the dopamine is down-regulated (or balanced) by something called corticotropin-releasing factor, or CRF—a hormone that makes us feel anxious or stressed. If we flood our system with higher-than-normal levels of dopamine, we also flood our system with higher-than-normal levels of CRF, or anxiety. Over time, when our system is assaulted by surges of dopamine, our hedonic set point goes up (requiring more dopamine to feel good), and things that used to register as pleasurable (like warm hugs or our children’s laughter) don’t release enough dopamine to hit that raised baseline. To boot, activities that normally relieve stress, like a bath or a brisk walk, also lose their effectiveness. Alcohol becomes the quickest way our body learns to handle anxiety (which begets more anxiety because alcohol is a depressant, and the body reacts to it by releasing cortisol and adrenaline, which means the net effect of a glass of wine is more stress, not less). Our bodies are adaptive, and they adapt to an environment that expects the effects of alcohol. So here we are: we start using alcohol because it gives us more pleasure than sex and does more for stress management than chamomile tea. Over time it gets wrapped up in our survival response, so we are motivated to drink with the same force that motivates us to eat—only the force is stronger than the desire to eat because our midbrain, which ranks everything based on dopamine, thinks we need alcohol more than food. That seems like enough fuckery to contend with, but there’s more to the story.
Holly Whitaker (Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol)
From another corner of neuroscience, we’re learning about a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Though there are more than fifty neurotransmitters (that we know of), scientists studying substance problems have given dopamine much of their attention. The brain’s reward system and pleasure centers—the areas most impacted by substance use and compulsive behaviors—have a high concentration of dopamine. Some brains have more of it than others, and some people have a capacity to enjoy a range of experiences more than others, owing to a combination of genetics and environment. The thing about dopamine is that it makes us feel really good. We tend to want more of it. It is naturally generated through ordinary, pleasurable activities like eating and sex, and it is the brain’s way of rewarding us—or nature’s way of rewarding the brain—for activities necessary to our survival, individually or as a species. It is the “mechanism by which ‘instinct’ is manifest.” Our brains arrange for dopamine levels to rise in anticipation and spike during a pleasurable activity to make sure we do it again. It helps focus our attention on all the cues that contributed to our exposure to whatever felt good (these eventually become triggers to use, as we explain later). Drugs and alcohol (and certain behaviors) turn on a gushing fire hose of dopamine in the brain, and we feel good, even euphoric. Dopamine produced by these artificial means, however, throws our pleasure and reward systems out of whack immediately. Flooding the brain repeatedly with dopamine has long-term effects and creates what’s known as tolerance—when we lose our ability to produce or absorb our own dopamine and need more and more of it artificially just to feel okay. Specifically, the brain compensates for the flood of dopamine by decreasing its own production of it or by desensitizing itself to the neurotransmitter by reducing the number of dopamine receptors, or both. The brain is just trying to keep a balance. The problem with the brain’s reduction in natural dopamine production is that when you take the substance or behavior out of the picture, there’s not enough dopamine in the brain to make you feel good. Without enough dopamine, there is no interest or pleasure. Then not only does the brain lose the pleasure associated with using, it might not be able to enjoy a sunset or a back rub, either. A lowered level of dopamine, combined with people’s longing for the rush of dopamine they got from using substances, contributes to “craving” states. Cravings are a physiological process associated with the brain’s struggle to regain its normal dopamine balance, and they can influence a decision to keep using a substance even when a person is experiencing negative consequences that matter to him and a strong desire to change. Depending on the length of time and quantities a person has been using, these craving states can be quite uncomfortable and compelling. The dopamine system can and does recover, starting as soon as we stop flooding it. But it takes time, and in the time between shutting off the artificial supply of dopamine and the brain’s rebuilding its natural resources, people tend to feel worse (before they feel better). On a deep, instinctual level, their brains are telling them that by stopping using, something is missing; something is wrong. This is a huge factor in relapse, despite good intentions and effort to change. Knowing this can help you and your loved one make it across this gap in brain reward systems.
Jeffrey Foote (Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change)
I suggested she try walking to class without listening to anything and just letting her own thoughts bubble to the surface. She looked at me both incredulous and afraid. “Why would I do that?” she asked, openmouthed. “Well,” I ventured, “it’s a way of becoming familiar with yourself. Of letting your experience unfold without trying to control it or run away from it. All that distracting yourself with devices may be contributing to your depression and anxiety. It’s pretty exhausting avoiding yourself all the time. I wonder if experiencing yourself in a different way might give you access to new thoughts and feelings, and help you feel more connected to yourself, to others, and to the world.” She thought about that for a moment. “But it’s so boring,” she said. “Yes, that’s true,” I said. “Boredom is not just boring. It can also be terrifying. It forces us to come face-to-face with bigger questions of meaning and purpose. But boredom is also an opportunity for discovery and invention. It creates the space necessary for a new thought to form, without which we’re endlessly reacting to stimuli around us, rather than allowing ourselves to be within our lived experience.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph
Skills Unlocked: How to Build Heroic Character Strengths If you want to make a change for the better or achieve a tough goal, don’t worry about motivation. Instead, focus on increasing your self-efficacy: confidence in your ability to solve your own problems and achieve your goals. The fastest and most reliable way to increase your self-efficacy is to learn how to play a new game. Any kind of game will do, because all games require you to learn new skills and tackle tough goals. The level of dopamine in your brain influences your ability to build self-efficacy. The more you have, the more determined you feel, and the less likely you are to give up. You’ll learn faster, too—because high dopamine levels improve your attention and help you process feedback more effectively. Keep in mind that video games have been shown to boost dopamine levels as much as intravenous amphetamines. Whenever you want to boost your dopamine levels, play a game—or make a prediction. Predictions prime your brain to pay closer attention and to anticipate a reward. (Playing “worst-case scenario bingo” is an excellent way to combine these two techniques!) You can also build self-efficacy vicariously by watching an avatar that looks like you accomplish feats in a virtual world. Whenever possible, customize video game avatars to look like you. Every time your avatar does something awesome, you’ll get a vicarious boost to your willpower and determination. Remember, self-efficacy doesn’t just help you. It can inspire you to help others. The more powerful you feel, the more likely you are to rise to the heroic occasion. So the next time you feel superpowerful, take a moment to ask yourself how you can use your powers for good.
Jane McGonigal (SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient--Powered by the Science of Games)