There are a number of key brain chemicals that contribute to your our overall sense of health and wellness.
Dopamine is the chemical that produces the feeling of satisfaction and well-being when you will succeed at meeting your needs. Times dopamine is released include:
- When you achieve a long-sought goal
- When you recognize the next step to take toward a goal
- When you take that step
- When you invest effort and expect to be rewarded. When you receive the expected reward
Some typical times dopamine is at work
- Learning to ride a bicycle
- Finding a parking spot
- Winning a spelling bee
- Discovering a new park
- Doing a crossword puzzle
- Planning a meal
- Exploring a new city
- Playing a musical instrument
- Getting a promotion
You can’t get a promotion every day, or control whether you get one. But working toward a goal with positive expectations itself stimulates dopamine. If you focus only on getting promoted (receiving an extrinsic reward), your positive expectations will quickly erode. Diversify your efforts to stimulate dopamine! Take on a new challenge, and take small steps toward it every day. Your brain will learn to stimulate dopamine in new ways.
Serotonin flows when you feel important or significant. You can find healthy ways to feel important.
You can’t control the world and the ways it reinforces your feelings of personal significance. You can train your brain to feel confident of your own importance regardless of what others say and do. You can appreciate the importance you have, instead of focusing on the importance you don’t have. When you’re an authentic person with integrity, people respect you behind your back. Keep that in mind instead of imagining the worst.
Oxytocin produces feelings of trust, love and devotion. It gives you a feeling of mild euphoria when you spend time with someone you trust. Social trust feels good because social alliances promote survival. Mispl