The Power Of DOPAMINE
‘What you practice grows stronger’
This is one of my favourite quotes and something I often remind myself of. I love it because it goes both ways.
If you continually practice something:
You'll get better at it
You'll be more likely to do it again
You'll enjoy it more
It will be easier to maintain
This applies to training as well as life in general. But, on the other side of this, bad habits also grow stronger if repeated.
This is why momentum when creating good habits is so important. You go to the gym, have a good workout, neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are released - you crave that feeling so you go again tomorrow. It’s a feedback loop. If something feels good, we want to repeat it.
On the other hand, you stop at McDonald's on your way home from work. Again, another hit of dopamine! So the next day, you want it again. Often, it’s not the action itself we crave, it’s the feeling we get from the action e.g the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These are extremely powerful and without realising, they are what drive a lot of our decisions. Once you understand how neurotransmitters work, you are able to use them to your advantage. How often have you decided to 'treat' yourself by having a donut, piece of cake, lollies etc - you tell yourself you'll only have 1. But one quickly turns into 2 then 3.. This is why a lot of people say it's easier to have none than to have 1. It's scientifically true! With this knowledge in mind, you can make the conscious to choice to preempt that saying yes may be detrimental to your goals.
Next time you feel yourself about to make a decision you know you shouldn’t - ask yourself if this is an action you’re comfortable repeating and consequently, having grow stronger. The more you do something, the more often you will keep doing it..
Consider where you are getting your sources of dopamine from and if you have any negative habits forming. Some healthy, natural, sources of dopamine include exercise, sunlight, foods rich in tyrosine (banana, eggs, avocado) sleep and activities such as meditation and listening to music.