How to increase motivation for work and happiness at the same time
Basic dopamine levels determine overall well-being and mood, as well as motivation.
Dopamine is important for movement. Parkinson's disease, for example, is associated with the complete disappearance of dopamine in certain parts of the brain. Basic dopamine levels are also decreased.
What you need to know about dopamine:
There are two neural circuits in the brain that activate dopamine. One relates to movement and the other to motivation.
Dopamine is released in different ways: locally (specific neurons) or volumetrically (neural circuits).
Many supplements and drugs cause dopamine to be released in such a way that the difference between peak and baseline dopamine levels becomes smaller in the future, resulting in decreased pleasure. The higher the ratio of peak to baseline, the better.
Dopamine is the universal currency of resource-seeking motivation (tangible and intangible). Its level determines a person's attitude toward any experience. If dopamine is at baseline, perception of the current event will depend on dopamine levels in the recent past (higher levels in the past = lower interest in the current event).
Schizophrenia is associated with elevated dopamine levels. On the other hand, low dopamine levels are felt as the deepest depression and inability to do anything.
Dopamine and adrenaline work together. Adrenaline provides energy and dopamine positively colors current activities.
Effects of events on dopamine levels:
Chocolate increases baseline levels by 1.5 times, but the effect goes away in minutes.
Sex and the expectation of sex - 2x.
Nicotine - peaks at 2.5 times baseline.
Cocaine - 2.5 times. Amphetamine, 10 times. Cocaine and amphetamine create very strong dopamine peaks, leading to a subsequent dramatic decrease in baseline and neuroplasticity.
Coffee increases levels, but very modestly. However, regular caffeine consumption increases the strength of the effects arising from dopamine release.
Exercise - levels change depending on one's liking for a particular activity. If a person likes to run, levels can jump twice as high. And if one doesn't like doing exercise, there might not be an increase at all.
Expressing gratitude and joy about a particular activity (no need to try to kid yourself), increases dopamine emissions from that activity in the future.
Dopamine Pit. After a dopamine peak, its level drops below the baseline level it had before. The higher the peak, the lower the drop from the base. This happens because the supply of dopamine in the brain is limited. Some people try to combat this by causing repeated dopamine releases, which only makes things worse. Eventually the person stops feeling pleasure and becomes dependent on their chosen dopamine source. Even if the reasons causing the peaks are different (sports, alcohol, success at work), it still leads to a gradual decrease in baseline dopamine levels and burnout.
What to do if you find yourself in the pit? Abstain for 30 days (the first 14 are the hardest) from activities that cause peak emissions. This will lead to a buildup of dopamine in the brain.
Layering. The strategy of increasing dopamine levels in different ways at the same time, such as combining energy and exercise, is not optimal and in the long run leads to lower baseline dopamine levels and loss of interest in stimulated activities.
The ideal dopamine pattern is to increase baseline levels while maintaining the ability to peak. How to engage in the right activities intelligently? The key is not to aim for peak emissions. In practice, this means combining activities with different expected levels of pleasure in a random sequence (intermittent schedule). For example, if you like to exercise to your favorite music, sometimes do it without music.
Smartphones contribute to a decrease in the level of pleasure of the current activity, because they have been a source of dopamine in the past. Against this backdrop, exercise itself starts to seem less exciting. Plus, like other sources of peak experiences, regular use of smartphone functions leads to a decrease in baseline dopamine levels.
I recommend doing sports, studying and other activities completely eliminating phone use. The same is true of other stimulants that a person takes on a regular basis.
Caffeine. An exception to the list of stimulants is caffeine because it increases the number of dopamine receptors. The source of caffeine is also important. For example, the mate drink not only contains caffeine, but also substances with neuroprotective properties that target dopamine receptors.
Staying in cold water. Research has shown that being in cold water up to the neck for up to 60 minutes causes a rapid increase in adrenaline and dopamine. Dopamine starts rising after 15 minutes and reaches 250% of normal levels (like sex and nicotine). And persists after leaving the water for several hours. In addition, being in cold water increases the concentration. You don't have to be in the water that long to get the effect. At the same time, as adaptation to such water procedures increases, dopamine production also decreases.
The permanent use of Master’s Solutions leads not only to snapbacks, but also to the enjoyment of freedom from released negative emotions. Freeing yourself from past negative emotional charges produce the dopamine and increase the mind concentration.
Reward reduces motivation. If you associate your work with the reward that is expected in the aftermath, the perception of the whole process changes: the very moment of exerting effort becomes less pleasant. This is because the analyzed period of time increases. It begins to include not only the activity itself, but also the reward at the end. The dopamine surge associated with the moment of receiving the prize devalues the other steps because of the lower neurotransmitter levels associated with them. Because of this mechanism, the likelihood of returning to the activity in the future is reduced - it will take more effort and stimulants to do the activity. An example is a study where children who liked to draw began to be given rewards for doing so. As a result, their interest in this activity decreased, despite the fact that before they drew without any encouragement.
Growth mindset. The cultivation of a growth mindset occurs through rewards for effort rather than results: "I am making an effort. It's hard, but it's good. I do it because I want to. I'm good." After some time of this practice, the dopamine release will begin to occur at the moment of effort. This pattern is the opposite of receiving a reward at the end, which makes the effort even more painful. The dopamine release should not be stimulated before or after the effort; it should be related to the effort itself.
Starvation. The longer a person abstains from eating, the greater the dopamine release afterward. But the trick is that starvation itself leads to better focus and well-being. And people begin to associate the dopamine release with the fasting itself, rather than the pleasure of eating afterwards.
Giving up sugar and tasty foods makes simple and healthy foods like cooked broccoli more desirable.
Getting proof of what you previously believed leads to a release of dopamine.
Pornography. Just like sugar destroys interest in regular food, pornography makes regular sex less desirable.
Mucuna Pruriens (Mucuna burning, contains a dopamine precursor) is a dietary supplement that helps greatly increase dopamine levels. Mucuna has a withdrawal syndrome. Therefore, many people switch to L-tyrosine, which is at an earlier stage of dopamine synthesis. Taking these supplements as the primary or even more so the only way to increase dopamine is dangerous. L-tyrosine may be taken once every 1 to 2 weeks.
Negative factors. Taking melatonin and bright light between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. reduces dopamine levels for several days.
Good Relationships. Oxytocin releases even from long-distance communication and strong social ties increase dopamine levels. The work itself in building social connections has a similar effect.