Stuck at Home? How to Keep Up Your Happy Chemicals
A simple strategy to redirect focus from threat signals to reward chemicals.
When stuck at home, you may lose your usual paths to happy chemicals and be flooded with threat chemicals. Here’s a simple strategy to keep yourself on the path to reward chemicals, even when the world is different.
You have power over your brain. You can stimulate your dopamine even when life is unpredictable. You can stimulate your oxytocin without following the herd. You can avoid a cortisol spiral, even when others panic. Here’s how these chemicals work in animals, so you can find what makes them work in you.
This video introduces our reward chemicals and threat chemicals and simple ways to manage them at a time when you’re stuck at home.
Dopamine is your brain’s reward signal when you expect to meet a need. Today, you don’t know what to expect, so it’s hard to stimulate dopamine in the usual ways. The video helps you design steps to meet your needs and thus keep stimulating those reward chemicals.
Cortisol is your brain’s threat signal. Our brain defines threats in a unique way, so we all end up with quirky cortisol surges. You have a full-body sense of survival threat when your cortisol is on, even if you’re not consciously thinking that. The video shows you how to avoid a cortisol spiral despite the spiraling of those around you.
Oxytocin is the good feeling of social trust. It’s complicated, alas, because mammals have conflict in their social groups, so they tend to bond around threats. It’s tempting to bond around threats when you’re feeling isolated. Cortisol results. Fortunately, you can redirect your brain toward more positive social-trust strategies.
Our happy chemicals are inherited from earlier mammals. They evolved to promote survival, not to make you feel good all the time. You can find healthy ways to stimulate them when you understand the job they’re designed to do. It’s not easy being a mammal, but you have power over your brain.
Read this on PsychologyToday.com