It’s ok to be a DA

More than 99% of us are dopamine abusers or addicts. Not that it’s our fault, almost all of our parents, and their parents, and their parents and so on were also dopamine abusers or addicts. But what’s the first step toward solving a problem? Admitting we have a problem.

Feel better?

Well here’s the good news: you don’t have to go cold turkey. After admittance and acceptance, scoring dopamine might as well be embraced. With the truth finally out in the open we can start helping and encouraging one another to find ways to replace the addictions that don’t make us happy with habits that bring joy to ourselves and others.

Everything we do, we do for dopamine. Alcohol, heroin, nicotine, and gambling are examples of unhealthy, expensive, depleting, and destructive ways to score dopamine. Volunteering, donating money, hugging, and performing simple acts of kindness are examples of healthy, free, fulfilling, and constructive ways to trigger the same brain drug.

Evolutionarily, dopamine acts as a kind of Darwinian treat — reinforcing each behavior that hedges an organism’s chances for survival. Somewhere along the line, our not-very-bright ancestors managed to pervert primitive survival needs into destructive addictions. Now that we’re so much wiser and smarter than our forebears it’s time to use what we know to foster positive change.

In other words, here’s our chance to turn a liability into an asset by switching from denial and self-deception all the way up to honesty and insight.

Go ahead, give it try. Smile at a few strangers. Hold the door open. Skip a few expensive indulgences and donate the money you save to a worthy cause. Spend a few hours each month volunteering and helping others. Get in the habit of doing random acts of kindness. Exercise, get involved, be positive. And instead of complaining about all the things that bother you, do something constructive.

And if you get a chance, tell everyone you know about dopamine addiction. Then drop us a note and let us know how it feels to score positive dopamine?

 

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