THE ANTICIPATORY REWARD MOTIVATION CHEMICAL
Rough Draft, being written, however some key points are clearly laid out and valuable, not final edited yet
"If we do not know how things work nor how to work them, we remain the victims of them."
We too often behave like "dopes" for dopamine. We seek the "hit", just like in any addiction, from things varying all the way from smoking a cigarette for the dopamine "reward" to living our lives based on jumping back and forth between "shiny objects", offering the hope of something new or stimulating. We get "hooked" on creating unrealistic hope, as if it would get us something, while it only, as in all dopamine seeking misbehaviors, gets us nothing - or actually gets us a negative, because it takes away the opportunity to have used our time and attention on what gives us a benefit and thus it lessens our life.
WHY CARE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS?
The source of "cravings", where we erroneously seek to relieve a "missing", but in a non-fulfilling way. Such cravings will divert one from that which is of true value.
Rats will starve to death while continuing to press the lever to give themselves kicks of dopamine.
Only through managing this properly can I keep myself sufficiently motivated to do what is of the highest value for myself, instead of desperately seeking "hits" of dopamine from useless sideshows.
REWARD, ANTICIPATION, MOTIVATION
Dopamine is the chemical that evolved to get you to go after a reward. And to get a good feeling in anticipation of getting a reward, so that we would be motivated to go get the result we want. It is the motivation chemical, one that "feels good" so that we get the job done! It is the anticipation chemical.
WHAT IS A REWARD?
What is a reward?
Social reward (praise, success, sex, recognition)
Relief of a bad feeling.
Sensory award (smell, taste, food, touch)
Emotional reward (such as the feeling of oxytocin, dopamine, sometimes adrenaline)
In a new relationship, we anticipate all sorts of rewards and love forever after....and we're almost always disappointed, as we tend to create unrealistic expectations. The relationship can turn out bad, but if it doesn't turn out bad most often it will lose its dopamine flavor through the process called habituation. (See The Biochemistry Of Love.)
(Can we "reward" ourselves by praise or does that not have value compared to social reward?)
Dopamine stimulates a feeling of well-being, desire, and/or energy to "go for it."
HEALTHY WAYS TO PRODUCE IT
It is produced in sex, happy thoughts, and especially in exercising (to break a sweat, mildly is fine) in the morning for an all day effect.
It is helped by providing sources of phenylanine, which are high-protein foods such as meat, cottage cheese, and wheat germ. Apples, bananas, beets, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, watermelon, beans and legumes all boost both dopamine and norepinephrine.
L-tyrosine - If your cravings are too high (look at your waistline to see if they are or how you feel tired or lethargic), then your body needs to have higher ongoing sources of dopamine, so that you don't need big hits or to create dopamine in desperation. Take 500 mg in the a.m. Eat the foods that promote dopamine (L-tyrosine is a precursor).
WHY I HAVE CONCERN ABOUT THIS CHEMICAL AND ITS EFFECTS
I don't want to become a scientist or cover this in too much detail, but I found it necessary to be clearer on how this works, as it seems to affect me in a way that I'd rather not occur!
Sure, it's a "good" chemical, doing what it is supposed to do, but I am capable of misusing it or accidentally becoming the victim of it.
So, I must learn about it if I am to master it.
It is my objective to design a reward and then a reward system that novitiates me toward that which is of more value in my life. (!)
My concern is that I can be motivated to get cheap results of no real value.
A computer game gives me just enough "flow" and just enough reward (winning) to keep me engaged (and oblivious) for hours - and I mean hours, like anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours at a shot, even staying up all night... Yikes!
I get into these "seek some dopamine" moods when there are some cues that I am "needing stimulation or escape, such as:
When I feel "flat", tired, unstimulated
THE POWER OF DOPAMINE OVER LIFE AND DEATH
The classic experiment involved dopamine and rats who dopamined themselves so addictively that they starved to death. It seems that their brains had a wire that connected to their dopamine generating system and it stimulated their dopamine every time they pressed a lever. It worked so well that they would seek it and neglect to eat, starving themselves for a "greater reward". I would hate to be a stupid human doing a version of the dopamine lever pushing... but I'm afraid that I have been - and it seems that there may be a lot of other people who do that. cocaine gives a massive dopamine surge without having to accomplish anything, we are disassociated from rewards of food, etc. - a starving rat of another sort, but just a human victim of the accessibility of it, doing what humans do
Other benefit related to functions it affects:
It improves the memory....
The mammal brain scans constantly for potential rewards (food). The parents get excited, the kid learns to do the same. We, like cavemen, get an intense sweet taste and we want to "get more of it".
The dopamine creates connections in the brain, so you can remember where the reward is. The bigger the reward, the greater the dose and the stronger the memory. [Remember all those self-help gurus telling you that you needed to add emotion to your affirmations, visualizations and such. Well, they are correct.]
ACCLIMATIZATION, HABITUATION, NO LONGER NEEDING IT
When you have lots of it your brain shifts to looking for the next great way to meet your needs, new rewards!!! Slogging away at an originally exciting endeavor begins to peter out.
Basically, if something becomes readily available, then we become "habituated" to it, perhaps more from a regular supply than the concept of it being in ready supply. Ordinarily, we store information that can lead to the reward again, and it feels good... but we stop reacting with dopamine if something is not a reward anymore. Survival-wise, the brain doesn't need to reward you for getting that item you already have, so it follows the evolutionary effect of energy conservation - to stop wasting its energy on something that is easily available.
WAYS OF KILLING OURSELVES TO GET A "HIT"
Smokers get a jolt of dopamine when they smoke, but their dopamine receptors start to be reduced as the body adjusts down to accommodate the excessive doses - so they end up with less ability to enjoy life and experience dopamine! It is a similar "dulling" of the senses or chemical hits that is involved in all addictive (craving) behaviors. This is another example of how the body seeks balance so that it can function well, which is a process that is "mandatory" for survival. The idea is to "smooth" the flow out and to avoid the extremes that will cause the body to go out of whack while it is paying attention to getting back into balance. See Homeostasis - Restoring High Functioning Balance - an essential understanding for running one's life well!
WHAT TO DO FROM HERE
Implement the "healthy sources" mentioned above and consider those links to do with the brain and links in this article.
notes to integrate into the article:
the joy of finding it!
On long efforts, dopamine reacts to markers, measures [see computer program] (each step) along the way that keep you going (medicine, fame)
reacts to New rewards...when there is no new information, no dopamine needed for survival or to get it.
In a very primitive survival behavior, we learn to expect the reward and then we go into a rage at not getting the accustomed reward. (Rage is extreme anger, evolved to add extra energy to the effort of getting what one wants or to fighting off a threat.)
athlete does huge efforts anticipating reward.
cocaine stimulates lots, getting the excitement of accomplishment without having to do anything.
rescuing a child pinned under a car, huge surge of dopamine on the huge reward of saving the child.
computer games give you points and victories..., a way to relieve a survival threat...
we used to look for days to...anticipating the reward. We look for ways that are more likely to be rewarded, taught by society to do so.
Tells the body to release reserve energy to meet needs that will give you pleasure or sustenance.
solving math problems (a seek and find vs. foraging.
motivated to get a big hug at a particular time (reward is oxytocin) get a dopamine hit in anticipatio...
Causes of surge of dopamine
Seeing finish line for marathon runner
Football player victory dance, I did it!
triggers joy when find new ways to meet need food, new love, new places. new techniques
once it does its job it moves on to the next new reward...
it paves neural pathways, memory so can recognize that event in the future (disappointment
more threats, moreused to rewards or winning, the unhappy chemicals will soon mask the happy - bigger reward...
your brain is chasing the next high, impelling drive ignoring the side effects
thedopamine is flwing even anticipating a donut...
shopping we are seeking rewards, but getused to things, so they need to change it _(bad mood, me go to mall
if it finds a reward without much seeking it does little dopamine.
adding to collections feels like meeting a survial need
planning a project, thinking abuothe end result...makes you feel good...
travel bombards senses with new inputs.
our brains were not designed to sit around contemplating what we have...keep finding new ways to meet survival needs...
new partner make you happy,,, and then not...nobody's fault...harville hendrix: recognize pattern associated with love in past, gtet all excited "turned on" but attirbute it to something myseterious and romanatic - I'll just be perectly happy or i'lll finally get to solve th problem of dealing with such a person...no actual reward, but anticipate it..