THE STORY OF OUR HAPPY AND OUR UNHAPPY CHEMICALS
A TALE OF THE MECHANISMS FOR SURVIVAL
THE HAPPY CHEMICALS
To get you to do survival actions:
Dopamine - Joy of finding what you are seeking. satisfy thrist, hunger, a "stupid" circuit (worked before, do again)
Endorphins mask pain, giving a euphoric feeling. obliviion (escape from harm, enabling by masking pain)
Serotonin has us feel respected by others, a sense of pride. (social dominance, prominence)
THE UNHAPPY CHEMICALS
To get you to stop doing contra survival actions or to get out of perceived threats to survival. They are signals to spur you to take care of yourself!
Cortisol - "Stop doing what you're doing, it's not working, go do something better for survival."
You ordinarily are able to get some idea of what to do to elicit the happy chemicals and avoid the unhappy chemicals, but most often we have to think much deeper about what strategies work better than the simplistic ones the lower brain uses. Use the summary "control dashboard" to get more of what you want to experience: The Happy And Unhappy Chemicals Control Dashboard.
WHY THE CHEMICALS ARE AS THEY ARE: ONE SIMPLE REASON
Your whole system has one function: to assure survival.
It is not an intent, but a mechanism that has evolved. It does not "think" in a high level fashion, but only in a primitive communication of stimulus from its interpretation of what an event means for survival. It simply reacts to associated (matched) patterns stored in the cortex. It is a machine that reacts through associations, indiscriminately and sometimes inartfully. (Reread that paragraph and absorb and understand it completely.)
This is what has evolved over time from the "survival process". It evolved. It was not "designed" by anyone or anything; it was just the result of a natural process of survival of that which was most survivable in terms of genes and behaviors. The constant random mutations of the genes either were kept in the survival system or eliminated by not being passed on because they did not promote survival or procreation. (Understand Evolution - And The Logic Of How Our Minds And Bodies Work.)
That's it. Nothing fancier. (Though the mechanism as is has been pretty spectacular, with great results!)
ALL PART OF A WORKING MECHANISM BASED ON CHEMICALS
The chemicals and the impulses to survive are all part of your limbic system, which reacts whenever your cortex finds that the present events match patterns stored from the past, either good (seek) or bad (avoid). It does all this reactiveness automatically and solely mechanically, and it doesn't even need for us to be aware of what is going on. .
"Happy chemicals" occur when your brain sees something good for survival, turning off when you've secured it, to seek the next highest survival need "hit" (of satisfaction, of getting it). We were never met to continually generate happy chemicals.
"Unhappy chemicals occur when it looks like we are not succeeding toward better survival. They are designed to get us to stop doing what is unproductive for survival.
That's it. It is just mechanical.
TO THE RESCUE
Your cortex, however can stop the behavior, but relax the attention process for a moment and the limbic (emotional) brain takes over.
Limbic not magical! It sparks your action....we can't "verbalize" what is happening in our neurochemical ups and downs, just note the results. no choice butto work with the system we've got. limbic system can't process language..
THE NEURONAL PATHWAYS ARE BUILT
A huge surge of happy or unhappy chemicals builds a huge neuronal pathway.
Note the physicality here. The unhappy chemicals surge can even last beyond the time when the threat is gone, so they reek a bit of havoc, until they are used up in some way. In the caveman days, we ran (or fought) like hell, and the chemicals were burnt off - but today we don't move, plus we create alot of chemicals reacting to more frequent inputs of what we interpret as possible threats - plus we believe some things are threats that really aren't even on the semi-legitimate list.
Your brain relies on those pathways, as your life depends on it!
To build a new pathway takes huge effort.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ALREADY BUILT PATHWAY
Electricity in your brain seeks the path of least resistance. It takes alot of repetition to build a new one. You must spend alot of time choosing what to feed your adult brain.
The brain works and functions for its purpose; if itGdoes "against" you seemingly it is only because it has a set pathway that is related to survival pictures in the past, period. Thank it for doing such a great job. (There is no "saboteur" involved, though people simplistically attribute much of what happens to this mysterious, personified "force".
UNHAPPY CHEMICALS GET YOUR ATTENTION; YOU SEEK RELIEF
Unhappy checmicals succeed in getting our attention. Give you a sense you must do something. While the brain is always scanning for threats and ways to survive, it is also always scanning for ways to stop us from feeling bad. (Feeling bad is an indicator of potential lack of survival!)
The problem is that we are simplistic and unaware when it comes to seeking relief - we use the most available and obvious and simplest way to get relief: donuts (or the equivalent). And every time you eat donuts (or the equivalent) you further wire the pathway, deeper and deeper as you do it over and over.
The stupid brain says "it gets me survival.".
When disappointment occurs, which means we are not doing well in the survival department, we use donuts. Anything that feels bad is a trigger for eating donuts (or the equivalent for us). elsewhere, triggers donuts.
Geting the "do something" feeling is the equivalent of a common underlying "feeling" that "something is wrong here". (This is actually a belief. We just use language inexactly and sometimes misleadingly.)
… use short term, creates worse feelings, which create more short term activate the same happy circuit over and over.
SO HOW DO WE STOP THE "DOWNWARD" CYCLE
It is vital, obviously, that we stop this deeper and deeper wiring of the undesirable behavior.
So, the best way is to directly actually "stop" it. Sit there and resist the urge. Refuse to react to it. Refuse to let it run you.
KNOW THAT MUCH OF IT IS FROM FAULTY OR INCOMPLETE DATA
What tells you what is good or bad was learned from accidents of experience - actual events about which we make conclusions or inputs from others who happen to be around us. That is not a good way to learn, though it appears to be "how life works". It is definitely an inferior way of learning what works in life, yet we thoughtlessly allow it to continue.
You must refuse to use the default pathway that has the primitive brainbrain trigger more bad feelings. You must persuade it otherwise. By "you" I mean your higher brain.
THE ROLE OF HABITS, PAST AND FUTURE
It takes alot of effort to stop using an automatic pathway. It takes alot of effort to create a new pathway. The problem is that we are unskilled at this and often so naive that we give up way before we have done enough. Because we have failed so often, we assume (by default) that we cannot do it and that our lower mind will prevail. ("I can't help it. It just happens. I can't resist it. It's too powerful." Total bullbleep!)
Repeat a behavior for 45 days even if it doesn't feel good.
An automatic response from an existing pattern is another name for a habit. Habits have been created in the past by accident, non-choice. But you can create some habits by choice changeology skill... allow sufficient time....
Notes for future integration:
Combating the idea of something is wrong here - knowing that is not true and saying it - it somehow gets through from our verbalizing it, which somehow gets translated, from assurances and from physical cues that are part of the mental circuit loop. We feel endangered, we breath faster. We intentionally breathe slowly and deeply, the body recognizes that as something that is associated with safety and it has us start feeling safer (or less threatened). The circuits flow both direction in a feedback loop. We can tell ourselves something is not so important...and it lowers the intensity rating of the threat. This is through the screening of a "viewpoint", which is how you see something. If your cortex sees something as not threatening, it will tend to offset the message from the limbic system that it is threatening, based on its matching of patterns from the past that indicated a threat.