As human beings, we are simple creatures. We are driven by chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters, which are continually being released into the body. The acronym D.O.S.E. describes the four chemicals our body craves: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins.
Dopamine is responsible for feelings of success, Oxytocin makes us trust, Serotonin creates a feeling of importance and Endorphins produce a feeling of euphoria. At our basest level, our body is made up of chemical elements with some electricity. At the next level, we are simply reptilian animals, whose behavior is driven by the addiction to these four chemicals, and others such as acetylcholine (which leads to relaxation) and GABA (produces a calming effect). We are programmed to continually seek out and fulfill a chemical ‘fix’. Feel good chemicals are perceived as pleasure, and the feel bad chemicals (like cortisol) are perceived as pain.
Through a feel good chemical release, the brain’s pleasure center knows when something is enjoyable, which reinforces the desire for us to repeat that pleasurable action. This is called the ‘reward circuit’ and includes all pleasure, from sex to laughter, to certain types of drug use. As the brain perceives pleasure, it impacts the body in various ways by releasing other chemicals such as Beta-Endorphins which decrease pain and Vasopressin which increases bonding.
Because we crave the stimulus of these chemicals, our value system is affected. We evaluate the actions we take in relation to the type and amount of chemical released by that particular action. The release of these chemicals and the resultant feelings are all about you – nothing external has interfered with this process. It is all taking place within your own body independent of anything outside of you even though you feel that an outside event / action / occurrence resulted in you feeling a particular way. It is not what happened around or outside of you that results in the release of the chemicals you crave.
An absence of feel good chemicals leaves us uneasy, and we are programmed to achieve the release of them. At a base level, this is nothing more than a teaching process, where our behavior becomes Pavlovian (or stemming from basic classical conditioning).
So, if all our feelings are based on the timely release of certain chemicals that have nothing to do with what is outside of us, then what controls which chemicals are released? Why will I have a good release of GABA, making me feel calm and relaxed when my 5 cats and 3 dogs are barking and meowing around me and you perhaps experience annoyance and anxiety in the same circumstance, resulting in the release of chemicals that make you feel anxious and stressed? Well, since birth we have been establishing values for certain things that our mind releases feel good or feel bad chemicals in response to. If, when you were young, you experienced animals as a way to receive and show love, then 8 animals running around your home will stimulate the release of feel good chemicals, but if your mom was overworked and pets were a burden and a mess to clean up after, then you may have some feel bad chemical responses. But what is it exactly that decides which chemicals get released? If it has nothing to do with what is outside of us, and it doesn’t otherwise we would all have the same response to anything and everything we experience, then what is it inside of us that makes the difference to how we feel?
It’s what you think! That’s the only difference in anything and everything. What you think creates your own unique perspective which in turn results in you feeling one way or the other about what you experience, resulting in the release of feel good or feel bad chemicals. In the above example, I think animals are love, fun, and happiness and you perhaps think they are work, noisy and dirty. It’s as simple as that! It blows my mind each time I think about this – change what you truly think about something and that ‘something’ changes before your eyes! Kaboom – mind blown!
So, if we have established these values in our mind, which in turn tell our body which chemicals to release, then it stands to reason that we can reprogram our mind, to install different motivational programs. This reprogramming takes a bit of practice, but mostly what you need is a desire and willingness to change. The rest becomes automatic. In order to download different software, we have to bypass our critical filter (analytical mind) to access the subconscious. This can be done in a few ways: Hypnotherapy, Meditation, Affirmations and a combination of all three. Through these modalities, we can access the space where our true beliefs reside and reprogram them to contain the elements of the life we desire.
Thank you for reading our blog. The information used here was taken from the book Thin From Within by Steve Webster C.HT