(be fulfilled- have enough)
Balancing our inner motivations and clarifying the difference between pleasure and contentment to find the balance of happiness. These are the 2 ways we satiate:
SPEEDY (short lived)
INNARDS (visceral feeling)
TRYING (chasing, to get/ take)
EXCITE (electrify neurons)
SLOW (savouring - long lived)
INSPIRED (ethereal attitude)
TRUSTING (therefore giving)
EASE (down regulate neurons)
Then: OPIOIDS, ENDORPHINS, CORTISOL & ADRENALINE
Negative thought cycle (risk): criticise-confuse-crave-cave
Positive thought cycle (reward):
BALANCE = HAPPINESS
Which is ever moving and changing with context, so…
It’s not what you do, but how you choose to do it!
How do we find balance?
Dopamine: is the exciting neurotransmitter that excites neurons (as a signal to pay attention) in anticipation of a stimulant. Endogenous opioid (rush of pleasure), Cortisol (rush of fear/excitement), Adrenaline (rush of energy for attack) or Endorphins (rush of pain relief), after which the neurons must close down to protect themselves, which gives a feeling of withdrawal. This is all a natural part of our motivation system, like the dog - doing, getting, busy, like:
Modern Tricks: We can now trick our reward systems with these things, which we may want to consider reducing:
Serotonin: is the down-regulator of neurons, which is a necessary component in relating, resting and digesting (food and information). If dopamine is ‘doing’, serotonin is ‘Being’ - like the sloth - slow, calm, content. Or a Cat purring nicely. We can generate this via:
Risk / Reward Cycles: IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO, SO MUCH AS HOW YOU DO IT. Any activity can be done in a content way (with rewards), or a way that chases pleasure (with risks).
Doing something dog-like: to chase and control a pleasurable outcome risks falling into our innate bias towards negative thinking, which could negate our efforts to find pleasure. The mind may jump to negative stories as expectations are rarely met, creating confusion & craving.
Some activities encourage contentment - meditation, reading, walking, whereas others discourage contentment, like gambling or gossip. The more we ‘choose how to be’ with mindfulness the more activities can be contented.
Doing something sloth-like, or cat-like: mindfully, slowing down to to connect. This will lead us to more long-term rewards. Sex, sports, and productivity can all be a contented if we slow down and reduce our ‘need’ for pleasure and ‘avoidance’ of pain. Then we can balance our desires and find happiness in the mix.
NEIL MORBEY (2018)