“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” -Unknown
Since my last write up, I’ve dived deep within the realms of intrinsic psychology to study happiness. Why? It’s quite simple- for one, I’ve been in and out of circumstantial depression throughout my adolescence and immediate adulthood. I also happen to be someone who doesn’t shy away from the effort to make a change- as it’s helped me cope with life’s largest obstacles thrown my way so far; and they’ve been plenty. Molding one’s effort to make an effort helps fortify a persons resilience and adaptability to life’s greatest constant- change. There is no alternative argument to the same.
So, at the tender and not-so-young-anymore age of twenty-six, it’s taken years of patience, hurt, learning, compassion and understanding to build a dynamic equation to activate happiness at will.
THAT’S RIGHT! YOU READ IT CORRECTLY- ACTIVATE HAPPINESS!
We’ve all heard the saying by Croseus in 6 century B.C., “No one who lives is happy.” Well, no one at the time, nor had at the time falling beyond this philosophical metric. While historical evidence suggests that times were rough and that our ancestors lived through an era of plague, disease and death- natural or otherwise- it’s important for us to understand that we’ve come a long way since 6 century B.C.- nearly two millennia! And yet, the tangent of evolutionary development of human beings has not changed much since we evolved into Homo sapiens due to constant distractions permeating areas of early personal development through all forms of media.
When something’s off about a situation, we know it is- but we rarely know the root cause. We devise our own justifications around circumstantial elements that contribute to hindering the equilibrium of a situation otherwise sensed- because that’s how it helps us understand it- and cope. This slippery concept is used as a proxy for all sorts of other concepts, from pleasure and joy to plenitude and contentment- to help us move through the entirety of our lives.
Being happy in the moment, Samuel Johnson said, could be achieved only when drunk. For Jean-Jacques Rousseau, happiness was to lie in a boat, drifting aimlessly, feeling like a God (not exactly the picture of productivity). There are other definitions of happiness, too, but they are neither less nor more plausible but those of Rousseau or Johnson.
But what if we knew the chemical makeup of happiness? Fortunately, we do. And I’ll be happy to share it with you (see what I did there?).
There are four major chemicals in the brain that influence our happiness (DOSE):
And like working within a team, each one has a specific role to play in happiness. Before moving to the recipe to activate them, let’s take a minute to understand what each one does.
Dopamine is usually described at THE happiness drug. However, this is a huge misconception devised by malformed clerics who preach the same message to the world over endless repetitions. Dopamine is actually a chemical that is activate in ‘anticipation’ of happiness- like a good trailer before the beginning of a great movie. Know the difference.
Oxytocin is known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ and is activated naturally in the body as a stimulus when close to another person. When there’s a chemical bond established between two people, oxytocin is activated wherein expressive emotions (millennial translation- PDA) begin to arise. It can also be triggered through social bonding, like eye contact and attentiveness. This helps strengthen existing bonds and relationships.
Serotonin which is widely understood to control your greater mood. If you’re in a good mood, you’ve got serotonin to thank. And if you’re in a bad mood, you’ve got serotonin to blame. And while you may think that the temperamental flux of this chemical is caused due to external factors, you’re not entirely right, as more than 80 per cent of serotonin exists in your stomach. This, dear reader, is the pure definition of being ‘hangry‘; and while the opposite requires you to relentlessly eat, also explains the unfathomable weight gain most corporate mavericks experience throughout their days in the cubicle.
Lastly, endorphins- the last dose of the DOSE hormones. They’ve responsible for masking pain or discomfort, which explains they’re association with the “fight or flight” mechanic. When it comes to designing happiness, endorphins help you “power through.” What else helps you make it through that last leg of a marathon, or the few concluding pages of your dissertation that you’ve been working on, or even that presentation that you’ve been working on all weekend for Monday (Sunday for some of us) morning?
A healthy mix of the DOSE chemicals help you maintain happiness that further aids insatiable productivity getting you even closer to success than you’ve ever been. We have the ability to control how we feel and what we do during the day. Most of us are employed under the devise of corporate sustenance, educational commitment or entrepreneurship that will take an average of 10 hours of your activate day. But what about the rest? It’s entirely up to us as to how we choose to spend the next 6 hours awake while maintaining a healthy sleep cycle of 8 hours.
By designing daily experiences that activate these chemicals, you can increase your happiness, productivity and unparalleled personal growth.
WAKE UP EARLY
While this seems like an easy one, it’s not. For all you smart-asses out there, I don’t mean waking up 15 minutes before you actually do (though, if need be, start with that). Wake up early in the morning- preferably before sunrise. Waking up early does three things for you- firstly, it gives you more time in the day. Isn’t that amazing? You have a whole new amount of time to do whatever you want to do. Initially, I used waking up early to rack up my score on FIFA (LOL). I actually woke up early every day to play on my playstation before work. This was amazing! And yet, slightly short-lived as I soon came to the realization that I could so much more with this time. Secondly, it helps you clear your gut- true story. It easily helps you go to the loo immediate and without any external factors required to propagate the same (coffee?). Thirdly, absolute and complete mindfulness; you are in control. You- dear reader- get to decide how you choose to use this time that you have, and however you choose to use it, it will define your pace for the rest of the day as it activates positive serotonin that you need to take heed of your day’s tasks ahead.
#triathleteinmotion everyone. Just saying. If you haven’t looked me up on Instagram as yet, do it. I wake up early every morning to meditate and well, sweat it out. I believe that my morning psyche is fine-tuned when I exercise. My body is so adept to this beautiful metric that if I don’t, I fall short of energy that I need to get through the day. A healthy dose of exercise gets my heart rate running and further helps me activate dopamine- a healthy requirement to look forward to the day (for those of you who complain about long days at the office, you need this to do your tasks faster, and more accurately; ergo helping you get out of the office earlier than said time). Go for a walk, skip, run, box, or simply go lift that goddamn iron- lord knows you need it!
EAT WHOLE FOODS
More than a healthy body, you need a healthy mind. And while most of us running between tasks and meetings, it’s important that you fuel yourself correctly. An unleaded car engine won’t work on diesel- you’ll kill it. The same goes with your brain. If you think French fries and avocado on toast aren’t as damaging to your body ergo you blissfully consume the same, it is not good for your mind. Your neural receptors hit a dead end when you do the same. You miss that spark- that utterly beautiful idea that sets things in motion, or even the clarity of thought to fly through your work goes missing, as eating unhealthily f**ks up your levels of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Be careful, and take heed of these words.
REFLECT ON EVENTS OF THE DAY, EVERYDAY
A consumerist society has taught us how to scrutinize relentlessly through our days alive. Find a bad service at a restaurant? Write about it on Yelp/ Zomato. A company just sold you a shitty product? Take to a social platform and complain away. Your associate just gave you a piece of work, throw them under the bus as far as their evening plans are concerned and ask for a re-work on the same.
WE’RE MADE TO COMPLAIN ALL THE TIME.
And it doesn’t stop there. We constantly judge the way others do things as we have a better idea of how to go about the same. There’s really no surprise why lawyers are paid so much to do what they do- it’s because their entire professional lives revolve around scrutinizing work, processes, documents at hand! And while most of us can’t quite help this adjunct stimulus, there are ways to work around it. At the end of every day, try going over the good things that happened to you through the course of the same. Why? You trick your brain to scanning for the positives- which is a healthy change from what it’s usually used to doing. This creates an element of appreciation and contentment that certain tasks were completed, successfully (or are in the interim- and moving forward). You need not thank me, thank oxytocin and endorphins.
STICK BY YOUR DECISIONS
Decide people, decide. The small things in life such as making a decision on things is really not as easy as we make it to be. And for that, we have no one but ourselves to blame. It is but hypocritical of us to move through life making decisions but not standing by them. If you need help making decisions, be a sport and scan through this article that I wrote not too long ago-
Decisions help us stay committed. And commitment is an anchor. Anchors help us work well in a schedule. When there’s no anchor to anything that we do, we lose focus- the primary cause to feeling defeated and thus intimidated by not-so-magnanimous external focus that shift as away from the path to process we so desire. In conclusion, decision-making factors ALL of the D-O-S-E chemicals required to maintaining a sustainable state of happiness (and eventually, contentment).
TMI? I’m glad. It’s about time we moved away from blurting out small blabs to define complex processes. Take heed of the information above, as it’s critical that you understand the same, to find absolute happiness in whatever you sought to do.
Thanks for reading my blog! See you later on another episode of #60SECONDMOTIVATION