Motivation and Dopamine





To change a habit, we need to be motivated. What is it that motivated us?  Each person is different: fear is a strong motivator, for others it is inspiration. What we all of us have in common is a dopamine reward system, which is the basis of anticipated pleasure.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the craving and anticipation of pleasure. It underlies all addictions, from drugs to social media. Each time you drink alcohol, play a video game, post a selfie, or smoke a cigarette, we choose to feed our dopamine reward network. Addiction changes not only the functioning of our neural circuits, but the structure of the underlying molecular pathways, including which genes are expressed in our DNA. Dopamine is produced in several parts of the brain, and is involved in different types of psychological behavior, one of the most important of which is motivation. The good news is that we can use the dopamine reward system to help us form new habits. And good habits can in turn, spontaneously support stopping bad habits.

It is very interesting that our diet and the composition of our gut bacteria affect dopamine in our brain. A great number of healthy gut bacteria have been linked to the production of dopamine, while an unhealthy gut can adversely affect the production of dopamine. We are, literally, what we eat. Changing what we eat can profoundly changes the makeup of our microbiome. If we eat a vegetarian diet one day and meat the next, it will alter the composition of our gut bacteria. Is there any probiotic or diet that can increase our motivation toward healthier habits? We are looking for it but we don’t yet know. Certainly, the simplest way to improve our gut bacteria is by eating a healthier diet, which basically means eating more fruits and vegetables, and more fiber. Everything affects our microbiome, which in turn affects our health. Exercise, meditation, and sleep, are all essential factors in improving our health. Learning a super habit like TM can help to reduce a wide variety of addictions. The trick to living a healthier and a longer life is to make use the of dopamine reward system to help us adopt healthy habits.  

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation program—
Happiness is the goal of everyone. The mind of man is searching for it, but many times in the wrong way and in the wrong places. It is not to be found in outward, worldly things. It is here within us all. What we have to do is reach inwards and with the help of Transcendental Meditation let the mind rise to the level of perfect happiness—utter bliss.

Try learning a super habit like Transcendental Meditation and see how it affects your other habits.

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Wishing you great good health and happiness,
Dr Robert Keith Wallace and The Biohack Longevity, Doc Gut, Dosha Guru, and Dharma Parenting Teams