Is that dopamine in your blood?
Question 9: What drives dopamine in you?
I asked this question as I visited Dopamineland : moving from one room to the other and going through the ‘immersive’ and ‘multisensory’ experience, I made a mental note to do a thorough research on the ‘hero’ hormones and how they arise in the body. I’ve always been so drawn to the idea that these little moving bodies in our blood can boost that fiery anger rushing to your head, or soothe you as you relax into a hug.
I’ve also gone a bit too far at times. At one point, (mis)interpreting all the science, philosophy and psychology I’ve been reading in my 20s and getting carried away by the halo of a ‘big idea’ to remain in control of whatever is going on in my life, I made a grand statement to my then boyfriend : ‘You are getting all too romantic about all this stuff, it’s only HORMONES that lead to us falling in love — a chemical cocktail!’ The level of extreme simplification and nihilism in this statement makes me laugh nowadays. And luckily, we were able to joke about it later on with my friend : how Safak dismissed (and found security in dismissing) emotions by calling them ‘chemicals bumping into each other’
When you take a more balanced approach, you’ll find out that dopamine is the hormone of rich colors, sensations in activities such as eating and a fun game or exploration and learning where you can actually feel your interest and energy levels rising. If you’re interested in identifying and getting in touch with your ‘dopamine’ moments, I suggest that you keep the google search at 15 mins maximum and actually spend more time beign mindful about the experience next time. Knowing which activities increase your dopamine levels such as dancing to a feel-good song or eating your favourite comfort food is some information, and noticing how the energy arises in your body and how you get more engaged second by second during that ride is your personal knowledge.
My random dopamine list covers super ordinary and personally extraordinary acts :
- First morning of the year where I’m FINALLY on the beach (sunshine here I come!)
- Dancing to random late night playlist inspired by a movie, a phone conversation or stories in my mind
- Colours while meditating — happens when I’m already relaxed and meditation can be a ‘psychedelic mind movie’ for inspiration
- Sleeping outside when tipsy and cheerful
- Kissing (so many details and specific stimulations on this one that it deserves its own dedicated research)
- Finding out about an event, activity or work of art and anticipating its arrival (we’re going to have so much fun!)
The dopamine ‘rush’ is truly strong when it arrives across all these moments, and it might become the sensation to chase. It’s no wonder that looking for the constant high drives us to our extremes and we might not even notice we’re showing signals of ‘addiction’.
The human says : ‘I need more and I need it now, and I want it to stay as it is’ Life responds : ‘Let’s take a step back and remember the essentials again : Impermanence. It is so vivid and beautiful as it will appear and disappear in your body and mind’
Hope you’re getting to enjoy the rides of dopamine during the summer days.