Dopamine is the brain’s favorite drug. It’s pleasure chemical that actually gives birth to consciousness in our frontal lobes. Pain, however – real or imaginary – turns off the desire to explore the world, and it impedes the ability to make wise decisions.
Because the brain pays more attention to pain, it’s easy to ignore the pleasant experiences that constantly occur around us. But this makes us dopamine-deficient, causing us to lose interest in relationships and work. It also turns off the optimism generated in the left frontal lobe.
However, if we take sixty seconds every hour to immerse ourselves in simple pleasures, we’ll suppress negative thoughts generated in the right frontal lobe. We’ll get a dopamine “rush” that increases confidence, lowers anxiety, and boosts work productivity.
Try it right now. Begin to slowly stretch your arms and legs in ways that generate the greatest pleasure. Then take your fingers and stroke the palms of your hands, immersing yourself in the pleasant sensations. Deepen your breathing as you stroke your face scalp, because this will intensify your pleasure. Now run your palms over your clothing, paying attention to how each texture feels.
Breathe through your nose and notice the cool air traveling up your nostrils. If it feels nice, say “Mmm.” Finally, use your eyes to savor all the wonderful colors and shapes that surround you.
When you do this exercise, it’s impossible for your brain to focus on any negative thoughts or problems, and the “Mmm” sound actually slows down the thinking process of your frontal lobes. You’re actually letting your busy mind take a little nap and the dopamine that is released will bring a greater sense of clarity and satisfaction the moment you go back to work.