We all talk a lot about motivation and its necessity in our lives. We describe it as a driving force behind every success story. Yet, motivation is a difficult topic to cover. In this article, I intend to explain the dopamine and the science behind motivation:
Motivation has everything to do with neuroscience, which involves the study of neurotransmitters. One of the most crucial neurotransmitters is dopamine, which is an essential hormone that triggers chemical changes in different systems working in a human brain. A particular system that uses dopamine to motivate a person for any particular task during any specific situation is the reward system.
What dopamine really does? The dopamine releases chemical signals that pass from one neuron to the next. And while that signal travels between those two neurons, dopamine interacts with several receptors inside the synapse. Given the fact that there are several types of receptors, neurons, and pathways that neurotransmitters have to take, the topic gets more complicated.
For motivation, the point that matters the most is the reward system – A specific pathway that dopamine has to take. The mesolimbic pathway, which starts from the middle of the brain to reach out to its different areas, is the most essential reward pathway.
One of the areas lying in the mesolimbic pathway is the nucleus accumbens. When nucleus accumbens has an increased amount of dopamine, it activates feedback, which may also be called predicting rewards. Triggering of these rewards is the way your brain predicts something.
Dopamine And The Science Behind Motivation
What can cause a spike in dopamine?
The release of dopamine is an essential part of the procedure of obtaining rewards. It means that its primary job is to create an urge to take action. Not too long ago, people used to think of dopamine as a neurotransmitter for pleasure. However, researchers saw strange phenomena when they looked closely. They noticed spikes in dopamine during stressful situations.
Generally, a lack of dopamine can result in a person or animal avoiding going for things they need to do. So, it is more about motivation than benefits.
Boosting your productivity by hacking your dopamine
The anticipation of a significant upcoming event can trigger a dopamine spike, bringing you much-needed motivation to push forward.
That said, you can train your brain to feed off bursts of dopamine to have more rewarding experiences. You can do this by setting incremental goals. Your brain’s positive reinforcement will result in a better dopamine flow, making it easy for you to complete different steps and meet all challenges during your work.
Here are the ways that can improve your dopamine flow:
- Create a to-do list to set several small goals. As you will make progress, you will feel the effects of dopamine.
- Make sure that other people recognize your work. For that purpose, you can share your results with your colleagues. Their feedback will help you to move forward.
- Focusing on a task that looks bigger and diverse is not an easy undertaking. Therefore, you can set micro-deadlines by dividing this task into several smaller subtasks. With the accomplishment of every subtask, you will see positive feedback, which is going to increase your dopamine.
- If you feel like you are about to get distracted from the work that needs your utmost attention at the moment, you need to focus on how great you will feel when your work is complete. It is called results-driven focus, and it can help you complete your work within set deadlines.
Remember, it is necessary to make an effort consistently. Sometimes, the best cure for low motivation is to stick with your task even when you don’t want to. You can work on methods to increase your dopamine, but if you are not willing to get out of your comfort zone, all that dopamine-thing will be for nothing.