Give A Dopamine Hit a Day

Whether you like it or not, you have some sort of impact whenever you interact with other people. On the ‘having an impact’ scale, it will range from highly positive to highly negative. I have a suspicion that the middle bit of the scale, ‘no impact at all’, probably doesn’t exist.

For, the more narcissistic, the more insecure and the obsessive selfie, members of the species impact may have personal implications. However, there are some rather more far reaching effects of impact. These are things like, increasing motivation, increasing effort, improving quality of work, creating a positive relationship, reducing conflict, improving problem solving and decision-making, and reducing stress.

Phew, that’s quite a list. Does it mean smoking something illegal, I hear you ask?

Well, no. But it does mean doing something about your behaviour. Put simply, it means dishing out dopamine hits.

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that has a wide variety of very complex functions. I say this because I am going to only refer to a couple of things it does and didn’t want dopamine to think that I was doing it a disservice-it might become depressed. One of its functions is to make us feel good. When nice things happen to us, we secrete dopamine in our brain and it latches onto special receptors that create a positive feeling. For this reason, dopamine is also associated with addiction, but this is another story for another blog perhaps.

The really interesting bit is that higher levels of dopamine increases some of the behaviours mentioned above such as motivation, quality of work, effort, and cognitive ability. I’d call this a positive impact.

The other side of the coin is that stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol do the opposite. While in relatively low and normal doses they do, in fact, improve performance, in high doses and when the stimulus is noxious they will impact badly on performance, motivation and so on. This would be the effect of a negative impact. The person also feels bad.

So, it’s now a matter of choice. Greet people, smile, ask about their weekend sporting activity, give positive but realistic feedback about people’s work, be pleasant, engage. Manage by walking around at least once a day. Get out of your citadel.

If you just had a row with your accountant, are frustrated by your moody teenager, ran over one of your kid’s toys in the driveway and scratched the front spoiler or got caught in a shower of rain, you will need to shed your grumpy mood before walking into work or opening the front door of your house. Or your impact will be negative and the rest, I have described above.

So, give out your dopamine hits today and make a positive difference.

For more on this we can arrange a coaching session or perhaps we can arrange one of my courses for your organisation

Dr. Stewart Chase

Dr. Stewart Chase

Consultant Psychologist

Dr Stewart Hase is our guest blogger, sharing his insights into Heutagogy, Leadership, Neuroscience and Neuroleadership: “A Master Class on Neuroscience and Leadership”.


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