The human body is truly an outstanding machine that has so many capabilities, yet so many of us often times fail to recognise it, let alone harness it’s true power and move forward to understand ourselves better.
Take for instance, addictions. I think in many people’s meanings, there is a negative association with that word “addiction”, however did you realise that we are all in fact addicted right now.
You may be wondering what to, well this is where the science comes into play. We have these molecules in our body call neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are small protein-like molecules used by neurons to communicate with each other.
Neuropeptides are released by neurons, and mediate neuronal communication by acting on cell surface receptors. The human genome contains about 90 genes that encode precursors of neuropeptides. At present about 100 different peptides are known to be released by different populations of neurons in the human brain, which use chemical signals to communicate information.
All these neurons are created in the hypothalamus. Think of it like your own personal chemistry set built into your brain, just above the stem.
What does that all mean?
It basically means, when you feel a certain way, your hypothalamus will create and release a set of neurons that have a particular chemical combination that create that feeling you’ve just had.
That feeling could be hunger, pain, happiness, joy, anger. It could be any one of the many human emotions we all have.
So each emotional state, has a particular combination. Each state will trigger the release.
So what has this got to do with addiction?
It’s simple. If you have a propensity to get angry often, it’s because you are addicted to getting angry. If you like to seek out joy through extracurricular activities, it is because you are addicted to those activities.
If you find yourself always emotionally down and seeking out the comfort of others, it is because you are addicted to that particular emotional state. The more we perpetuate a certain state, the more we are telling our hypothalamus that we need more of that combination. That’s how it works.
We all do this. We all do this too often, and often times we do it and not realize we are doing it.
The lesson here is to be aware of what emotional states you are addicted to. Ask yourself the questions about why you do the things you do, in order to get into the emotional state you get into.
Why do you go dancing? What are you REALLY trying to achieve by being there. Are you sure you are going for the right reasons. Why play sports? Why pursue the career you are in?
These may sound like easy to answer, obvious questions, but dig deeper. Dig far enough, and you will always find the real reason, when you are being 100% honest with yourself.
In coaching, I would talk to people about toward and away reasons, and these are the things that will either empower us, or dwell in our unconscious minds and prevent us from achieving our dreams.
It’s good to have things that we are addicted to. I’m personally addicted to joy, and I love being in a state of flow and happiness all the time. That’s not to say I’m not human, and I don’t get down. Of course I have bad days too, however they are far and few between when you start retraining your body to get addicted to the good things in life.