One of the greatest dopamine hits that I can get is learning a new skill set. When in creation and learning mode, I am in a place of thriving and living life to the extreme. Not as in extreme sports per se, extreme in the sense that I am having to use all my resources and knowledge to solve a problem, to tweak the process, to make the process more efficient and smoother. Too often the grind wears us down when we are doing the same thing day in and day out. There are those that can work like this with no issue and I applaud them. They often are the most steady and consistent employees. I am not one these people, I need the challenge, or my mind starts to shut down and become a bump on a log. Many of you reading this will understand exactly what I am talking about. While other think we live the exciting life, yet it is not for them. It is a balance that is needed.
I believe in this line of thinking is a main reason gaming is so addicting, it offers this dopamine hit, or better said dopamine drip. Gaming in of itself is not a bad thing. Not all that much different than a board game like risk or monopoly if you are using as social time and not playing alone. One reason mmorpg’s are so big is because of the social dynamic that goes with it. This social dynamic along with the dopamine hits of game create an interesting combination of forces on the mind. With the major problem of letting the body wither away.
The Gym or any other physical outlet offers another dopamine hit. Depending on what you are chasing. That one rep max, faster time on your marathon, doing your WOD for the day in an efficient time, building the body of a Greek god or Superhero. Even in these endeavors one must be careful that they do not get caught up in it becoming a dopamine drip. When you are going beyond what you are capable, ie. Trying to squat 500lb or running a 24-hour marathon. When you have not even trained to do it in the first place. You need to push the limits with out destroying yourself. There are those that get stuck in physical cycle of destruction and when injured it can play at the mind in a fierce way, plunge one into a depression.
Can one be too spiritual or godly, I think so. I have met those through the years that went in search of a higher self of sorts. That let their body go to waste as they chased something that was missing in themselves. Their dopamine hit is from spiritual moments. They go so far into a fanatical belief that they let go of common sense of the mind. Both leading to the detriment of themselves in mind and body.
I have laid out three ways where dopamine hits can affect you in negative ways if you allow them to. Which brings me to my original thought of this article of when you can get your dopamine hit for all three at the same time. Creating a balance and more powerful hit of dopamine, making life exciting. This can be simple walk in the woods enjoying a cigar or pipe. To pushing yourself to your physical limits in a Spartan race. These types of activities will incorporate body, mind, & spirit, taking you places you never dreamed possible.
To supercharge this line of thought – learn a new skill. Building on what you already know and adding more skills become dopamine hits of variance that keep you on an edge of your seat mentality. Learning how to take your thoughts and put them into print for others to see and learn from. Creating fire with flint and steel into a roaring bond fire. Building a body that when you look in the mirror you are proud of from lifting iron, running for time, biking wonderous paths, swimming to the edge.
My latest is sailing, I am coming to find out how it combines all these thoughts into one. Balancing the wind, water, sails of the boat, in a dance across the wave. Currently sailing a 16 ft Compac that keeps you on your toes. When everything comes together, and I am skimming across the lake it becomes quite spiritual. Then as things change quickly on a small lake, having the physical ability and mental capacity to keep up with what is going on becomes a rush. Let’s be clear there are faster, nicer, and other boats to fit each personality. As I learn the art of sailing, this boat is just what is needed as I continue to learn the skill set of sailing. It is giving me at this time the dopamine hit that I am seeking. Giving me a balance in life.
I spend enough time on electronic devices, I am working to building a body in the garage gym, I read to keep my mind strong, I find solace in my beliefs. When I can take all of this and put it into one activity, I get the ultimate dopamine hit. The others I have learned are more a tease to what I can truly achieve with balance.
Agnitio Veritas Macto
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