After reading a bit about dopamine I’ve come to realize that almost all human behavior (and that of mammals in general) can be understood as the biological drive for dopamine. Nature created the ultimate reward system by allowing us to naturally create a brain chemical that makes us happy, but only will trigger its release if we do ‘good’ according to the rules of nature.
When you eat, you get dopamine. When you exercise, you get dopamine. Sugar surges it to very high levels. So depressed people go for sugar for a reason.
Money doesn’t buy you happiness. But it could buy you a steady stream of dopamine sources. But more dopamine means that the threshold for dopamine happiness rises so people need ever more dopamine stimulation to be happy.
Most people know of ritalin. But what does it actually do that helps people with ADHD? It raises dopamine levels so people aren’t actively seeking dopamine sources while trying to ‘concentrate’. Seriously.
People get addicted to sources of dopamine and so will most any animal.
Compliments give us dopamine too. But don’t harm us the way sugar can by loading us up with excess carbohydrates or requiring pharmaceuticals. So bring on those compliments and kind words.