Being motivated to do something we don’t enjoy indeed is one of the hardest things we have ever done. Waking up early morning to study for the exam, going to the gym or do exercises, doing house chores are some of them that we barely find the motivation to do and the list is never-ending. Nevertheless, people try healthy and unhealthy methods to get at least a little bit of motivation to complete those boring tasks. Our morning coffee is one of the motivation boosters.
Inside Process Of Getting Motivated
It’s vital to know how we get motivated and what does really cause motivation.
It’s all done by a cluster of neurons located in the middle of the brain (ventral tegmental area – VTA). Whenever these neurones got activated, they release a neurotransmitter called Dopamine. When dopamine gets passed to the nucleus accumbens through the mesolimbic pathway (reward pathway in the brain), it triggers feedback for predicting rewards. Essentially, your brain recognizes that something important is about to happen, so dopamine kicks in.
How To Manipulate Brain Chemicals
• Boost Dopamine Level.
There has been a study conducted with 73 participants to identify what makes VTA activated. They have used fMRI (a scanner that can detect what parts of the brain are most active and focused on that area associated with motivation) to monitor the results.
First participants were told to be motivated and they checked their motivation level. According to the results, they were not that motivated and Dr. Alison Adcock, a psychiatrist at Duke and senior author on the study paper said “They weren’t that reliable when we said, ‘Go! Get psyched. Turn on your VTA”
Then the participants were allowed to watch a neurofeedback meter that displayed activity in their ventral tegmental area which leads to the fMRI results heat up.
One of the researchers Kathryn Dickerson has tried this research herself and initially, she has tried thinking about different memories which lead to no results in the meter. Then she has switched strategy and tried giving herself a pep talk in the scanner. “I was like, ‘Come on Katie. Move the thermometer. Just do it and move it.’ And I just pumped myself up. That was very effective,” she says.
According to the study paper, some people have sung Queen songs to themselves or imagined having an angry coach yell at them in the scanner which made the meter pump up.
How To Boost Dopamine
Setting up small goals is an effective method to get motivated by increasing dopamine levels. At the finish line of every task, there should be a small celebration or a reward for finishing up the goals to boost dopamine release.
• Boost Serotonin
Serotonin releases when you feel important or significant. Whenever you feel depressed it’s easy to fix your mood by increasing your serotonin level. Princeton neuroscientist Barry Jacobs explains that most antidepressants focus on the production of serotonin.
How to Boost Serotonin
Reminding your past achievement can release serotonin because our brain can’t identify the difference between imagination and real-time. This is why practicing gratitude is essential on daily basis. Gratitude practice or maintaining a gratitude journal reminds every good thing we have with the mental pictures which help to boost serotonin.
Exposing yourself to the sun for a good 15 to 20 minutes also can release serotonin because when the skin absorbed UV rays, it helps to promote Vitamin-D and serotonin production.
Now you know that you can get motivated or increase motivation by hacking your brain chemicals. It’s easier than hacking computers.