PHOTO: Dan Burton
Text: Alejandra Misiolek
There are people who get easily excited about things and are capable of investing a lot of their time and energy in doing them. But frequently it is only a short-lived enthusiasm and often they see that this energy is maintained only at the beginning and over time they lose interest and either procrastinate or simply give up and look for a new excitement.
Are you this kind of person?
This pattern doesn´t have to be a bad thing but it can get out of hand. If there is no new excitement, there seems to be sadness, boredom and even anxiety. If you recognize yourself in this pattern, you probably have difficulty in being present here and now and you tend to live in the future, making plans. You are excited about what is going to happen in your fantasy and not living the reality. And in comparison to the excitement of your dreams, your reality can be depressing.
If we were to translate it into neurobiology of our brain, there is a disbalance between dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of more. When it is secreted in the brain, we feel pleasure and excitement as if we got a promise of something exciting about to happen. Dopamine is like chasing carrots.
Serotonin and oxytocin are neurotransmitter of here and now. When they are secreted, we feel pleasure here and now. We can enjoy the moment and be aware of what surrounds us.
The balance between these neurotransmitters is a healthy homeostasis that causes that we can be present in the here and now and enjoy food or sex, but also be able to plan the future and have dreams because we are driven by the excitement of the promises that the future can bring.
Some people lose this balance and incline towards one or the other. The dopaminergic people live in the future and they can´t really be happy. Why? Because they are driven by a promise of the future that never comes. By definition, when the future becomes the present, it is no longer the future, and it is not nearly as exciting as it was as long as it was our fantasy. Fantasy is normally tailored to our needs and it is always perfect, reality is not and by contrast, we don´t appreciate it as much.
Fantasy is a mechanism that children use a lot and especially those whose reality was terrible, and they had to refuge in their fantasy. When they become adults, they have beautiful ability of a vivid imagination that they can use but it can turn against them if their happiness continues depending on it. Only by seeing that the reality can also be good can we enjoy it and give up on the fantasy and the dependence on dopamine.