The more we learn about how our mind works, the more we can use it to our advantage.
In the book Meet Your Happy Chemicals (which, as of August 22, 2023, is currently selling on Amazon for $390.98!), Loretta Breuning explains the science behind how our brain produces happy chemicals like dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin and serotonin. She discusses how these neurotransmitters influence our emotions and help us experience pleasure, motivation or satisfaction.
The best part? These same chemicals can also be the key to developing unshakeable confidence. Ready to meet these "happy drugs?"
Let's start with dopamine, often called the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter. It's the anticipation of a reward that triggers dopamine.
Dopamine signals when to expect a reward, and because you know that a reward is coming, you invest effort in anticipation of it. The bigger the reward and the closer you get to it, the more of that delicious dopamine feeling your brain releases.
Imagine this scenario: You've been working hard to be able to become a full-time freelancer for years. You've saved up, built relationships, and put out as many proposals as possible to gain new clients. Now, picture yourself finalizing the proposals, allowing you to hit an income comparable to your current full-time position. You did it!
With every word you type for your resignation letter, you can feel the dopamine flowing, not just from the idea of finally being freed from the shackles of corporate life but from the satisfaction of the journey it took to get there. Your hard work has been rewarded, it's an incredibly satisfying feeling, isn't it?
Moving onto serotonin, the "prestige" chemical. It’s frequently associated with the feeling of importance or social dominance. At its core, serotonin isn't just about dominance or recognition—it's deeply intertwined with our sense of security.
It's a chemical compass, constantly gauging our access to vital resources and how safe we are in our environments. When we feel we have secure access to these resources, be it material, social, or emotional, serotonin gives us that feel-good nudge.
Ever wondered why receiving praise or accolades feels so gratifying? It’s because such moments signal to our brain that we are valued members of our community or group. That we have achieved a level of security in our social standing. In her enlightening book, Loretta Graziano Breuning paints a clear picture: Our brains are always on the lookout to ensure our survival and security.
When we feel secure, serotonin surges, and we're filled with that comforting warmth of affirmation.
Imagine being acknowledged in a room full of peers or seeing your work featured in a reputable publication. These aren't just markers of success, they're indicators of security – signals that we have carved out a safe place for ourselves.
This is why that sense of pride swelling in your chest feels so profound. It's serotonin reinforcing not just your confidence but your sense of security, whispering to you that you’re not only on the right path but that you’re also safe and valued on that path.
Enter oxytocin, the "bonding" neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of trust, security, and connection. This chemical blooms in intimate, bonding moments. It’s what fosters trust and deep connections and creates that warmth in heartfelt interactions. It’s not just about romantic relationships, though.
Genuine feedback from a client, a heartfelt thank-you note from a satisfied customer, or a colleague's simple pat on the back can stimulate this bonding neurotransmitter.
Oxytocin is especially important when it comes to building relationships—both romantic and platonic. When we're in a trusting environment or relationship, our brain releases oxytocin, allowing us to feel more accepted, valued and appreciated. This helps us build self-confidence, allowing us to move confidently through the world without fear of failure or rejection.
Reflect on the times you've built lasting professional relationships or loyal clients. That bond, that trust? That's oxytocin reinforcing your confidence in your relationships and the quality of your work.
Lastly, endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller. Ever heard of the 'runner's high'? That's endorphins working their magic. They're painkillers produced in response to stress or discomfort. Beyond masking physical pain, endorphins play a pivotal role in sustaining us through challenging times, offering a euphoric boost.
Have you ever tackled a project so challenging that the relief and joy were almost overwhelming once completed? That's endorphins at play.
Now ask yourself: What have you accomplished recently? Reaching out to an old friend? One extra push-up? Achieving a personal record while running? Celebrate those wins (big and small) and let the endorphins do their thing. Engage in regular physical exercise, and you'll get a rush of endorphins, which in turn can promote feelings of confidence and well-being.
So, what have we learned? Whether it’s dopamine kick-starting our motivation, serotonin giving us that sense of security, oxytocin nurturing trust in relationships or endorphins giving us that natural high, understanding our brain’s happy chemicals can help us build the confidence we need to take on any challenge.
To unlock your own unshakeable confidence, focus on activities that stimulate these neurotransmitters. Imagine the rewards that lie ahead as you strive towards your goals. Recognize and appreciate your accomplishments to foster a sense of worth and stability. Foster meaningful connections built upon trust and revel in the small triumphs that elicit a surge of endorphins.
It's not just about grinding your way to success—it’s also about enjoying the journey along the way. That's how you'll fully tap into these powerful happy chemicals and use them to boost your confidence beyond measure.
So go ahead—create a life filled with confidence and success.
Isn't it time you took charge?