Binge-eating, gambling, porn, sugar, drugs, etc. The list goes on. Why are some of us simply unable to resist temptations & take things overboard? Some of us may even self-sabotage ourselves on the road to success. Maybe you set goals for yourself, but every time you take one step forward, you take two steps back. Why does this happen?
Dopamine. Dopamine is the drug of life. It functions to connect us with the world & ensue a will to survive. Biochemical motivation. However, this magical chemical may be working against us in modern times.
Now that we have access to food, entertainment & pleasure, literally at the touch of a button, it’s easy to abuse the pleasure/reward centers in our brain. Well then, why isn’t everyone some sort of addict? Well, I’ll bet you we all do have some vices. But, obviously some people are much more impulsive & extreme than others. Why?
Some people naturally have lower levels of dopamine. I’ve thought very deeply about why this is. Why are certain people more prone to addictive tendencies & risky behavior? Could it be that some people are born to seek more environmental pleasures along with the craving for dangerous activities? The evolutionary purpose being to program them to be savage warriors constantly striving for survival; which works against those living in our modern times of abundance. Let’s say this is the case…
What must these ‘warriors’ practice? Self-control. How do you practice self-control? Meditate. Our brains are muscles. You must train it like a muscle to work the way you want it to. Most of these addictive behaviors can be remedied with awareness. Awareness of yourself, your environment & how the two are interacting. This truly is a practice. Next time you light up that cigarette or reach for the sugar, notice how unaware you are. Bring awareness to the situation & ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Does this serve me in any way?”
Meditation is simply the act of exercising your awareness of the present moment. During meditation, one is exercising the prefrontal cortex which functions to govern logical reasoning, planning, self-control etc. Self-control being the highlight for this particular topic. After some time practicing meditation, you will begin to notice you’re awareness is enhanced, making it very difficult to continue to engage in activities that your brain doesn’t find beneficial for you.
Get your brain to work for you. Awareness is like kryptonite to compulsive behaviors & self-sabotage. Meditation enhances your awareness, but you must also make your brain aware of what it is you truly want. If you want to achieve a particular goal, sometimes the ego can work against you because it is always afraid of change, However, by practicing awareness & programming your desires into your subconscious, your brain will begin to work for, instead of against you.
Every morning, practice just 5 minutes of meditation. Bring awareness to the present moment, then remind yourself what it is that you want. Throughout your day, when you have that craving or your about the take two steps back, bring full awareness to the feeling & remind yourself what you want. This is a practice. The mind is a muscle, & just like you can’t expect to get ripped overnight, don’t expect to become a zen master who has full control of himself after your first meditation session. Give it time & trust the process. Once you begin to feel it, you won’t be able to stop.