When you experience something satisfying or pleasurable, it is because your body is releasing chemicals such as serotonin and endorphin.
Studies show, however, that releasing these ‘happy chemicals’ in large amounts is not always a good idea.
A more consistent level of happiness can be acquired through spacing out these ‘dopamine dumps’ into lesser, more frequent tasks. Here’s how to do it.
Break apart big tasks
Do you usually do the laundry or cleaning in the course of a few consecutive hours on Sunday? Or maybe you let the dishes pile up all day, and get them all down in one long cleaning session in the evening. You have probably noticed after these long periods of productivity, that you feel a rush of pleasure or satisfaction. This feeling is because you are experiencing the previously mentioned ‘dopamine dump’. To stop this, spread the activities over a longer course of time, with break intervals. This technique will help your happiness standard stay more ‘stable’ over time, instead of having high highs, lead directly onto low lows.
Following this method consistently means you will be more motivated to do every task, as the job is relatively small each time, but you still experience a ‘hit’ from doing it.
Meditation can improve our motivation in various ways:
Meditating, while focusing on the specific aspects of life, will help you be more in tune with exactly what you want. and how you are going to achieve it. By undertaking this method, you will develop a way to envision your goals without the added stresses.
If one has ever tried to meditate, you may have noticed how your brain keeps flicking to other things – work thats due, what’s for tonight’s dinner etc. However, if you keep going, it will improve your ability to focus not only while meditating, but also when you are accomplishing a job for work or school.
In small doses, stress can help us slam out a task in a few hours or so. However, it is not always this productive. Sometimes, anxiety can be crippling, and make us incapable of actually completing any proper work. Mediation helps with this by reducing stress levels drastically
Organise a To-Do List
Some might find to-do lists an added source of stress, that only really motivates them to avoid the tasks they have to do an procrastinate. However, organising a to-do list will visualise the tasks you need to complete, and make you aware of them. The key to creating an effective one, however, is first to make sure that you are not biting off more than you can chew in daily life.
The effect if this is that you will be less stressed overall, by being aware of the tasks you are taking on, and feeling more motivated to complete them as you can visualise them, and address them with the attention and care they need. In addition to this, ticking off a task on a to-do list will give you a small amount of dopamine, encouraging you to complete the next one on it
Though this may not be the most popular option for a boost of motivation, it is undoubtedly one of the most effective. As well as releasing highly beneficial ‘happy chemicals’ into the brain, that lower stress, anxiety and risks of disease, exercise also has been proven to make you approach life and work more positively. In a 13 week study on a ‘lightweight’ group of exercises, the results showed that even doing moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, led to lasting motivation and happiness in all aspects of their life.
Other benefits of exercise:
Set yourself rewards
Sometimes the satisfaction you get after completing a task isn’t enough to get you through to the next one. That’s perfectly okay. To combat this, you need to build rewards into your schedule, alongside work. For example, say you are craving a chocolate gelato from your favourite ice creamery down the road, but you have a stack of paperwork to get through as well. Instead of first submitting to your impulses, and going to get the ice cream, tell yourself that after you complete the paperwork, you can go and get the ice cream. This system will help you stay motivated and efficient the whole time while you are working, meaning your job has been done to standard, and quickly.
Foods that increase motivation
When it comes to ‘superfoods’, salmon has been shown to be one of the best of them all. Abundant in omega three fatty acids, Salmon can not only improve your productivity but decrease your chances of getting depression and improve your memory.
Rich in antioxidants, berries are perfect not only for improving your memory and motivation but also for giving you a small sugar hit of energy.
Swap out that coffee at 3 pm for a glass of green tea and experience the benefits. It has all the benefits of artificial energy boosters while avoiding any of the adverse side effects.