Micro-habits, the brain and a 21-day challenge

David Eagleman in his book The Brain: The Story of You presents decades of neuroscience research that has uncovered how competing networks of brain cells drive our behaviour. The more we practice a certain behaviour, the stronger that network of neurons gets, and the easier it becomes for us to do that job.

That is how experts can make tough things look easy, and we find it difficult to break a bad habit. We need to build or strengthen a weak network (of positive desirable behaviours) and stop practicing – and thus strengthening – a bad habit.

This is what psychology and therapy helps you achieve – by incorporating small behaviours or micro-habits that nudge us towards making better choices, prioritising a set of goals that we want to achieve and keeping us motivated to change.

It is also important to understand the role of neurotransmitters in this process. The term dopamine detox has become common. But what exactly is dopamine? Watch this talk by Simon Sinek for a fascinating talk on the subject.

EDSOC: the five critical neurochemicals

Endorphins. These are a set of chemicals in the brain that are designed to help us keep going even when everything seems hopeless. They make pain feel good. Runners enjoy it as the ‘runners high’ or we feel trapped in toxic environments. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

Dopamine. It is the chemicals that tells us that what we just did is a good this. It acts as a reward mechanism.

Serotonin. It is the social chemical. It makes us do extraordinary things so that others will recognise us, support us, and be proud of us. It gives us social status. But if you abuse it, others will give up on you – which brings us to…

Oxytocin. It is the love hormone. It makes us feel safe. It makes us generous. It forces us to care for others, so that they will care for us. It makes us fall in love, and be vulnerable.

The idea of therapy is to help you find the fine balance between these four chemicals and the big bad one which is Cortisol.

Cortisol is the hormone responsible for our fight or flight response. It keeps us alert to signs or danger. But if we have too much cortisol for too long in our blood, it leads to stress. It weakens our immune system and makes us paranoid. Scared. Hostile… and can lead to a range of health issues including diabetes and hypertension.

So Inspiron’s 21 Day Challenge is designed to give you a template for taking care of yourself – through 21 small steps.

If you would like to talk to a counselor, please call or WhatsApp +91 98456 76442 and please share this with a friend.

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