Motee News

Nature’s Motivator

Written by Andrew on July 13, 2017

natures motivator dopamine cute mouse

You might be reading this because you have work to do, and need a little help getting it done. You might be reading this to learn to help others get their work done. Dopamine is going to help us both get through this article. It’s nature’s motivator.

Dopamine fuels our resolve to complete tasks. It provides the vehicle for conscious motivation. Studies show that rats deprived of this chemical in their brains won’t feed on food that’s only a few inches away from them. Even when they reach starvation levels. They starve to death!

Scary I know.

What exactly is dopamine?

Most people know it as the “pleasure chemical” of the brain. It’s responsible for making us recognize pleasurable things. It’s the chemical that tells us to pursue pleasurable activities. Dopamine’s role doesn’t start and end with pleasure. It’s a vital part of our behavior, attention, mood, sleep, learning, memory, and motivation.

The story is larger than a simple “pleasure chemical.” Researchers discovered that dopamine is present when soldiers diagnosed with PTSD are exposed to the sound of gunfire. They concluded that it acts more as a motivation chemical. In this case, it motivated the soldiers to avoid the perceived threat situation.

Everybody can take advantage of dopamine. The key is creating rewarding experiences. For the rats, it’s food. For soldiers, it’s safety. For students, it’s good grades.

When you complete one goal, reward yourself in proportion to your effort! This can be something as small as a 5-minute break or a self-congratulation. Let yourself feel the positivism of succeeding. The bigger efforts and rewards give the biggest dopamine response.

Researchers at the University of Michigan suggest if you find yourself in a lull of motivation, “focus on imaging the joy of completing” your task.

Hacking dopamine levels is simple. See. I’ve been running a half-marathon while writing this blog post. Yay me! 13.1. Now it’s time for coffee. My favorite reward.

 

For more on motivation, check out Ali In Bloom’s article on Collaboration, Motivation, and Sticking Together!

Motee News

The Mojo Booster: Oxytocin

Written by Andrew on July 13, 2017
oxytocin the mojo booster
“You make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill

Could you use a happy boost? Use the Motee app to send a friend a Motee message. It’s a fun, easy (and free!) way to show your appreciation or respect for something someone did. Here’s some of the science behind why Team Motee wanted to create a way to easily send a friend a compliment. You might think it’s for your friend, but actually, you both reap the benefits.

Helping others has always been something that brought about good feelings. On the surface level, that’s true! Helping others brings on a positive wave of emotions because we know it’s the right, good thing to do. But there’s something a little more beneath the surface of this common phenomenon. Helping others releases natural doses of oxytocin. It’s the best mojo booster of all time.

You may have heard of it in your high school biology class. It’s one of our big neurotransmitter hormones. It occurs naturally and plays a big role in romance and reproduction. With the help of research and testing by scientists, we’ve discovered that oxytocin is responsible for much more than just baby making.

A top expert in oxytocin named Dr. Paul Zak, has dubbed it the “moral molecule“. He and others have found that oxytocin is responsible for working as a “social glue that keeps society together.” It’s the neurotransmitter that helps humans feel trust, virtue, affection, and love. Dr. Zak has done tests on the natural and artificial release of oxytocin in the bloodstream. He discovered that humans under the effects of oxytocin are more generous and trusting, with little difference in the results between natural or artificial sources.

According to Dr. Zak’s research, helping others will trigger the release of oxytocin. When your body gets a dose from something that triggers the release, it becomes habitual and easier to release a second time. Happiness builds happiness! A wave of good feelings isn’t the only trend ocytocin creates.

Oxytocin boosts radiate from one person to another. It’s a cascade of happiness. This creates a cycle of positive behavior and good feelings. For example, if you help someone study, there is a positive effect on the giver and receiver. The emotions feed and reinforce into a bloom of happy.

There are other ways, too, that helping another person can benefit the helper. Getting out there and helping someone (even a friend!) can reap benefits. Scientists in Canada found that the chemical can help promote extroversion. The Research Chair in Developmental Psychopathology at Concordia University, Mark Ellenbogen, reports that “our study shows oxytocin can change how people see themselves, which could in turn make people more sociable. Under the effects of oxytocin, people can perceive themselves as more extraverted, more open to new ideas and more trusting.”