Did you know that seeking pleasure can inhibit feeling happy? (If you’re like me, you’re saying to yourself, “Wait…What’s the difference between pleasure and happiness???”)
Here’s the answer, explained by Dr. Robert Lustig in this video. He’s well-known for his research on sugar addiction and has tied his work to social media addiction, pornography addiction and the brain-washing that is advertising.
Dr. Lustig explains that Pleasure is something that occurs when we want something such as a substance. It is short-lived and feeling pleasure releases dopamine. Over time, our tolerance for dopamine increases so we start craving more of the substance to get the same amount of pleasure.When the brain is overstimulated by dopamine it actually ends up killing off neurons from the addiction.
Happiness generally happens with others and is a long term feeling. Happiness can’t be generated with substances, it has to come from within. Happiness releases serotonin which causes contentment and happiness and can never cause addiction.
Dr. Lustig explains that dopamine inhibits serotonin.
Yes, you heard that right. Pleasure inhibits happiness.
The more pleasure you seek, the less happy you’ll be.
This gif shows the difference between dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin when you’re happy, depressed, in love and anxious.
Dr. Lustig’s 4 C’s recommendation empowers families to take back happiness through connecting, contributing, coping and cooking.
The 4 C’s are backed by neuroscientific affects on 3 brain pathways;
reward, contentment and stress-fear-memory.
You need to Connect face to face in real life. This generates empathy with others which is necessary for producing serotonin.
Coping means putting time in for your self care. This means getting appropriate amounts of sleep and getting in exercise each day.
Contributing for non personal gain is important. Giving back without making or spending money on something is key here.
Home Cooking may be something that eludes us in our busy lives but we need to step it up and get in the kitchen more. The reason for this is because processed food has very little tryptophan or omega 3 fatty acids, which are important to your body and mind. Processed food is also high in fructose which depletes serotonin, ramps up dopamine ad causes metabolic syndrome.
Remember each day that pleasure and happiness are not one and the same. You can have happiness that will last a lifetime and bring joy to your day. Pleasure is just a passing fling that leaves you empty and craving more pleasure…and who wants to do that!
If you are ready to live intentionally and build long term happiness in your life, I invite you to sign up for my Intentional Screens Challenge. It is a great place to start so you know where your time is going and what “pleasure” you are seeking on your screen!