Loretta Breuning, PhD is the author of several books including Habbits of a Happy Brain, Beyond Cynical, and I, Mammal. She is a teacher and a mom. She found conventional theories of human motivation didn't ring true for her.
While volunteering in Africa with the United Nations, she learned about the mammalian custom of bribery. This led her to learn that many of our motivations and behaviors are shared with other mammals. “Our brains see things as a matter of survival because natural selection built a brain that focuses on survival
Loretta Breuning Vroom/Veer Stories
- Story of having an “veer moment” while giving a lecture she no longer was aligned with
- Our ancestors choose to stick with “the jerks” in their group despite their frustrations so they could survive
- All groups of mammals have internal tensions, but they stick together because there is a common enemy
- Romantic love does more to get your genes alive than many other things, so the brain rewards romantic love with all the happy chemicals
- Story about how when an elephant in a zoo gets to eat a sheet cake for his birthday, that becomes like a drug to him. It meets his food needs so much better than eating tree branches all week
- This is similar to how humans become addicted to drugs, the brain learns that the drug meets it's need some much better than real life ups and downs of say writing resumes and trying to find a new job
- There is no benefit in questing for an infinite high.
- A better goal is to learn to feel confident with an ability to manage your ups and downs and even things out.
- The “Happy” Chemicals
- Dopamine – I can do it! The feeling you get when you see a way to meet a need.
- Serotonin – I'm top dog! I'm cool! I got it gonna on!
- Oxytocin – I trust you
- Endorphin – I'm feeling no pain for about 15 minutes…after which (if you live) you should feel pain.
- We get a small dose of endorphin when we laugh because it jiggles our innards.
- Unhappy Chemical – Cortisol
- The feeling that one “must do something fast” maybe healthy, probably not
- Myelin is used by the brain during childhood to create superhighway circuits
- These are circuits connected to activities that to us feel: effortless, normal, natural and safe.
- When you try new activities, you are creating new pathways in your brain will feel difficult, strange, unnatural and scary.
- Mirror Neurons – empathy and learning by modeling
- Making new pathways
- 45 days of repeating a new “preferred” strategy
- Know that this will feel bad
- You will still want to reach for the old circuit to fill the need