Small pleasures. the brain lights up.

I was running Brain State 4 this morning for breakfast and realized that all the things that are “big” like having kids, getting married, needing my kids, finding love, and being there for my parents when they are sick, can. finish for me It’s that time of life.

I was reminded of the work of Peter Sterling, Ph.D., the brilliant soul who discovered allostasis. In his latest book, he states that the antidote to the “sludge hammer” of dopamine drugs, ultra-processed foods, alcohol, gambling and technology is to develop a habit of small pleasures. Our ancestors had access to it, so the brain lights up with them without reducing the dopamine receptors on our cells. (Regulation promotes more and more need and thus addiction.

As the coffee brewed, I remembered a small pleasure: my morning habit of removing the big blue towels from our canary Chirpy’s cage, turning on the light above her head, and wishing her good morning.

The canary brings back happy memories from my childhood, as I had a close relationship with my bright yellow canary at the age of 8, even training him to sit on my toes. So little pleasures are layered in my brain.

At EBT, we call this the “Joy Score”. A smile came to my face (I could feel the muscles in my cheeks twitching) and I was immediately running through Brain State 1.5. I still had a bit of a cortisol hangover from my Brain State 4, so it wasn’t quite One. Then I decided to write this blog, and I immediately found myself in Brain State One.

Lesson learned. when big natural pleasures and a full brain state are out of reach, then count on taking care of your stress (because joy turns off the HPA axis) by actively developing the habit of enjoying small pleasures.

At EBT, we believe in making human development and preventing stress overload fun, so you might ask yourself:

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