The Truth About Emotions
Emotions are the most addictive drugs known to man.
Remember that. If you can anchor a positive emotion to an action, you will keep repeating that action automatically. Here’s what that means:
Emotions are nothing but release of hormones…
… and other “neuro chemicals” in your brain and feelings are what your body feels due to the presence of those chemicals. If you have cortesol released, you feel stressed. If you have adrenaline, you feel the rush of flight or fight response. If you have dopamine, you feel the happiness of reward and achievement. If you have vasopressin, you feel territorial. Got it?
Now if you can anchor, that is to say connect a given action with a given emotion, and if those emotions are positive, you will keep repeating that action to experience those emotions over and over.
Let’s say you watch the TV and it’s your habit to also eat some chocolates when you watch the tele. Eating the chocolates releases dopamine in your brain and thereby anchors that state with watching television. If you repeat this a few times you actually literally get addicted. Why? Because, I told you, these happy brain drugs are highly addictive.
Usually we get a huge surge of dopamine release when we are close to someone we are in love with. Which explains why we get so “addicted” to them! When we have an orgasm, our brains are flooded with oxytocin, the bliss chemical, which is why we are so blissfully happy right after an orgasm.
Anyway, the bottom line being, if you can anchor happy emotions with a productive action, you can very quickly turn it into a habit. How to do that?
First choose an action that you want to turn into a habit. Let’s say its jogging everyday. Now make sure right after you jog, or when you are jogging, you reward yourself with something highly pleasurable to you. This will anchor jogging with that pleasurable experience (if you do it right). The key here is to be consistent. If you reward yourself one day and stop for the next 1 week, then your anchor will break, remember that.
On the flip side, if you can keep repeating that action and rewarding yourself for 21-28 days consistently, it will very likely turn into a habit and you will be able to feel those happy emotions (that originally were triggered by the pleasurable reward) just by doing the productive action itself.
This in essence is the idea behind emotional anchoring (very close to classical conditioning).