What turned you on today?
For those familiar with brain principles, neuroscientists have identified that our brains know how to do one of these two things very well: avoid pain or seek pleasure. As humans, we have always pursued pleasure as an essential part of our survival, devoting time and resources to get what we want. And it is important we understand it so we can make the right choices.
What turns us on varies from person to person and most societal systems have tried to moderate “certain pleasures” with laws and systems. In many cases, it has not worked.
Why? One very good reason is the fact that pleasure is hard-wired in all of us. Latest findings reveal that a small group of regions inside the brain called the pleasure circuit is where pleasure “lives”.
Author David Linden, a professor of Neuroscience from John Hopkins University in America has studied how the anatomy of pleasure works and how easily addictions can develop if we allow our cells, molecules and chemicals to go wild.
Well-known motivation speaker, Anthony Robbins once said:
The secret of living a successful life is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.
So what are some of the things that we can learn from the science of pleasure?
Humans perform basic activities that are rewarding to our brains such as eating, drinking and mating. Thanks to this, we are able to survive and procreate.
The brain’s circuits of pleasure become activated in the same way by both virtue and vice (ranging from orgasm, sweets, fatty acids, exercise, prayer, social approval, drugs or donating to charity). It is up to us what we choose.
What makes pleasure compelling is that these circuits are interconnected with other brain regions creating memories, associations, emotions and social meaning to the things we find rewarding.