Settling for a Short Term Fix

I know in my last blogpost I said I would follow up with an article about safe skin care for the summer.  It is in the works.  But a culmination of experiences talking with people, patients and friends as well as stepping back and observing what goes on around me lately, inspired me to talk about this very important subject tonight.

Among other things, it has to do with patience; something many of us struggle with. Some of us are so exhausted by the monotony of life that whatever exciting opportunity comes around next, we grab it without thinking twice. We just want the immediate gratification: the pain relief, a lift in our spirits or an ego boost, whatever it takes to get us out of the slump because this slump has drained our energy.  We get to a point where we want to throw in the towel and say “screw it!” and we go for easy and convenient.  Some of us just don’t feel like doing the work to achieve long term success.. so, we settle.  And as a result we live in these comfort zones and accept that this is our life. Or we hop from one episodic short term fix to the next; much like the yo-yo dieter who doesn’t have the guidance to look at the underlying cause of the weight problem.

The Dopamine High

The short term fix brings a satisfaction that gives us that sense of pleasure and happiness. It’s like jumping too quickly into a relationship when everything seems perfect: he or she is perfect, the energy is fantastic, and the loneliness void is filled.  This is the big dopamine hit; the happiness neurotransmitter in the brain that controls its reward and pleasure centers. The dopamine rush feels fantastic and can become addictive like the effect of cocaine addiction. I’m not kidding! A psychologist wrote an article on Psychology Today referenced Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and relationship researcher, who conducted a series of studies on the brain chemistry of love. She found that the same brain chemicals (that is, massive amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine) are in play, and many of the same brain pathways and structures are active when we are falling in love and enjoying a cocaine-high.*  So the high wears off and we need another hit. This is why some people jump ship when the dust settles and the magic ends and move to the next relationship or hook up.

Communication is Everything.
A "road less traveled" Adelaide Wine Country, Australia
A “road less traveled”
Adelaide Wine Country, Australia

If you can’t sit down and seriously have a conversation with yourself, even spend some time in solitude without influences from friends, media or otherwise, long term success will be a long road and an extraordinary challenge. Get honest with yourself so you can be honest with those in your life who you need for your support system.

Working for It.

It’s easy to settle. But short terms gains don’t necessarily add up to long lasting happiness and fulfillment. I see many people repeating patterns over the years and sadly, those given the tools and guidance, still choose to ride the merry go round. It’s really about choices. Wanting something and choosing to do the work to get it are two different things.  If you want it bad enough, you make the time for it. I hear it so often from patients and some friends “there’s never enough time”.  Those words have spilled out of my mouth in the past and now I try to say, “How can I carve out the time to get this done? How can I re-prioritize my tasks to give this very important goal my attention?”  After all, we all have the same 24 hour clock. Parents especially, feel the pinch of time constraints. In my practice, the patients experiencing the most struggles in making time for themselves are the ones juggling the responsibilities of raising their kids with other obligations (career, marriage etc.) babbleout.com describes various parenting styles and offers some useful tips on parenting, relationships and general health challenges. See the references below.

Struggling with these frustrations? Email me at info@nakedtruthbydrmelanie to receive my FREE brain neurotransmitter questionnaire and a special discount on lifestyle and nutrition consultations.

So, instead of playing victim to your situation, own it and get in the driver’s seat. Make a plan for long term success for happiness whether it has to do with your health, your wealth, or a relationship.  Repetitive short term fixes lead to frustrations, disappointments continued health struggles and even broken hearts.  

If you found this article helpful or at least insightful, you may want to read my August 2015 article “Change is So Difficult. So Why Do It?” Click HERE to read this one. 

With love and patience,

Dr. Melanie

  1. * Fisher, H. (2000). “Lust, Attraction, Attachment: Biology and Evolution of the Three Primary Emotion Systems for Mating, Reproduction, and Parenting.” Journal of SexEducation and Therapy, 25, 96-104
  2. www.thebabbleout.com/parenting

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