How to Hack the Reward System in Your Brain And Stay Motivated

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How do we execute our biggest goals successful life? Hard work, learning caller skills, and staying focused are decidedly important things, but 1 of nan astir important things we request is motivation. Losing motivation tin extremity america successful our tracks. It tin make america procrastinate, uncertainty our skills and abilities, and return america disconnected nan way to success. In nan worst cases, a deficiency of information tin destruct our goals and termination our dreams.

Where does information travel from?

It starts pinch thoughts and chemicals successful nan reward systems successful our brains. It continues to create successful our brains and is further shaped by our behaviors. This is why neuroscience, which is nan study of nan usability of nan brain, is truthful important.

When we understand nan basics of neuroscience, we tin hack nan reward strategy successful our brains truthful we tin enactment motivated to execute our biggest goals.

The Neuroscience of Motivation

At nan astir basal level, humans want to debar symptom and acquisition pleasure. Our pleasure-seeking behaviour is based connected a intelligence reward strategy that’s controlled by our brains. This reward strategy is what keeps america motivated and helps america achieve our biggest goals and dreams.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals successful our brains that thief style our thoughts and behaviors. One of nan main neurotransmitters successful our reward strategy is nan “pleasure” chemic dopamine. Dopamine is produced chiefly successful nan mid-brain and past moves to different areas of nan brain, specified arsenic nan amygdala, which plays a large domiciled successful our affectional development. It besides moves to nan prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for thinking, feeling, planning, and taking action.

When you do thing pleasurable, your encephalon releases dopamine to make you consciousness bully mentally and physically. This commonly happens erstwhile we eat our favourite foods, person sex, person a awesome speech pinch someone, aliases do thing other we really enjoy. Each clip we consciousness pleasance from doing something, our brains retrieve what made america consciousness good. It really assigns a reward worth for everything we do.

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For example, eating a portion of our favourite pizza whitethorn person a higher reward worth than drinking a smoothie. Being connected that tropical picnic will person a higher reward worth than watching that h2o fountain downtown.

Our brains moreover merchandise dopamine earlier we prosecute successful those things that make america happy. It’s nan anticipation of nan reward alternatively than nan reward itself that has nan strongest power connected our affectional reactions and memories of what’s pleasurable. Just readying that tropical picnic by checking retired different locations connected a recreation tract aliases looking astatine things we want to bargain connected Amazon stimulates our reward strategy by releasing dopamine.

Thinking astir starting a task astatine activity that we’re really passionate astir besides activates our reward system. This enactment of emotion nan pleasance generated by our intelligence reward systems is what creates reward-seeking behaviour and is simply a large portion of motivation.

Vanderbilt University researchers discovered that “go-getters” who are much consenting to activity difficult person greater dopamine activity successful nan striatum and prefrontal cortex, 2 areas of nan encephalon that power information and reward.

Hacking Our Brain’s Reward System

Here are 4 ways to hack nan reward strategy successful your encephalon to enactment motivated.

1. Keep Growing

When you do nan aforesaid things complete and over, that dopamine unreserved tends to get smaller and smaller. A awesome measurement to enactment motivated is to support increasing by doing bigger and bigger things.

Take connected bigger, more challenging projects astatine work. Once you’ve reached a moving aliases fittingness milestone, commencement moving toward a bigger one. If you’re fluent successful a overseas language, study really to person much complex, philosophical conversations. If you person your ain business, find ways to get much clients truthful you tin make much profit. Keep learning caller skills that will push you to nan separator of your comfortableness zone.

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Taking connected greater challenges helps our brain’s reward strategy proceed to delegate precocious reward values to things we do. Start by accomplishing mini goals. As you accumulate much and much mini wins, activity your measurement up to much challenging goals.

2. Use Visualization

“Visualization is pensive pinch a purpose.”—Bo Bennett

A awesome measurement to enactment motivated is to visualize accomplishing a goal—even though you haven’t completed it yet. Visualization really causes nan encephalon to merchandise dopamine. This makes america spot our early rewards much intelligibly and spell aft them much fervently.

When our brains merchandise dopamine and we consciousness that unreserved of euphoria, our hippocampus, which is portion of our brain’s limbic system, records those pleasurable moments successful our semipermanent memory. The much we visualize success, nan much our brains subordinate this visualized occurrence pinch pleasurable feelings.

When we tin ideate a amended future, we’re motivated to support pushing guardant and overcoming obstacles successful our path. This is why group activity difficult to get raises and promotions, put their money, put their kids thru college, and do different things that thief them aliases others prosper later successful life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, and different celebrated and influential group person utilized visualization to execute sky-high success. It’s a awesome measurement to usage nan powerfulness of your imagination to support you motivated to succeed.

3. Avoid Excessive Stress

High levels of accent are associated pinch chronic inflammation, which tin origin our information to decrease. Researchers astatine Emory University person theorized that chronic inflammation from accent whitethorn origin a chemic guidance successful nan assemblage that decreases dopamine supplies successful nan brain.

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Low levels of accent tin really thief america execute amended by making america much alert. That adrenaline unreserved we get from accent tin springiness america nan power and nan separator to do our best. But erstwhile accent levels are high, accent tin beryllium damaging to our bodies, minds, and motivation.

High-stress tin lead to burnout. In nan worse cases, it tin origin group to discontinue projects aliases discontinue their jobs. It tin origin intelligence problems specified arsenic worry aliases depression. It tin lead to wellness problems for illustration bosom disease, diabetes, precocious humor pressure, and different illnesses. Reduce accent by doing deep breathing exercises, meditating, running, aliases exercising regularly.

4. Reframe Challenges

If you alteration nan measurement you look astatine things, nan things you look astatine change.—Wayne Dyer

Another awesome measurement to hack your brain’s reward strategy is to alteration really you look astatine challenges successful your life. A communal problem is that galore group spot difficult activity arsenic an obstacle aliases simply thing they don’t for illustration doing.

A bully strategy is to look astatine difficult situations and obstacles arsenic opportunities that will thief you and those astir you grow. This will thief america look astatine difficult things successful a affirmative ray and really look guardant to doing them alternatively of dreading them.

For example, if 3 labor connected your squad aren’t getting on pinch each different and 2 of them are reasoning astir quitting, don’t look astatine this arsenic a very stressful, unspeakable problem. Instead, look astatine nan business arsenic an opportunity to usage your interpersonal skills to stitchery nan angry labor together, fto them sound their concerns, and past resoluteness nan problem.

It will thief them amended personally and professionally. It will besides thief you and your institution prosper arsenic well. You tin besides use this aforesaid measurement of reasoning to your individual life. If your friends aliases family members aren’t getting along, usage nan disagreement arsenic a maturation opportunity that will use them and you.

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When we tin spot difficult things arsenic awesome opportunities, we’ll commencement to look guardant to them. When we look guardant to doing things, it makes nan reward strategy successful our brains reward america pinch much dopamine, and it increases nan chances that we’ll look astatine early problems arsenic opportunities to grow.


Motivation is simply a challenging portion of individual and master development. This is why motivational videos and motivational speeches are truthful popular. A cardinal portion of staying motivated, moreover during nan astir challenging times, is to understand really our brains work. Science has fixed america a bully knowing of our brain’s reward strategy and nan chemicals and pathways that let it to style our behavior.

Hack that reward strategy successful your encephalon by taking connected bigger challenges, visualizing success, avoiding excessive stress, and looking astatine difficult situations arsenic opportunities to thief others and thief yourself grow.

When we statesman to maestro our brains, we’ll beryllium amended capable to maestro our lives and execute those large goals.

More Tips connected How to Stay Motivated

  • How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals successful Life
  • 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During nan Difficult Times
  • How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling

Featured photograph credit: Giorgio Trovato via

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