Day 23 #Nando25 Challenge: The Chemistry of Love + Infatuation

The #Nando25 Challenge Idea: Do you really have control over how you react when in the presence of someone you find attractive? Can you choose who you love? What if I were to tell you that the connection between your heart + love was only a fairytale made up by romantics and the actual organ used to fall in love is your brain? In today’s challenge, I reference Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, The Brain in Love and I want you to remain coachable while I explain the beautiful yet complex + wondrous concept of the chemistry of love + infatuation.

The Lesson: When you zero in on another person and feel that “instant spark” those fireworks, it’s actually dopamine shooting through your system. Your brian creates a large enough dose to stop you in your tracks and get the heart beating tripple time. It’s dopamine that lights up the pleasure center that also houses motivation + reward. Not wanting to be left out of all the fun, your brain stem also participates by releasing phenylethylamine (PEA) which is an adrenaline-like substance that speeds up information between nerve cells and slaps you right upside your head to make sure you’re  paying attention to your “love target”.

There are several other chemicals at play–but before I get into them, I want you to understand that when something chemical happens inside your system–feelings of love, infatuation or attraction, you can only stand back and watch it unfold, because you are not equipped to interfere with it–you can control actions–but not how you’re feeling, because brain chemistry has occurred + taken over.

I want you to read that over again.

When something chemical happens inside your system–feelings of love, infatuation or attraction, you can only stand back and watch it unfold, because you are not equipped to interfere with it–you can control actions–but NOT how you’re feeling, because brain chemistry has occurred + taken over.

In the initial stage of love, infatuation or attraction, there are several chemicals at play and more importantly, the amounts being produced and shot throughout your system. The human mind has several chemicals at play–let’s call this state, The Balanced State. When a single person is in the balanced state, their brain chemistry is balanced which makes them function. They can sense danger when crossing the street, they can sense when someone might be lying to them at work, they may also be able to tell if a person is a heartbreaker. Think about it–you’re at a bar and you meet a sleazy man who obviously read a book on the worst pick up lines because he’s trying them on everyone at the bar, including you. But you don’t feel attracted to this guy so you roll your eyes + shoo him away. But if someone who finds him attractive listens to his cheap romantic one-liners, they are in danger–why? Because they are no longer at that balance state–their brain chemistry has just exploded and they are on their way to heartbreak. And I will tell you why.

Infatuation: Often referred to as the “intoxicated stage”
1. Will call in sick to work to be with the guy you just met
2. Stay up late talking for hours on the phone
3. You don’t care about sleep
4. Send massive amounts of texts + e-mails to one another
5. You engage in behaviors you don’t normally do

Infatuation occurs in the brain’s reward center but you have one part of the brain that is looking out for you–it’s called the Prefrontal Cortex. This part of the brain is acting like the “love boss,” putting pieces together, filing away things they said to you, creating a strategy to keep them around, making sure you stay cool–but your infatuation chemicals sometimes override your Prefrontal Cortex and then all that gets thrown out the window. It’s chemicals like epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin and PEA that take over and shake things up a bit.

Your brain is constantly trying to keep itself balanced, at the balanced state, but sometimes you will release a large amount of dopamine all of a sudden and then it throws things off balance. What causes that dopamine surge? Simple things like, getting a text from them that says, “I miss you.” Or Seeing them after 2 days–your heart skips a beat and you think–“OH MY GOD!” That’s really just a major dose of dopamine your brain released.

This explains why we can “fall in love” 50 times a year when dating. It also explains why we are so hard on ourselves when we’ve been lied to or cheated on–because we couldn’t see it–our Prefrontal Cortex was trying to do its job–but you just kept releasing so much serotonin or dopamine that your PFC just walked out and quit (sort of).

1. Epinephrine + Norepinephrine: These are considered excitatory neurotransmitters because they cause the adrenaline rush: your heart beats faster, blod pressure shoots up and you’re actually ready to face a life threatening situation — or you’re falling in love. These two chemicals give you that feeling of excitement + they help facilitate sexual arousal + orgasm.

2. Dopamine: associated with pleasure, motivation + concentration. People feel “sexy” when the brain shoots this through your system. You know when you have your “I am a sexy bitch” days, it’s not the new hairstyle, or the clothes, it’s your levels of dopamine. Don’t you feel silly now? And low levels of dopamine are associated with depression, ADHD, some drug addicts (that’s why they chase the high–to balance out their dopamine levels). Can someone say Whitney Houston?

3. Serotonin: Produced in the brain stem + midbrain, it’s the “feel good” neurotransmitter. A normal serotonin level allows people to have a healthy mood and equally healthy motivation. When you feel like no one will ever love you and that you’re not worthy of a loving, lasting + honest relationship–sweetie, it’s your serotonin levels–they are LOW as HELL! Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulsivity + excessive activity in your brain’s anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) which gets you stuck in negative thoughts and that’s where you live–in desperate + lonely-ville.

4. Phenylethylamine (PEA): This “love molecule” speeds up information to the brain which triggers the rest of the chemicals to be released and caused the “love/infatuation explosion” in your system. It wants to create that feeling of euphoria + infatuation when you’re highly attracted to someone. It’s actually trying to help you out–don’t have the player, hate the game.

Once we experience the chemical explosion–how do we decide if we want to keep the person around? The question is to commit or not to commit? This questions can also be answered/determined through chemistry. Research shows that men who are more willing to commit have LOWER levels of testosterone. Want more proof? An American study found that men with HIGH testosterone are 43% more likely to get divorced AND 38% more likely to have an affair. Men with HIGH testosterone are also 50% LESS likely to ever get married. So all the “players” you’ve been dating–you’re not going to be “the one” for him. You may be one of HIS ones, but not the one he will settle down + marry. I have a four letter word for that–NEXT!

Bring in the Oxytocin!
Oxytocin is my favorite love chemical of them all. Why? It’s so sexy + bold. It’s the love chemical that bonds two people together and builds that romantic link between couples. This is also why men sometimes feel more vulnerable + actually want to talk after sex–their brian just released a LARGE amount of oxytocin into their system and they can’t help but feel close + want to bond. Do you ever wonder why most men spill their guts after sex? This is why. Brain Chemistry–love it or leave it. I also have a theory that this is the reason most men confess all their sins to hookers or escorts–because their oxytocin levels spike after sex. There is also a downfall–because of the increase of oxytocin after sex, men are also prone to falling asleep afterwards, oxytocin levels increase by more than 500% after sex. This also might explain why in a crazy world, a man will request sex even while in an argument with you–in their head, this will “fix” the problem but in reality are they are really trying to do is feel closer to you.

Oxytocin also blocks off negative memories. This is why we fall for men that are bad for us–yet when the sex is good–we are powerless. It’s that damn oxytocin. (I said it was my favorite, I didn’t say it was the fairest of them all) Scientist have proven that we are willing to accept social risks because of the affects. This is also why people are willing to have unprotected sex even though the dangerous of STDs are a risk. It’s the oxytocin high we’re chasing. Damn you oxytocin!

Now–do you still believe you’re in control when you fall in love? What about infatuation or lust?

The #Nando25 Homework:
1. Think about the last time you fell in lust or were infatuated–how do you see that episode now? Write down a few things you now see more clearly in your #Nando25 Day Journal.

Day 22 #Nando25 Challenge: Choose vs Decide

The #Nando25 Challenge Idea: In life we are given many options and based on those options we either choose or decide the next step, but have you ever wondered why you selected the way you did? I have an even better question–what’s the difference in choosing vs deciding to do something or be with someone? One options leaves you empowered and centered in your confidence + “being” while the other options leaves you disempowered and confused and in some cases feeling guilty.

This concept is powerful and I want you to try on the following idea–in essence, I’d like for you to choose to be coachable. If after you read this section you choose not to accept this as a “new way of being” for you–then understand I prefer you to choose not to believe rather than to decide not to believe.

Let’s start off by defining each word. This will help you understand the difference.

Decide: to select in a way that kills off other options.

Easy enough right? But there’s just one thing, if you split the word up, de-cide, have you seen “cide” in other words: Homicide, genocide, suicide. By it’s nature, the word decide means to kill something off–and in our lives, we are usually killing off other options which doesn’t leave room for any possibilities.

Origin:
late Middle English < Latin -cīda killer, -cīdium act of killing, derivatives of caedere to cut down, kill (in compounds -cīdere )

Just the word and its origin suggests that after we decide, at the of that decision, we have also killed off all possibility.

Example: You’re walking down the street and there’s a “blind taste test” going on and you stop to participate. All you see is two cups filled with liquid. Cup one is filled with a thick red liquid (reminds you of fruit punch) and cup two is filled with a  yellow liquid that’s not so thick (like Mountain Dew). You try both but before you taste the red, you’re already thinking (too sweet, yucky, and strawberries) and as you taste the yellow liquid you think of your college days when you used to drink Mountain Dew by the gallon just to stay up and study all night–caffeine is a beautiful thing. Once it’s time for you to select which one, if any, tastes better, you start the “killing off” process by deciding. You begin your lists of comparisons because you don’t trust yourself. You just can’t say which one just like that–you need reasons, right? I mean, what type of person would you be if you just picked one and didn’t examine all the evidence and labor over the all the options. Do you decide based on sweetness, texture, color, or smell? God forbid you select based on taste, right? But why? Why can’t you just choose which one you like better? When you decide something, you allow “the reasons” to have the power and you now find yourself in a tug-of-war with yourself trying to decide and kill off all other possibilities. Do you get that? The REASONS decide, not you. 

I want you to read that over again.

When you decide something, you allow “the reasons” to have the power and you now find yourself in a tug-of-war with yourself trying to decide. The nature of the word means you have to kill off all other possibilities. Deciding also makes us dip into the past, as we tend to conjure up past experiences in order to help us in the present–that idea on it’s own doesn’t create new possibilities in our lives.

If you decide to base your taste selection based on taste, then you kill off texture. If you decide to base your decision on color, you kill off taste. If you decide to base your decision on smell, then you kill off color. How do you decide? In your mind, you must decide based on a reason. And in life, we do this to ourselves on a daily basis–we begin to examine “the reasons” which can be a long and drawn out process and in the end, the REASONS decide.

But what happens if we choose instead?

Choose: to freely select from a number of options that creates endless possibilities.

When you choose something, you choose freely out of an area rooted in the knowledge of self awareness. When you are free + self-aware you are present. When you are present, you are living in the moment. When you are living in the moment, you choose freely based on the possibility of things.

When you decide, you are RESTRICTED by reasons. Smell, taste, texture, color, etc. And because you are RESTRICTED you are not FREE to make a choice, you are RESTRICTED to decide. The nature of the word means you have to kill off all other possibilities.

Example: You have been single for four years now. Your last relationship left you banged up, confused and heartbroken. You’re a little scared to get back into the relationship game and therefore having been dating so much. But one Sunday afternoon, in the market, while reaching for a tomato, your hand brushes up against someone else’s hand. You look up and see them, the perfect person. You both look into each other’s eyes and smile. They let go, allowing you to take the plump fruit and walk away. Your heart rushes with adrenaline, dopamine + endorphines–in other words, your heart is skipping beats. After you pay and walk out, you look for the person and they’re no longer around. As your heart’s pace returns to normal, it begins to rain and you don’t have an umbrella. All of a sudden, you’re confused, it’s raining but you’re not getting wet. Why? You see a shadow and it’s an umbrella, your perfect tomato person is sheltering you with their umbrella and warming you up with their smile. Immediately, you think, this person is nurturing, sweet, sensitive, kind and sexy!

Fast forward to six month later, you two are in a deep loving relationship, spending the majority of  time at your place. One Sunday afternoon, as you’re cooking and need tomatoes, you ask if they can go get a few. You also flashback to the day you two met and you warm up all over again with loving goodness. Except, they are busy with work stuff. You knew they had a huge report due that Monday but would taking a 5 minute break to get a few tomatos really hurt the report? You remember how they sometimes would call in sick just to be with you. Why, all of a sudden, is work so important? You don’t want to make a big deal, so you run off to get the tomatos. As you enter the corner market, it begins to rain. You call them up and ask if they can run down and bring you an umbrella. They say no, “just run over real quick after you’re done, you won’t get that wet, it’s just sprinkling.” This infuriates you! You’re the one cooking and you’re the one in the market AND now you’re the one getting wet? What happened to the nurturing, sweet, sensitive, kind and sexy person you met six months ago?

What did happen to that person?

They are still there–you just can’t see it because you’re trying to recreate a person based on the REASONS you DECIDED to love them. You decided to love them because they were nurturing, sweet, sensitive, kind and sexy. The moment they are no longer one or ALL of the ABOVE, you KILL off the POSSIBILITY of happiness. You are RESTRICTED to love someone based on the REASONS you decided to love them. Had to CHOSEN to love them, remember, when we choose, it’s to freely select from a number of options that creates endless possibilities.  If you embed “choice” into your life, you will essentially create endless possibilities. You might look at this situation with a bigger lens. In relationships, we all have good days and bad days and you have to allow for the ebb and flow of those days with communication and understanding. We are not one dimensional characters, and when we fall in love, it’s a much better outcome when you choose to freely fall in love with someone you choose because you create endless possibilities with that person, instead of deciding to fall in love with someone you decided to, because you’re now RESTRICTED to love, based on the REASONS you DECIDED, which kills off all other possibilities.

I want you to read that again.

We are not one dimensional characters, and when we fall in love, it’s a much better outcome when you choose to freely fall in love with someone you choose because you create endless possibilities with that person, instead of deciding to fall in love with someone you decided to, because you’re now RESTRICTED to love, based on the REASONS you DECIDED, which kills off all other possibilities.

 

The Lesson: In life we have two options when faced with the opportunity of selecting. We can either choose or decide. Which one will you choose when it comes to work, love, family, friends, etc?

The #Nando25 Challenge Homework
1. Look back at the last decision you made. What were your reasons?
2. Can you revisit that decision and instead, choose freely?
3. In your #Nando25 journal, write down a choice you’re now willing to make. And make it.
4. Make sure to post in our facebook page that “you get Day 22” or that you “don’t understand Day 22” and I’ll reach out to you.

Day 20 #Nando25 Challenge: Love, Sex + How to Put on a Condom

The #Nando25 Challenge: Sex is a part of the human experience and it should be consensual, fun + exciting. Today I teamed up with Melissa White from LuckyBloke to bring you some sexy fun on the topic. We discuss how singles can rev up their sex life as well as what couples can do to add some spark in the bedroom and eventually end up dishing the dirt on how to measure a man’s penis to make sure there’s a proper condom fit–you don’t want to miss out on this one!

The Lesson: Listen to the Podcast + Be Present

Listen to internet radio with nandoism on Blog Talk Radio

The #Nando25 Challenge Homework:
1. Visit LuckyBloke for all your sexy needs.

Day 18 #Nando25 Challenge: The Context of Your Life

The #Nando25 Day Idea: If we are rooted in the idea that life happens only in language–the language you use provides your life’s context. And this is where is gets down + dirty. Although we create–and sometimes in a subconscious way, different subtext for various part/components in our lives–there is still a common thread that connects it all.

When you experience a breakdown in a certain part in your life, and after you take a closer look, you realize this isn’t the first breakdown, it’s the 10th or the 200th breakdown in this area, life is telling you that you need to transform the context you are supplying/living  your life with. It’s only when you transform the context, that you can transform your “way of being”.

For example. If you find that all the men you date eventually end up lying + cheating on you, and this started with boyfriend #1 in Jr. High School, we have to dig deeper. When you encounter the same problem over and over and over and over again–that’s the result of the context you have created. Somewhere, early on, you created the context that “I don’t deserve an honest and loving relationship.” Simple right? It gets worse. Because you created this context, all your actions, ways of being, thoughts and reactions will align with your context, “I don’t deserve an honest and loving relationship.” So no matter if it’s 5 years from now or 10 years from now–you will always align yourself and walk the path of  “I don’t deserve an honest and loving relationship.”

Within context–there are 3 occurrences or RULES.
Rule #1. Things that are possible
Rule #2. Things that are likely possible
Rule #3. Things that are NEVER going to be possible

What does that mean for you and your life? If the context that you’ve created in the area of relationships is “I don’t deserve an honest and loving relationship.” it means 3 things.

1. It means that it’s possible that you will date and find men in your life time. (not bad, right?)
2. It’s even “likely possible” that you will get into many relationships. (we are okay, right?)
3. But something that’s NEVER going to be possible –a relationship that lasts. (Houston, we have a problem)

What ever context you give an area of your life–there will be those 3 rules of occurrence. Forever. And ever. And ever. You have created the context and now, you and your life aligns itself to make it come true–or to prove your context right. Simple, right?

The Lesson: How do you change the context? You don’t. You can’t change context. You have to transform it. When you “change” something, you make something else from something. When you transform something, you make something out of nothing. You need to make a clearing–remember your life’s chalkboard? You can’t just pile on more phrases and words on top of the old messages that you’ve written about your life–you have to ERASE the board, make a clearing, for the new stuff, the NEW CONTEXT.

Once you have identified what the OLD context–create the NEW context. Write it down, and be specific–why? Because life happens ONLY in language. I ask you to be as specific as possible because your OLD context will want to push itself through. That’s the nature of things. You have been aligning yourself with your OLD context for how long now? Yeah! It’s not going to be an easy-breezy walk down the yellow brick road, it’s not–and unless you get extremely specific with your NEW context, your old context will start to slip in.

What you will see is that you are 100% responsible for your actions now. Before, you were just “living life” and had no idea why men were cheating + lying to you. Now, you have created NEW context and will have to chose to align yourself with that context. Daily. And when you find yourself on an old road, make that quick left turn and bring yourself back into alignment.

The #Nando25 Homework:
1. Identify in your #Nando25 journal, the breakdowns in your life and the area they reside in: Family, Career, Relationships, Friends, Children, etc.
2. Identify the OLD context (just one sentence–don’t complicate things) and then really think about the NEW context you want to create.
3. Create the NEW context for that area and write it down in your #Nando25 journal, but also write it down 3 more places where you can see it every day (at work, bathroom mirror, in the car, in your phone)
4. Start taking unreasonable actions to help keep you in alignment.
5. Send me a message when you “get it” meaning, you understand the concept of your life’s context.

 

Day 15: #Nando25 Challenge: Top Interviewing Tips to Get Your Dream Job

The #Nando25 Challenge Idea: Ever wanted to know why you didn’t get that job? Did you have doubts walking into your interview? Today’s video will walk you through THREE top interviewing tips given my Amy Segal, Head of Recruiting for a Leading Communications Agency. Amy gives you the insight into the interviewing process and what people are really looking for.

The Lesson: View the Video + Be Present

The #Nando25 Challenge Homework:
1. Post this blog on your Facebook wall or tweet it out–we all know at least ONE person who is currently interviewing + this will help them.
2. Use the tips mentioned by Amy on your next interview.

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