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Habits, be it good or bad are engraved in the brain. Your environment reinforces or eliminates your habits. Having awareness of your habits and working on stimulating the positive ones, or minimizing the negative ones, is a challenge unless you are well versed on the psychology associated with habits.
I enjoyed the book, Atomic Habits, by James Clear (more than 15M copies sold). He talked about some interesting points on habits which include:
- Habits are influenced by social norms. We imitate the habits of three groups in particular: the close, the many, the powerful. That is why bad friends lead to bad habits, as example.
- Once a habit is formed, it is unlikely to be forgotten. Researchers found that cocaine addicts who are shown a picture of a line of cocaine covet the drug in just 33 milliseconds.
- 9 out 10 heroin addicts from the Vietnam war stayed drug free three years after returning home because their environment changed. Conversely, 9 out of 10 people who go to drug rehabilitation fall back into usage because the environment that led to drug abuse did not change after treatment.
INSPIRATIONAL: “When dopamine rises, so does your motivation to act.” – James Clear
Dopamine is the brain neurotransmitter which is associated with feeling pleasure. Anything that you enjoy will release dopamine in the brain, this can be exercising, having sex, eating chocolates, dancing, shopping, etc.. Low levels of this neurotransmitter are associated with a lack of drive, feeling hopeless, being depressed, and low sex drive.
Here are some interesting facts about Dopamine you might not know:
- The brain actually releases dopamine before the event which is enjoyable. That is, the mere expectation of the event will generate a dopamine boost in the brain.
- The dopamine boost at expectancy of the event can generate more pleasure than the actual event. The level of dopamine released at event-time is lesser than when waiting for it to happen. Example, there might more pleasure in thinking about sex, than actually having it.
- Laboratory rats who had brain modifications to stop the release of dopamine lost the will to eat and drink water. Within a couple of days, the unfortunate laboratory animals died.
INSPIRATIONAL: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Thanksgiving is right around the corner in the US. Likely the most beloved national holiday in North America but one that has drifted away from the true meaning of the celebration, as most things nowadays.
Much before this tradition started in the US, the Israelites practiced the concept of Thanksgiving. Here are some interesting facts and traditions which predate the formal 1621 autumn harvest meal between The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe:
- Historians say that the true first ‘Thanksgiving’ meal in the Americas actually took place in St. Augustine, Florida circa 1565 when 800 Spaniards celebrated God’s providence in a festive meal with the native Timucuan people.
- The biblical interpretation of Thanksgiving refers to Devotion, Sacrifice, Praise, and an Offering.
- Offerings of thanksgiving and praise were made during the temple liturgy in Old Testament times. The Hebrew term for “thanksgiving” is “todah,” which signifies the act of extending one’s hand, often used to praise God and express gratitude.
- The New Testament frequently links Thanksgiving to the Greek term “euchariste,” implying the expression of gratitude.
You don’t have to wait once a year for this special holiday since one can grateful for all things, everyday and in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
INSPIRATIONAL: Psalm 100: 4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name”
Thank you for reading, I hope you the material and I pray you will be blessed in your personal journey!
Please note on Sunday morning (US-ET) I send an email with the “Weekly Recap”, which includes the blogs which range from 1500 words to 3000 words, more meaty but really good material, along with a copy of the weekly Newsletter.
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Edgar S. Martinez