We all have feel-good habits. Our brain is designed to seek rewards. Our ancestors had to seek in order to eat, so we’ve inherited a brain that keeps looking for something good. Each brain defines that “something good” from its own past experience. Good feelings pave neural pathways that help you find more of the same. We all end up with some quirky pathways.
I am a travel addict. I say “addict” in the usual sense:
- I use travel to feel good.
- The good feeling starts as soon as I start planning a trip.
- My habit started at a bad time in my adolescence.
I can pinpoint the experiences that wired my travel addiction. You can probably figure out how your self-soothing habits got started, too. Some habits are less harmful than others, but they have a lot in common. They trigger your happy brain chemicals — dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
Here’s how my happy chemicals are stimulated by my habit. It may help you figure out how your happy chemicals are stimulated by your happy habit.