Many of my clients would get depressed after they had accomplished a major goal. After all the planning, effort, time and money there was at best a let-down and at worst actual depression. I had experienced it myself every time I reached a major goal in my life like getting college degrees or sought after promotions. What I didn’t know was this is a neurological function of my brain.
Neuroscience shows that the act of seeking itself, rather than the goals we realize, is key to satisfaction. We need to actively want something more in order to live well.
Neuroscientist Jaak Panskepp believes ” . . . that of seven core instincts in the human brain (anger, fear, panic-grief, maternal care, pleasure/lust, play, and seeking), seeking is the most important. All mammals have this seeking system, says Panskepp, wherein dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to reward and pleasure, is also involved in coordinating planning activities. This means animals are rewarded for exploring their surroundings and seeking new information for survival.”
Science and the arts bear this out. The process of art, always creating something new, trying new techniques, different modalities is what drives me, not the the product. Likewise science is about questioning, new ways of looking at things, new directions to explore. Two fields that are entirely open-ended.
“The human desire to seek can help make sense of studies showing that achieving major goals, or even winning the lottery, doesn’t cause long-term changes in happiness. But our drive to look ahead needn’t cause a permanent state of dissatisfaction, as seeking is itself a fulfilling activity.”
Fascinating! A neuro-scientific explanation for the old adage “The process is more important than the product”.
According to neuroscience the quest is an end in itself. An innate human desire for seeking.
There will never be an end to the to-do list, future goals and plans, the things we want to achieve and see. But the fact that we don’t have everything we want is exactly what makes life so fulfilling. Who knew?
Read the entire article here: Neuroscience confirms that to be truly happy, you will always need something more