This is Your Brain on 7-Eleven

Last night whilst my eyes weighed heavy, I had the sudden craving for carbs (pizza, more specifically) and sugar. I entertained the idea of making a run to 7-Eleven. Wouldn’t take long. 10 minutes tops. In 10 minutes I could be satisfying these cravings. I know the average time because I’ve made these runs before.

I then had a moment of self-awareness.THIS IS NEUROLOGY AT ITS FINEST.

It’s a reward system; a lazy-lizard informed reward system sending requests for “feel-good” sensations. And if your sad, low, or in my case, tired, then all you want is feel-good.

I’ve (we’ve) created pathways, agreements if you will, that sugar is good. And the biological tell that it’s good? That magical endorphin release. It’s the same center that activates when sexual culmination is reached.

I don’t need to tell you that we live in an over-stimulated culture, one that benefits off of extending and widening those pathways. So much so that we end up abusing our food and sex appetites.

Not only does the culture neurologically hard-wire an excess desire for these stimulants, they reinforce them with a comforting, guilt-free psychosis that when distilled become social maxims: “Everybody does it”, “One more won’t hurt”, and “Treat yourself”. The aim is to normalize excess.

Because it’s normal to have high rates of obesity. Because it’s normal to have relationships torn apart by pornography addiction.

If excess is the new normal, then the new normal will be unsustainable.

Meaning what? Meaning DEATH. Death of your person-hood, because you’ve become a fiend bent on destroying your health and ruining relationships. You drift into isolation, disconnected, slowly giving way to the ominous nothingness that becomes you.

If you can see that what that person looks like in your mind,then I’ll need you to grab the nearest hammer and shatter that image. If you’re going through something like this right now, then please repeat step one.

The beauty of our brain is that it does operate on this kind of reward system. Sure, it may metabolically respond to stimulants like sugar in a way that fools us into thinking that it’s a “good” good (and I’m not knocking down sugar, sugar is beautiful), but I know people who aren’t partial to sweet things. At all. But again, they have a pathway that loves savory things. And then there are those who only treat food as energy. And they’re probably weird (insert winking-emoji here). But you can reward your brain with a little something called moderation, a message that is a broken record and ultimately serves as another reminder.

We can renew our brains.

With the right agreements we can demolish those old pathways and repave them with better agreements about food and sex and whatever else we find we’re excessively indulging.

 

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