The Neurochemistry of Success

What is Success in Life?

Success is a continuous journey that ultimately can only be defined and measured by YOU. 

One could argue that depression is the opposite of success that can be defined as the lack of personal power with the loss of inspiration and freedom to pursue your passions.

Most people suffering from anxiety and depression are aware that there are a number of complex factors involved in the illness. According to the 2008 Australian Bureau of Statistics national survey on health and wellbeing, about three million Australians are living with depression and/or anxiety, which is affecting their well-being, personal relationships, career and productivity.

It is estimated by the ABS report that more than 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. This demonstrates the importance of correcting neurotransmitter function.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that are responsible for signalling information to the brain and body via your nerve cells. Manufacturing adequate amounts of neuro-chemicals are essential for optimum health and wellbeing. The main neurotransmitters linked to depression and anxiety include:

•       SEROTONIN is necessary to stabilise mood function. Imbalanced serotonin levels result in mood swings, sugar cravings, and is linked to a sense of worry, sadness and despair.

It may also lead to OCD-type symptoms, obsessive thoughts and compulsive aggressive behaviour.

•       GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that is responsible for reducing excitability in the brain, controlling muscle tone and posture, and is involved in the regulation of relaxation and deep sleep.

•       DOPAMINE is mainly responsible for focus, memory and concentration, feeling a sense of pleasure, and motivation to get things done. The dysfunction of dopamine production is linked to conditions like Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome.

•       NOREPINEPHRINE regulates heart rate and blood pressure. High-levels of norepinephrine in the body results in anxiety, whilst low levels of norepinephrine are associated with stress, fatigue, diminished levels of focus and poor sleep cycle patterns.  

•       HISTAMINE levels are reflective of allergy or inflammation that will trigger the stimulation of excess catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) to reduce the inflammatory production.

What factors deplete neurotransmitter levels?

There are a multitude of factors that affect your neurotransmitter levels, including emotional stress, neurotoxins (industry or household chemicals), drugs (prescription and recreational), genetic predispositions, poor sleep, and consuming an excessive amount of processed foods, alcohol and caffeine. 

Research has shown that sugar depletes dopamine in the same way as cocaine, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. This is because most drugs – when abused – react by flooding the brain with dopamine to produce a feeling of euphoria, until dopamine levels become depleted and exhausted. This eventually spirals in a crash, and the viscous cycle continues to repeat itself.

How can you remodel your definition of success?

Remember that comparing other people’s accomplishments is your judgement, not your measurement of success.

To be successful or happy you need to be aligned with your core values, and to do that, you need to envision specifically what that means to you.

The challenge is determining what you honestly want.