On my way to work this morning I listened to an interesting interview about brain chemistry. Here are some points:
– The brain records more details about bad memories than about good memories. Very bad memories can be “grooved” into our brains very easily, along with the emotional responses that accompanied them. Doctors prescribe beta blockers to people after traumatic events so that they don’t become crippled emotionally by the memory of the event.
– We are all on drugs. Illicit drugs are so effective on us because they emulate the drugs that our brains produce naturally, like serotonin, oxytocin, adrenaline, testosterone, estrogen, etc.
– Oxytocin is especially important in the formation of parental and relationship bonds. It has the side effect of making a person more resistant to stress.
– Knowing about the chemical reactions in our brains will not allow us to control them, but will allow us to understand what’s happening in certain situations.
And then I got to work so I had to get out of the car and stop listening to the interview. But what I find most interesting is the oxytocin information. My friend, who was also my business partner at the time, said that I was a much easier person to work with when I was involved in a relationship. This was about 8 years ago, and now I think I have a better understanding and therefore better grip on my emotions. I hate the idea of being dependent on someone else for my own stability, and I think I’m able to cope well with things regardless of my relationship status. On the other hand, I know I’m happier and more effective after I’ve had a great night out with someone I really feel “connected” to.