Day 1: Podcast on the road – Dopamine

On June 8th, the Misras went from being residents of the United States to full-time tourists. As a result, we have embarked on an epic road trip across the US. In the coming days, we will endeavor to pen down our experiences, conversations, and feelings while visiting various towns and cities across the US in what we call “Misras On The Road.”
We left Miami today and took a 5-hour drive up north to St. Augustine. The drive was pleasant; however, it was the podcast that we listened to during it that was worth sharing.
The podcast was on Dopamine. It was a 2.5-hour long podcast, very technical at many points; however, I will try to boil it down into just a few takeaways.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released in our brains. It is responsible for mood, motivation and movement. The easiest way to imagine this is – Every time you see something you like – Dopamine hit. Someone likes your Facebook post – Dopamine hit. You eat a piece of chocolate – Dopamine hit.

On the other end of the spectrum, your dopamine levels are probably really low if you’re feeling low and unmotivated. This is easy to understand; however, this is where it gets pretty interesting. If you are neither in the dopamine high state or low, but somewhere in the middle, then your mood depends on your most recent experience. As an example, if I am on facebook and notice an old post of Avi (Product of Avishkar and I) trying to walk for the first time, I get a dopamine hit, my dopamine levels go above their baseline. Right after, scrolling down, I notice a post with puppies playing with a ball, I don’t find it as cute or amazing. If I had seen the puppies’ post before the Avi post, I might have found them cuter and consequently, they would have resulted in a more significant dopamine release in my system. In essence, your mood, motivation, and feelings of happiness/sadness concerning dopamine release are all relative!!
Every dopamine high relative to your baseline is followed by a low. So, if you are running a marathon, and you passed the finish line victorious, you were uber happy, the next day or the day after you are bound to feel down and depressed. This is how depression or schizophrenia works.
Dopamine craves more Dopamine. Meaning, if you do something, that you enjoy doing, your body releases Dopamine, soon you do more of it, your body increases its tolerance, soon enough, your body becomes desensitized to it or needs even more of it to get the same feeling, or in worse cases no more Dopamine is released by your body. This is how substance abuse or pornography addiction works.
Armed with all this information, what can we do to ensure a sustained and long-lasting dopamine release? Interestingly, the old wife’s tale of taking a cold shower actually has scientific truth to it. Apparently, a lengthy cold shower (>15 mins) releases almost 250% more Dopamine, relative to your baseline, in your system, which is the same as the amount of Dopamine released during sex or smoking! While doing a task, such as an exercise, focusing on the task as opposed to the results of it, would release sustained Dopamine. Basically, faking it till you make it approach is all about training your brain. After all, that is the only thing that makes us superior to our close cousins.
If you want to listen to the entire podcast, the link to it is –

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: