The feeling of motivation is one that many of us strive for on a daily basis, using internal (goal setting, affirmations) and external (coffee, exercise) factors as a recipe for energy, focus and productivity without mental anguish. However it is awareness of what we really want that should dictate our methods as this is the key to unlocking the chemicals that already exist in our bodies.

Relaxed businessman working with a laptop in his office

Motivation – Dopamine

Motivation is the want to do something, not simply the obligation to complete the task. For many years businesses have used the ‘carrot and the stick’ with employees, rewarding them for a job well done and berating them if they should not do well in an attempt to motivate. But this is not motivation, this is adrenalin, which we will discuss next. Motivation is an internal factor that is dictated by the individual through adherence to a loftier outcome and an understand ing of how each individual action taken contributes to that outcome. To achieve motivation, one must understand not only what he goal is, but why it matters at an emotional level. Motivation is often mis-categorised as ambition, which is aspiration based on external factors and with an end result. Dopamine is the drug of motivation and one way to release it is to set achievable goals that can give an emotional sense of achievement. This is often known and being ‘in flow’ and we’re going to look at more ways to manipulate dopamine to assist in motivation over the next few weeks.


Inspiration – Serotonin

Inspiration not only comes with clarity, it is clarity – a fundamental understanding of a situation and the actions that should be taken. Inspiration comes from understanding the core of a situation, problem or goal and through this, the next step. It’s like walking a path that is covered in a thick fog and when stepping out of that fog, the path is suddenly clear. In order to find inspiration, one should look closer at all factors and search for clarity.

Serotonin, the drug of happiness and wellbeing, creates a regulated mood that presents the best chance of clarity. Vitamin D or getting out in the sun are known to increase levels of serotonin. As this is the ‘happy drug,’ we’re going to explore in detail serotonin and how you can make the most of it.



Adrenalin is a chemical in the body which is activated through increased fear or excitement. It’s a powerful tool when used well, however it is only available in limited quantities and comes with a catch – when you’re out of adrenalin you end up lethargic and usually emotionally and physically spend. Often, this chemical is spent through fear of a manager, excitement for a reward or anxiety of a deadline. Indeed, if escaping from a bear in the woods, it’s an ideal companion, however if long term and sustainable action is your goal, then adrenalin will not only be detrimental, it will likely impact upon your health – both mental and physical. It can lead to drinking, overeating and depression.

They naturally occur anyway so why not use them? Over the next few weeks we’re going to be exploring the chemicals of the body in more detail and offering tips on how to ‘hack’ your bodies natural pharmacy.