When you finally achieve something that you’ve been working towards for a long time, it’s no secret that it can make you feel really amazing. Even smaller successes can make you feel great, whether that be getting a new best time on your 5K run, or taking the time to eat breakfast for the third consecutive day that week. Success means different things to different people. For one person it might mean owning a big house and a fast car, for another it might mean getting out for walks most days of the week, and that is completely fine. Although everyone is different, and everyone’s mental health is different, achieving these successes in life, big and small, can really help to boost and improve your mental health in both the short term, and the long term.
- Success Brings On A Dopamine Rush
When we succeed at something, our brains receive a hit of dopamine. This is often referred to as the “feel good” neurotransmitter, or the “happy hormone”. It plays an important part in the brain’s reward system, leaving us feeling proud of ourselves and our achievements.
One of the principal symptoms of dopamine deficiency is depression and low mood, so through making even just small achievements in your day to day life, feelings of low mood and mild depression can potentially be combatted.
- Boost In Testosterone
Not only do our brains receive a hit of dopamine when we succeed at something, but they also experience an increase in testosterone levels. This contributes to that feeling of euphoria and self pride which dopamine delivers, and also fuels our feelings of competitiveness and sense of power.
- Inflated Sense Of Self Value And Confidence
In part due to the increased levels of dopamine and testosterone that accompany a win, it has been suggested that frequent successes and achievements can help you to become a more confident person in the long run. In turn, this also has the potential to help reduce feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem, and relates to the “winner effect”. This is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won against weaker competitors has a significantly increased likelihood of going on to win against a stronger competitor. The boosted levels of testosterone and dopamine play a key role in the long-term effect on the animal’s brain here, as well as the short-term. In the short-term, they may experience a rush of euphoria and feelings of pride, but in the long-term they become more confident, and even smarter. This is because they learn from their achievements, and retain key information on how to win for the next time they find themselves in competition. Interestingly, the winner effect not only applies to animals, but also to humans. Best New Bingo Sites have created a really helpful infographic, which illustrates the varying effects that winning can have on the human brain and body, and how these different aspects all link together.
- Increased Motivation
As the impact that the “winner effect” has on our brains is long lasting, it helps us to stay motivated in the long term, on top of having greater intelligence and feeling more confident. We experience increased feelings of motivation following on from a single win, or a series of wins, because our brains essentially crave to experience that hit of dopamine again, and the feelings of euphoria that it creates. This of course also makes us more likely to succeed again, because we are committed to putting in the time and effort. This feeling of increased motivation can also help to combat feelings of negativity and mild depression in some situations, thus working to improve our mental health.
- Potential Feelings Of Long Term Satisfaction And Purpose
When we achieve something, it can make us feel as though we have purpose in life. It has been suggested that, “a person derives happiness and a true sense of self from acting on his dreams and making them successful.” That isn’t to say that you have to achieve something in order to be or feel validated. But, doing something positive and productive with your time allows you the opportunity to feel connected to a larger community, and potentially even better connected to yourself as an individual.
Everybody’s mental health is different, and success means different things to different people. However, working towards achievements, no matter how big or small, and then coming to meet them, can definitely help boost mental health for a lot of people. It can help us to feel proud of ourselves, more confident, more intelligent, more motivated and ultimately more satisfied and purposeful in life.