Monday, February 9, 2009

The Dopamine Release: A MoneyWalker High

When we engage in aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, the brain releases chemicals that help us to feel good. These chemicals are neurotransmitters and include dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and norepinephrine. During brisk walking the chemicals are released throughout our brain and nervous system with the result is that we feel good—anxiety, stress, and depression are reduced. The MoneyWalker has more good news. Finding money also causes these chemical releases, thus a double positive.

On a recent walk, a chronic back condition flared and the associated pain was causing me to want to cut the walk short. By chance, I suddenly found a dollar bill in a parking lot. I quickly pocketed the bill and continued looking for more finds. A few minutes later, I became conscious of something, I was pain free. What is going on here? I suspect that my body had given me a huge dopamine release. Given that dopamine is a natural pain killer, it is a good scientific bet that it was the dopamine that completely relieved the back pain. I was pain free for the rest of the walk and for the rest of the day. Would a penny find have done it, probably not. I suspect it was the strength of the dollar that triggered the "huge" dopamine release. We will call this phenomenon a MoneyWalker high. Careful out there, MoneyWalking can be addicting, a topic for another post.

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