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Mindful : October 2015
By Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter the day. Your phone rings, you answer it, and, before you know it, it’s 5 p.m. and time to go home. Your list is still there, untouched and unfulfilled. Both cases are examples of action addic- tion, a deep-rooted human condition caused by imbalances in the chemicals of our brain. The hormone dopamine is the key player. Dopa- mine is a highly addictive, naturally produced reward-drug that, when released in the brain, provides us a short-term sense of enjoyment, relaxation, and gratification. Dopamine is a main driver behind our constant busyness. When organizing the three social appoint- ments, ordering the new IKEA closet, or check- ing our Facebook page, dopamine is released. We feel good. For a moment. Then the brain craves another kick. More actions. And over time we are caught in a vicious circle of action and reward. Action addiction is in the making. Does it sound familiar? → ARE YOU ADDICTED TO DOING? Perhaps you’re familiar with this experi- ence: After a long week of work, the weekend finally arrives. It’s time to wind down, relax, and do nothing. However, before 9 a.m . Saturday morning you’ve organized three social appoint- ments, ordered a new IKEA closet, and set in motion four other plans that will keep you active for the rest of the weekend. Or something like this has happened to you: It’s 8 a.m. and you’re in the office. On your desk is a clear list of the four important priorities of Running around getting things done is always better, right? Wrong. Have you tried lowering your speed limit? PHOTOGRAPHS©VINCENTBESNAULT/GETTYIMAGES Rasmus Hougaard is the founder of the Potential Project, a global training organization delivering mindfulness programs to Amex, Nike, Accenture, and more than 200 other organizations around the world. Jacqueline Carter is the North American director of the Potential Project. She and Hougaard are authors of One Second Ahead: Enhance Your Performance At Work with Mindfulness, to be published in November 2015. October 2015 mindful 71