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Why does the over-stressed gray matter lead us astray

In short, it is difficult to say “no” when it comes to vices during a pandemic. Drink an extra glass of wine here, sit there with a birthday cake, eat half of the birthday cake-anyway, escape the constant pressure of life in a locked state. In any case, this seems reasonable in March.

But nine months later, when experience proves that smoking a pack of cigarettes does not make up for the interaction between people, why do bad habits continue to force us?

Most people experience long-term trauma or “chronic toxicity” stress during a pandemic, which makes it more difficult to control desires, which in turn promotes illogical enjoyment. Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, author of Metabolism. In scientific terms: the brain is flooded with the stress hormone cortisol for a long time, which inhibits the function of the prefrontal cortex, leading to the excessive activation of the brain’s “reward center”-triggering excessive baking, drinking, smoking and shopping to fill up 2020 Free time.

Lustig said: “Dopamine is a reward neurotransmitter. It is inhibited by the frontal lobe. When this inhibition is released, the reward center will look for hedonic stimuli.”

; “Those may be chemicals-cocaine, heroin, Nicotine, alcohol, sugar-or behavior-shopping, gambling, Internet games, social media, pornography.”

Take your beloved carbohydrate sugar. At the beginning of the pandemic, the baking frenzy swept across the country, providing both relatively easy access to quarantine hobbies and stable carbohydrates. Like hand sanitizer and toilet paper, flour and yeast have changed from low-end food in supermarkets to hot foods, and they were quickly snatched from store shelves.

But does baking make it so suitable for isolation? Is this a transfer of dough kneading or hedonism? According to the NPD Group, although the total sales of cookbooks in the United States increased by 15% in the first nine months of this year, the sales of bread books increased by 145%. This is an increase of 200,000 bread recipes from sales in 2019. At the same time, sales of vegetarian and other relatively healthy food recipes took a hit in March and April.

Lustig said that the preparation of baked goods in the quarantine is obviously not only because of the joy of cooking. “Baking refers to carbohydrates, especially sugar, whether it is transfer or addiction. Are they really different?” he said.

The transition from sifting flour to complete addiction sounds extreme, but it raises the question of why people turn to certain things for certain comforts even if people know that the feeling is fleeting.

Laurie Santos, professor of psychology at Yale University and host of the “Happiness Lab” podcast, said: “This is a million-dollar problem.” “We know from neuroscience that what we want is what we like. There is a disconnect between them. Wanting is a motivating process. To like is to feel when you get it.”

She said that this separation is strongest in the field of addictive drugs: craving or “wanting” the drug will drive people to extremes in order to obtain it, but the actual benefits or “likes” are low because they have already Get used to it.

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“The downside is that we don’t need the things we want to work on. For example, spend time experiencing social relationships, doing good things for others, spending time experiencing things like gratitude. We just don’t have a mechanism for finding things. We didn’t realize that it was something missing,” Santos said.

One thing people generally want during a pandemic is alcohol. Women in particular are more susceptible to stressful drinking in the quarantine area. As a whole, they have experienced declining job safety and increasing social isolation, which have historically been the cause of drinking.

In April, almost all Americans were on standby at home, and online alcoholic beverage sales increased by more than 500% over the same period last year. Nielsen said that in the early days of the pandemic, surviving bars and restaurants were temporarily open, so online sales have declined, but even in October, online sales of alcoholic beverages exceeded sales in most other consumer product categories.

One counter-intuitive habit that has made a comeback is smoking. Considering the impact of the coronavirus on the respiratory system, lighting a cigarette this year may seem unimaginable for some people, but sales show that the chemical inducement of nicotine still attracts many people. From March to October, the overall decline in total US tobacco sales was slightly curbed. It’s not just pressure that drives consumption. The company attributed the increase in sales to the increase in disposable income of Americans, who received a boost from stimulus payments and spent less money on social activities such as dining out, which means they have more Time to smoke at home.

As Americans deal with pandemic disposable spending, they are not only benefiting from Big Tobacco: Cyber ​​Monday on November 30 (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) became the largest online shopping day in American history, with a total of 10.7 Billions of dollars in purchases-this figure shows that the collective brain is seeking satisfaction. Self-care is one category with significant growth.

“Purchasing new material possessions does not make us as happy as we think. In fact, we better not spend money on others.”

Colleen McCann, author of “Crystal Rx” and founder of the mysterious fashion brand Style Rituals, said: “Self care is the ultimate form of expressing self-love.” McCann’s services include energetic closet cleaning and self-identified crystals and towers. After reading Luopai, customers will get a well-planned “My Time” toolkit and mood board. McCann said that even as a high-end niche product, Style Rituals is still gaining business, even though its service is fully online.

Consumer spending forecasts from RetailMeNot indicate that during this holiday season, people will spend more money on gifts than their parents, relatives or best friends. Santos said, but self-centered shopping will not bring people the joy of holiday vacation.

“Purchasing new material possessions does not make us as happy as we think. In fact, we better not spend money on others. Doing good things for others seems to actually make us happy over time. ,” she says.

With the help of vaccines, the return of society may simply replace the habit of instant gratification with more lasting abundance, such as impulse consumption stimulation checks.

Santos said: “After locking, we will get an amazing new start in our daily work, how we interact, and who we interact with.” “This will indeed provide us with the opportunity to build more positive habits and use what we have learned during this time. Knowledge to create a more nutritious life for yourself.”

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