By Vener Zygmond O. Rebuelta/AdDU Intern
THE pandemic has affected economies, caused the death of many, canceled plans, halted education, and greatly affected people’s physical health. In a time when the future is uncertain, where do we find the motivation to move forward?
During the lockdown, it became more and more difficult to find motivations. When we do something, we think of a bright future. For students like me, the bright future means graduation, being recognized for overcoming the struggles and getting the job I want to have after. But in these trying times, when even proper graduation is barely possible, where do we find the motivation to finish an essay or pass the quiz on time, or get an excellent grade in exams?
Perhaps we are also too obsessed with seeing the big picture while disregarding the idea that we can move forward with the little things that can push us further to the bigger goal.
In neuroscience, there is what we call a personal reward system. It is a system where your brain attempts to regulate and control behavior by inducing pleasurable effects. In other words, you convince yourself that you’re gonna get a reward after accomplishing a task, and that motivates you to actually finish the task!
It takes time and effort, but it works. At least it does with.
So, where do we start with personally rewarding ourselves? Start with the small things.
When doing a simple task, stop thinking of rewards that are too far in the future. Stop thinking that you’re gonna finish this essay because two years from now, you’re gonna graduate and get a job. That will only tire you out. Instead, think like, “I am gonna finish this essay so I can watch my favorite Netflix series later tonight.” Think of rewards that you really want, and this reward should be immediately available. That way, you get to see the immediate results of your hard work.
Indeed, we are all children deep inside who want ice cream after sleeping in the afternoon or candy after bathing. As adults, we might find pleasure in different things but life is not always about the grand things like cars and planes. Sometimes, it is being able to sleep soundly at night or eat your favorite snacks.
While these may seem irrelevant, the effect of these small things is extraordinary.