In our last post based on the work of Dr. Paul Gilbert, we look at the Drive System.
The Drive System, also known as the Incentive and Resource-Seeking System, is built to help us achieve goals. Its primary function is to motivate us, to provide the incentive for us to accomplish tasks and to seek resources that are going to allow us to survive.
Think about our drive to get out of our cozy bed in the morning, the effort we undertake to go for a walk after working all day, the motivation we muster to finish that last assignment in course work or the effort it takes to prepare our family’s dinner.
The brain chemical that is produced when the drive system is engaged is dopamine, our reward hormone. This is why we tend to always feel better after doing something that we had to convince ourselves to do in the first place!
When the drive system is engaged, we feel motivated and excited. Our emotions illicit pursuing and consuming behaviours as a way to keep us on track to achieving our goals.
The three systems of emotional regulation – the soothing system, threat system, and drive system – best serve us when working together. When we can recognize that one of our systems is out of alignment, we can work to create balance again. That might mean pushing the drive system, taming down the threat system, or making sure our soothing system isn’t left behind. 🙂
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@kiribane