How to overcome compulsive behavior?

Aakash S
7 min readSep 26, 2022


Human behavior is governed by neurotransmitters, where various kinds of chemicals are released in different areas of the brain based on different experiences you go through in life. For example, during romantic or passionate love, you’re going to feel the sense of being addicted to your partner. We define romantic love as an intense desire for another, with the expectation that it’s gonna persist into the future. Studies have looked at activity in the brain when recalling passionate or romantic love, different areas of the brain are responsible for the release of different neurotransmitters, which then come to affect your future feeling states and future behaviors.

During romantic or passionate love, what happens from a neurotransmitter standpoint, these chemicals that are released when you have that particular experience?

Here are various chemicals that are released based on certain experiences:

Dopamine: Dopamine goes up. Dopamine is essentially the neurotransmitter of reward. So it is a neurotransmitter that’s released when you have a new or novel experience, but particularly experiences that are reinforcing. Like gambling. Or something that is really addictive.

Serotonin: It is a neurotransmitter that is active for obsessive-compulsive disorder and responsible for depression. The neurotransmitter goes up for people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder. What it does mean is you’re probably going to obsess over your partner. You really don’t become depressed but what you do is a feature of depression called rumination. So you think about your partner over and over again in this really obsessive manner. And, if your partner is separated from you, you’re going to have this longing, where you’re wanting to be with them, kind of like you’d want to be with a drug if it was taken away from you and you were already addicted to it.

Oxytocin: If you’re physical with your partner, the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which is kind of known as the cuddle neurotransmitter, and that makes you feel warm, and snuggly, and intensely bonded to this person. It is particularly released following orgasm. So, you know, if you’re having sex with your partner, and things go well, you’re going to feel very attached to them, exceedingly intimate with them. Partially because of that neurotransmitter.

Vasopressin: Vasopressin, has to do with stress levels. There’s this whole release of neurotransmitters that make you feel very obsessed, very addicted, thinking constantly about your partner, very intimately, cuddly, attached, and stressed. Actually, it is a stressful condition, to some degree, to be really into your partner.

One of the problems with early-stage intense feelings of romantic love is that its part of the oldest parts of the brain that become activated. This brain region is linked with drive, craving, obsession, and motivation.

Most of these chemicals are released from the Limbic System of the brain. This is also called the Mammal brain, which is responsible for compulsive behavior and addictions in life. This mammal part of the brain makes us animalistic. The limbic system is the part of the brain involved in our behavioral and emotional responses, especially when it comes to behaviors we need for survival: feeding, reproduction, caring for our young, and fight or flight responses.

The new brain or cognitive regions up in the prefrontal cortex that has evolved much more recently begin to shut down when the Limbic system is in total action. This brain region is linked with decision-making and planning.

As people who are madly in love can fall madly in love with somebody who’s married, who lives on the other side of the planet, who comes from a different religion. And somehow they’ll say to themselves, we’ll work it out, we can work this out. Because of all that energy of intense romantic love. This time Limbic System of the brain is in more action where various chemicals are released. Over time, as this whole neurotransmitter thing settles out, whole that initial romance comes to fall down. What is left is to be able to maintain your relationship going forward.

So question is, are we really in control of ourselves or just victims of our biological system that is governed by nature? Is there really anything like love, emotion, and feelings, or we are just manipulated by our compulsive behaviors that are the result of chemicals released in various parts of the brain? And if our feelings are just due to the release of these chemicals then is there any way to rise ourselves beyond these compulsive behaviors?

We have read about the biological aspect of human beings that creates certain physical urges, mental reflexes, and emotional behavior based upon experiences we go through.

So if all human mechanism is governed by biological mechanism then are we really in control of ourselves? And why do two different human beings act or respond to situations in particular ways even though the human mechanism is the same for everyone? Does Karma have to do anything with this?

So what is Karma?

Check out more such quotes on karma:

Sadhguru says, “Karma functions through certain tendencies. But with some awareness and focus, you can push it in a different direction.”
“Conscious action does not produce karma — reaction does.”

So when we are compulsive and not conscious about our responses that time we simply react based on our behavior that is governed by neurotransmitters. And every individual acts in a particular way based upon past karmic memories that are strongly imprinted within the roots of an individual’s life energy, life energy is something that is keeping us all alive.

Vipassana also teaches how various sensations come and goes away every moment in our body, and how every moment we see changes in our thinking and emotion. We can clearly see all these changes in ourselves when we practice vipassana meditation.

Vipassanā means “vi” meaning “special”, and “passanā” meaning “seeing”. It is often translated as “insight” or “clear-seeing”
Vipassanā also means “before the eyes”, which refers to direct experiential perception.

When we really do yoga, kriyas, or practices like vipassana meditations that time we really raise ourselves beyond our biological nature and act consciously, we do not simply react based upon our karmic impressions and our biological mechanism but we consciously respond to particular situations. And when we keep raising ourselves more and more beyond our physical limitations that time we experience life beyond the physical dimensions. We start experiencing energies that are behind all physical existence.

That’s why lots of significance is given to spiritual practices, so that first of all we have control over the physical body, emotions, and thoughts. Due to this we won’t simply act based upon our biological compulsions, and physical limitations but respond to life with much more consciousness. And later we raise our energies to certain heights so that we start seeing things that are beyond physical existence. Or at least realize that we are not simply part of the universe but the universe itself.

The yogis in the past just talk about the spiritual aspect of life. But we must understand the physics, biology, and chemistry of human beings. We must understand how we humans evolved from Homo Sapien to what we are right now. All these then give us clarity that Why Yoga is so much important in today's time. We really don’t want to be a victim of our biological limitations and experience life with much more consciousness and break barriers of physical dimensions. Hundreds of years back the Yogis didn’t have proper ways to explain spirituality in relation to physics, chemistry, or biology of humans.

Maybe gods were created in different religions just to have fear upon us so that we don’t act like animals because some parts of our brains still have the reptilian and mammal brains. And today, we have every knowledge available to understand human mechanisms and our limitations.

Sadhguru always tries to explain things in a scientific manner, in a way that makes more sense to today's world. If you go to Isha Foundation, Sadhguru has consecrated Dhynalinga, Linga Bhairavi Devi, Yogeshwar Linga and many consecrated things are proof that there is something beyond the physical world. These are such energy spaces where when we simply enter the spaces, we start experiencing something much that is beyond physical dimensions.

Linga Bhairavi Devi

Even spiritual practices that we get initiated into by Sadhguru make us experience things that not only keep us in balance but also with time make us experience something that is beyond.