Addiction is all the rage these days; everyone seems to have some sort of unhealthy obsession. The popular Canadian physician and author Gabor Maté believes it comes down to trying to fill the void of childhood trauma, but I have recently read a wonderful book, Dopamine Nation by American psychologist Anna Lembke, who points to our very natural craving for pleasure, except the more of it we seek, the less potent it becomes. Our brains simply can’t be in a pleasured state for too long before homeostasis requires the seesaw to return to equilibrium, and that means to feel good, we need to regularly feel not so good. 

I know exactly what she is talking about. The day after a big concert, I invariably fall into a dark mood precisely because the dopamine hit of performance, music, applause and human energy is all too much, and I have to seesaw back to neutrality. 

Photo © Unsplash/Adrian Swancar

In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Rosalind says, “Why then, can one desire too much of a good...