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“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional response, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.” – Psychology Today
There are several articles found on the web that tell you about dopamine and how it affects your moods, behaviours, energy and focus.
However, what is not commonly spoken about, is how dopamine is influenced by your own perception.
In addition, something which is discussed more rarely is the reason why your dopamine levels may be low in the first place.
Consequently, we at Step Away Rehabilitation Centre decided to compile an article, giving you 6 ways to increase your dopamine levels.
Addiction is often the result of low dopamine levels, meaning addiction is often an attempt to correct an already existing issue.
Essentially, an addictive personality is a lack of fulfilment from within, resulting in the urge to try achieve self-fulfilment through substance abuse or material objects that relieve the inevitable pain, for a while at least.
Dopamine is released in our brains every time we receive a reward of any kind. Gradually, the release of dopamine and the reward attached to it lead to learning.
Studies have found that the rate at which we learn and permanently retain information is directly related to the levels of dopamine we have available in our brains.
As we are repeatedly rewarded for something, we learn that we should carry on doing whatever it is we are being rewarded for, and unfortunately, it is very hard to unlearn those kinds of behaviours.
Basically, low-dopamine levels are a response to your lifestyle which may not be offering much in terms of reward.
This means low dopamine levels may be a response to the environment you choose to surround yourself with, the relationships you have made, your low income, or a result of past trauma where there was no perceived reward.
When you look at it this way, it’s a lot easier to understand how dopamine levels may be low after considering all the potential factors leading to less-rewarding lifestyles and life-experiences.
Therefore, we need to change our approach from “don’t get addicted” to “increase the real rewards in your life”. The truth is, you will constantly feel less satisfied through low dopamine when you’re not able to fill your day with things that inspire or reward you.
Thus, making the most effective protection against addiction and the greatest advantage to high-dopamine levels, a defence against low-rewarding behaviours and activities. Additionally, we need to start pursuing more rewarding actions and activities, ultimately achieving a lifestyle of fulfilment.
In addition, since addiction is often ingrained in past traumatic experiences, where your emotions create a flight or fight response that then becomes entrenched in your core emotions, it is extremely important to seek effective help in resolving past traumas.
By doing so, it will help you to recognise more rewarding experiences in your life, rather than sifting experiences through a ‘traumatised’ perception.
Research shows that dopamine levels increase when our lives are organised and when we complete the tasks we give ourselves – regardless of how big or small the task is.
Therefore, instead of worrying about tasks, write them down and check them off one at a time. The checklist method has been proven to be more satisfying to the brain and dopamine levels.
Being creative is an effective way to increase your dopamine levels and your potential for feeling great, achieving goals and inspiring yourself through accomplishing tasks.
Food is a meant to be a reward, and not a chore.
Tyrosine is one of the crucial building blocks of dopamine. Therefore, it’s extremely important to add as much of this protein to your diet as possible.
Here’s a list of a few foods that will help increase your Tyrosine intake:
However, few foods and their nutrients make it past the blood-brain barrier, including Tyrosine.
Tyrosine is one of the 22 key amino acids that are used for building proteins around the body.
Additionally, it also increases the levels of certain neurotransmitters in your brain, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are your ‘feel good’ chemicals, and can help boost your mood and elevate concentration, making tyrosine a popular nootropic.
However, tyrosine is entirely incapable of passing the blood-brain barrier (BBB). And because of this, no matter how much of it you were to take, you’d feel almost none of the beneficial effects.
On the other hand, when tyrosine enters the body through natural digestion, it regulates healthy bodily function.
Additionally, it assists your brain in having to work less on fixing an unhealthy system, which in turn helps increase the potential for dopamine and, of course, dopamine related good feelings.
Humans are famous for over-thinking.
However, overthinking is not just a distracting habit, it’s also a genuine compulsion that often leaves us confused, while also having a damaging effect on our spiritual development.
Meditation is a highly effective method you can use to increase your dopamine, as it can help you declutter your mind and the various mental influences, which often lead to a lowered morale and everyday life enjoyment.
It can help you to reach a state of self-fulfilment, replacing your worries with presence and an appreciation for life.
Whenever we feel down or unfulfilled, we tend to over-indulge in sugary, not so good for us foods, as an attempt to temporarily fulfil ourselves.
However, if you can find fulfilment through the challenge and completion of tasks during your day, you’re far more likely to eat for the tasks at hand, than eating just to feel good.
What we eat and how fulfilled we feel in life, are directly linked. Cut out processed, sugary foods.
If you are enjoying life and the challenges it presents, you are far more likely to consume foods that serve your main interests and health, simply because you understand and see reason to do so.
Regulating how and what you eat is extremely important to achieving a sound, stable mental state.
Choosing the natural route can be difficult, but by implementing the above-mentioned suggestions into your life, you will start to see the benefits.
It’s also important to always be aware of your perception of things occurring in your life. When we take control of our perception, we take control of our life and the factors we allow to influence it.
Step Away, offers holistic addiction treatment, one where we treat the mind, body and spirit.
For more information about our rehabilitation centre, please contact us.
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