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Do you lack motivation, feel tired all the time, have mood swings and an addictive behaviour? You could be dopamine deficient.

Dopamine is a chemical naturally created in your brain helping you feel good and confident within yourself. Things like eating and having sex (the two favourites amongst people) gives you a rush of dopamine. However, being dopamine deficient, can leave you feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day, making you feel cold and isolated in life, like you are constantly on the sidelines watching life go by and you are merely an observer.

♥ How amazing would it be if you could feel good for no reason without hopelessly indulging in mindless activities? ♥ 

There are prescription drugs (and illegal drugs) that will temporarily increase your dopamine levels, however that is treating the symptom, not the cause. I personally wouldn’t recommend any form of drug for anything, I am a firm believer in attempting to solve a health issue naturally before taking a pharmaceutical (or illegal) drug.

The fact is that the body we have right now is not the body we had one year ago.
Our stomach recycles every 5 days.
Our skeleton recycles every 3 months.
Even the DNA which stores memories of millions of years of evolutionary time – the actual raw material of our DNA changes every 6 weeks.
So, you do in fact reinvent your body once a year.
But, you reinvent it the same way over and over again. It retains the same patterns; it has the same illnesses; it has the same problems.
Deepak Chopra

7 ways to increase your dopamine levels naturally:

 

Decrease your sugar intake.

We all know that sugar alters the chemicals in your brain, disrupting your dopamine levels, which gives you that “sugar high”. Therefore, limiting the amount of sugar you consume per day will have great benefits. The more we feed our sugar addiction, the more we make the problem worse. It may feel uncomfortable at first, the cravings may prove difficult but it is not impossible.

There are plenty of natural sugar substitutes out there, such as, honey, stevia and agave syrup.

stencil-blog-post-image-54Decrease your caffeine intake.

Although caffeine does give you the shot of energy, it is only a temporary fix. Your dopamine levels have been hijacked, quickly decreasing the levels in your brain. How long after drinking that cup of coffee or drinking that coca cola does your energy crash? How much caffeine do you need to drink per day just to feel normal? Not many people are aware but tea does in fact have caffeine in it.

So instead of giving up your morning cup of tea or coffee, opt for decaf.

Consume dopamine boosting food and drinks that are high in tyrosine.

My top 10 are:

  • Dark chocolate (currently a personal fave)
  • Bananas
  • Almonds
  • Animal products
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Green tea
  • Oatmeal
  • Spirulina
  • Strawberries and blueberries

There are plenty more but these are the ones that I currently eat.

Boost your dopamine levels with regular exercise.

Ever noticed after a workout or any physical exercise you just feel good for no reason? That’s because you have upped your endorphin levels, making you feel positive and upbeat.

Get plenty of sleep.

Insomnia or simply lack of sleep affects anyone’s brain chemicals and cognitive functions. We feel lethargic and completing the most basic task can feel like you’ve been asked to perform brain surgery.

So depending on your age, getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night may transform your life.

 

Age Hours Needed (average)
Newborns (0-3 months) 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months) 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years) 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5) 10-13 hours
School age children (6-13) 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17) 8-10 hours
Younger adults (18-25) 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64) 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+) 7-8 hours

Recommended by The Sleep Foundation

 

stencil-blog-post-image-58

Manage your stress levels.

We all experience stress at some point in our life, I don’t believe I have met a single person who hasn’t had some form of stress. Stress isn’t an illness, however, if not addressed it can cause many serious illnesses, therefore it is vital that we have coping mechanisms in place for when stressful situations occur.

Many people (including myself at times) indulge in dysfunctional coping strategies such as overeating, drinking alcohol or smoking, however all they are doing, is making themselves feel better in the moment and delaying any present emotional pain or discomfort.

Therefore, having healthy stress coping methods could literally save your life. These could be things like yoga, journaling, meditation, singing, dancing or running.

Create a daily routine.

One of the easiest ways to increase our dopamine levels is to create a daily routine. For example, get up, meditate and exercise at the same times each day. We all have 24 hours in each day and we need to prioritise what is important, self-care definitely needs to be high on the list.

 

I feel doing a lot of littles, will make the huge difference. So, don’t just go ‘all in’ on one of the above methods, there needs to be a balance. The reason why you are deficient in the first place maybe because you have lost your balance and have neglected to take care of yourself.

 

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