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Dopamine is also called “the pleasure neurotransmitter”. Similarly to serotonin which influences feelings of happiness and optimism, dopamine, carries a communicate to our brain that we have fun. It gives us the feeling of reward, that leads to a higher motivation and drive, as well as excitement about new ideas. Simply, serotonin brings us happiness, dopamine brings us pleasure.
How wouldn’t like that? We are the natural hedonist. We instinctively act seeking pleasure and avoid pain. What is a pleasure and what is a pain for us it’s often defined personally, but the general aim is to feel better whatever it takes?
So often when you feel unmotivated it might mean that you need to rise your dopamine levels. It’s a tricky thing, though.
Dopamine is the reason why people get addicted to drugs and other behaviors which give fast dopamine drugs. This dependency, which often evolves into addictions is called by a positive reinforcement , a conditioning to seek for behavior and situation which gave us pleasure in the past, repeat a pleasant experience.
Understanding how pleasure is being ‘made’ in our brain is important to control emotions and motivation.
The amount of any given neurotransmitter in the brain’s circuits is precisely controlled by numerous feedback mechanisms, somewhat the same way that a thermostat keeps a room around a certain temperature.
Creativity, genius, and madness – is low dopamine a common point?
It has long been estimated that highly creative people had something in common with those suffering from mental illnesses, often suffering themselves. Research from the Karolinska Institute connected this assumption to dopamine. People who are highly creative often suffer from
Scientists agreed that people who are highly creative often suffer from dopamine deficiencies in their brains. Even though they are able to produce dopamine high levels yet they miss dopamine D2 receptors in their thalamus. Because of this particular case make brains of creative people with low dopamine symptoms similar to that of a Schizophrenic, which affects the patient’s ability to filter out information. The low density of D2 receptors allows coming more information from their thalamus, and therefore see connections where less creative people cannot. It might be helpful in life, but also expose the low dopamine/high creativity type of person to misinterpret other people‘s intentions.
You can read the original study here.
Low dopamine symptoms
- Mood swings
Deficient levels of dopamine activity in the brain can cause dopamine deficient depression (DDD) is characterized by a low energy state less painful than in case of SDD serotonine deficient state, but highly demotivating to live.
Rapid weight gain especially, often paired with low energy and depression
- Inability to concentrate
- Failure to finish tasks
- Low sex drive
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
None of these symptoms is caused be low dopamine alone, but balancing your dopamine levels can improve them.
What’s more low dopamine can look very similar to low thyroxin, low level of which results in every single cell in the body being under-active. To distinguish the two problems get blood tests for both.
How increase your dopamine level naturally
Dopamine depletion can be caused by a variety of lifestyle factors and wrong diet.
Overusing exciting activities such as taking drugs, thrill-seeking sports, gambling, sex, food – all that can increase the level of dopamine. The euphoric high state after taking drugs or overeating increase levels of dopamine in the brain too fast and therefore and almost certainly involved in driving addiction to these substances at some point.
This is one of the reasons why sugar is an ingredient in most of the processed foods. Companies actually want us to get addicted to their products. It has now been scientifically proven that sugar gives some people an addictive hit of dopamine in the same way that you can get by taking drugs.
The factors influence different people in different ways, determined by our physiology. After all, your psychology influences which if any of these things you may use, you become addicted to.
Mood is a very fragile area of concern, so it’s not advisable to play with it until the natural solutions are used. Boosting dopamine in any way may induce mania in people with tendencies to bipolar behavior. Higher dopamine levels help in depressive moments but making the maniac episodes hard to manage.
Of course, it is possible to use dopamine boosting supplements (with Tyrosine and L-phenylalanine), but natural ways of increasing are much safer.
What can you do to boost your dopamine levels without medication?
1) Change your lifestyle
Eliminating these lifestyle factors can significantly help. Avoid:
- sleeping not enough
- frequent alcohol drinking
- drugs taken on regular base
- too much sugar
- too much caffeine
There are certain foods which help us to keep dopamine levels high. Why not get’ high’ on diet? Include the foods below to increase tyrosine, the building block of dopamine:
- Cottage Cheese
- Dark Leafy Vegetables
- Green Tea
Here is a dopamine, antidepressive, and immune boosting recipe:
Mix an ounce of flax seeds, coconut oil and cottage cheese. Mix it with a dash of vegetal milk and add spices such us cayenne pepper and fresh herbs ( coriander, chili) and garlic (it’s lowering cholesterol). You can use it as a sauce, kind of a form of veggie mayonnaise and add it to your favorite dishes.
3) Dopamine boosting activities
- Discover New Things
Vigorous aerobic exercise, Kundalini yoga and intensive strength-training (weight-training) are especially beneficial
- Cold shower
- Use Motivation Hacks
Motivate yourself by tested method, such as listing down your small tasks to avoid being overwhelmed.
- Listen To Music