The Dopamine Highway

Email address added......
Button clicked......
Dopamine hit achieved.......
This wasn't another free training, this was the one! The new edge I needed. I rearranged my meetings, buckled up and waited for the presentation to start. The screen flashed, the presentation started...... 5 minutes in after enjoying my self induced trance, I shut my computer and went on with the rest of my day.
I was as disappointed as you are now, so what happened?

The dopamine was missing!

'Follow the dopamine'
'Its the dopamine'
'The dopamine effect'
'Cheap dopamine'

The last few months it seems I can relay everything back to dopamine. If only I had realised this so much sooner!

  • Communication
  • Accountability
  • Distraction
  • Goal setting
  • Anxiety
  • Stress  
  • Fitness
  • Nutrition

You name it and I will link it back..........

Why is this important? It depends if you want to break free from the self imposed hamster wheel?

'We are all, of a sort, engaged with our own masturbation machines' - Anna Lembke

We are out of balance, out of touch living in environments built for pleasure and convenience. Its time to rebalance the scales.

What is dopamine?

Simply put dopamine is a neurotransmitter.......

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that functions as a chemical messenger in the brain, transmitting signals between nerve cells. Its role is crucial in various brain functions, including motivation, pleasure, reward, movement, and attention. When dopamine is released in the brain, it binds to specific receptors on the surface of neurons, leading to the required chain reactions. This can include a sense of reward and satisfaction, which can occur when engaging in pleasurable activities. Dopamine is a fascinating and essential chemical that help us experience pleasure and rewards, regulate our mood, and keep our bodies functioning.

Pleasure and Pain

The image of balance with pleasure and pain has really helped me, this isn't something new just something we are progressively losing touch of. This balance is being disrupted for most and for some always tilted in the wrong direction. The human brain is working to keep us in balance. It operates via a self-regulating process called homeostasis, which means that for every high, there's a low. It's like a see-saw that's always trying to maintain equilibrium.

Our brains are actually hardwired for this kind of balance. Whenever we experience pain or discomfort, our brains flood us with pleasure in an attempt to reset us. So that painful cold shower or hard workout? Your brain is actually trying to bring you back into balance by releasing pleasing neurochemicals. This dynamic works both ways. Too much pleasure can tip the see-saw to the other side - to pain. It's like running up a "pain debt" that will eventually come due.

'We treat the body rigorously so it will not be disobedient to the mind' - Seneca

Cheap dopamine  

The issue is today most of us live day to day on cheap dopamine unconsciously incompetent. Ignorance is bliss? Everyone does it?

You are not reading this because you want to be average, or another statistic in the latest science journals.
'The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation' - Anna Lembke

Read that again, the smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, a blessing and a curse all wrapped up in the palm of your hand. Limiting the attachment to your phone could give you back at least 1 hour a day. That's 365 hours / 15 days or over 2 weeks extra a year. That's based on 1 less hour wasted each day with mindless scrolling. Imagine for most what happens when we knock off 3 hours a day of doing dumb sh*t!  

It's not just you, recently I was telling a few people about the relaunching of my coaching and hypnotherapy business. I was excited, ready to start a new chapter in my life and really do what I love.

It's good to share right?

According to psychologists, telling others about your plans and getting their approval may release dopamine in your brain, even before you take action. This can create a false sense of accomplishment and make it harder to follow through on your plans. The solution? Keep your plans more private. By holding off on sharing your goals with others, you delay the release of dopamine until you actually complete the task.

This can help you build a more genuine sense of accomplishment and increase your motivation to keep achieving your goals. Like I said the link to dopamine is everywhere! So I decided to go quiet, I made myself accountable to not discuss the launch until it was done.

Dopamine can be a subtle or explosive drug, exploited to keep you where they want you, stuck at 50 %, never reaching your full potential.

Feelin’ good, feelin’ good, all the money in the world spent on feelin’ good. —Levon Helm

Time to stop being average

Dopamine is not all bad, it's all about the balance. We need to desensitise from the overload of cheap dopamine and detox back to a equilibrium.

How to stop being average?

Dopamine manipulators

You don't know what you don't know

If you admit it, you already know what to do! If like me it's not the knowing it's the accountability.......... watch your emails.

I will run over a few key dopamine manipulators

By making small changes in daily habits, we can significantly improve our lives and achieve our goals. While this list is not exhaustive, the following suggestions can bring a drastic change in your life and goal outcomes.

  • Phones: Aka the cheapest source of dopamine. Try limiting phone use to specific times of the day and avoid using your phone for emails unless necessary.
  • Social media: Limit social media use to certain times of the day, and consider using app blockers like Opal to help you stick to this. Start to pay more interest to your real life, be present!
  • TV: Consider reducing the amount of time spent watching TV or choose to watch shows that add value to your life.
  • Media: Be mindful of the types of media you consume, and consider limiting exposure to negative news or social media content.
  • Porn: Studies show that excessive porn consumption can lead to addiction and negative impacts on mental health and relationships.
  • Alcohol: A widely accepted and commonly consumed substance that can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure and relaxation. However, excessive alcohol (or any) consumption can have severe negative impacts on physical and mental health and can lead to addiction.
  • Caffeine: another commonly used substance that can increase dopamine levels in the brain, leading to feelings of alertness and focus. However, excessive caffeine consumption can cause anxiety and other adverse health effects. It's important to monitor your caffeine intake and limit it to moderate levels.
  • Drugs: whether legal or illegal, can significantly affect dopamine levels in the brain and lead to addiction and other negative consequences. It's essential to understand the risks associated with drug use and seek help if you're struggling with addiction.

Our focus determines our reality

How do we use this to our advantage

Now all you need to do is not do what the average do, 1 % more each today. This shouldn't be a hard task, a few small changes today to impact the rest of your life. You need grit, determination, a clear goal, accountability and determination.

Focus on upgrading your state with:-

  • Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep can disrupt the balance of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to decreased cognitive function and mood disorders. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to maintain healthy dopamine levels.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost dopamine levels naturally. Exercise releases endorphins and triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure and reward. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day, such as jogging, HIIT, or cycling, to reap the benefits of increased dopamine.
  • Nutrition: A healthy diet rich in whole foods can help regulate dopamine levels in the brain. Foods rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates can help boost dopamine levels and improve mood and cognitive function.
  • Nature: Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on the mind and body and increase dopamine levels. Even a short walk in a natural setting can help boost mood and reduce stress.
  • Meaningful relationships: Positive social interactions and meaningful relationships can increase dopamine levels in the brain. Spend time with friends and loved ones, and engage in activities that bring joy and fulfilment. Limit interactions with people that you know drag you down.
  • Music: Listening to music can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure and reward. Choose music that you enjoy and that makes you feel good, and make time to listen to it regularly.
  • Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help regulate dopamine levels in the brain and improve overall well-being. Mindfulness practices can help increase feelings of calm and reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a more balanced and positive relationship with dopamine.
  • Spirituality: This can also play a significant role in improving your relationship with dopamine and upgrading your state. Spirituality involves connecting with something greater than yourself, whether it's a higher power, nature, or the universe

You can improve your relationship with dopamine and upgrade your state with a few meaningful shifts, leading to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

Concentrate on the happiness of pursuit

I often wonder why so many people do things they know are stopping them from becoming the person they want to be. If we look closely, we are all lost, trying to find our way whilst fitting within society's imposed structures. I have always been scared of not living up to my full potential and will continue to look for ways to upgrade my state and hack back the attention I fight to keep hold of.

So, the next time you're indulging in all those dopamine hits, remember that there's a price to pay. It's important to maintain balance and avoid going too far in one direction. Your brain is always trying to keep you in check - so listen to it!

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