Dopamine – Do you Drip or do you Drown?

This entry is part 5 in the series Improve Your Life, Improve Your Mind

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Welcome to the next post in the theme for the A to Z Blogging theme, Improve your Life, Improve your Mind.

Today we’re looking at a topic that I knew nothing about a couple of weeks ago! 

Dopamine. Do you Drip or do you Drown?

Part of the brain’s information highway includes chemical messengers,  called neurotransmitters. These have different functions that affect the brain and the body. I recently learned that Dopamine is one of the principle “feel good” neurotransmitters. Dopamine improves our motivation and helps us to focus.

As we get older, we lose brain cells that produce neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Protecting our brains help to encourage the neurotransmitter producers which may in turn decrease our risk of age-related memory issues which are often regarded as “normal”.

Low Dopamine Levels

lead to

  • depression
  • apathy
  • a lack of motivation
  • and may cause Parkinson’s Disease

How to increase dopamine levels. 

According to Dr. Amen, there are two ways we can do this. We can “drip” it into our systems, a little at a time. Or we can “drown” ourselves with it.

Dripping in the dopamine:

In order to help us feel motivated, happy and creative, we want to do activities throughout the day that drip dopamine into our systems. As the series continues we’ll learn more about this, but some ways we can do this is by

  • increasing our exercise (see tomorrow’s post)
  • cultivate friendships and social interaction with like-minded people
  • eat foods rich with dopamine, including turmeric, green tea, fish, lentils, chicken, eggs, broccoli etc. (More on this later under N for Nutrition.)

Drowning in dopamine:

On the other side of the spectrum there are the risks involved in drowning ourselves with dopamine. This involves activities which in themselves cause us to “feel good” initially, but because the dopamine floods into our system, we need, and also crave more. So it becomes addictive.

Examples of ways we can drown ourselves in dopamine are

  • drinking alcohol
  • doing cocaine or other mind-altering drugs
  • participating in extreme sports (the greater the thrill, the greater the adrenaline rush, and the more the desire for more!)
  • playing some video games, especially such games that involve mass murders and violent action in a short space of time.
  • enjoying a high sugar burst. This is no surprise to parents of young children. We talk about a “Sugar High” – but it is actually an overload of dopamine. 
  • gambling

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38 comments on “Dopamine – Do you Drip or do you Drown?

  1. Thank you for visiting my blog Shirley.
    Really enjoyed reading this post. At a school conference I’d attended a couple of years ago, the speaker made a passionate case for daily doses of dopamine in the form of exercise etc. to tackle anxiety and depression in teenagers.
    I love gardening and my glass of red on the weekends:)
    E is for Expresso

  2. Nice to meet you, Shirley, I am returning your visit (you came to see me in Denver 🙂

    Very interesting facts about the dopamine. I am more of a dripper with the occasional glass of wine and piece of cake.

  3. Hmmm… I do tend to get depressed, especially during the winter. The best thing that I can do for me is to take a walk or dance or do zumba. In the warmer weather, when I’m working on people’s gardens, my mood is definitely better and my mind works better, too.

  4. I have always suffered from depression, that neurological imbalance has always been a swaying scale for me. I did drown it for a long time having grown exhausted of dripping.

    Now I am a function dripper…some days it is exhausting, but the next day often starts with a fresh slate so I try to let it go and not grow overwhelmed.

  5. This is fascinating about the link between extreme sports and dopamine – perhaps, then, those individuals who like to “live dangerously” are trying to self medicate possibly natural levels of dopamine. In a way, it’s a good alternative to drugs but on the other hand, may be just as deadly.

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