It’s no surprise that changing up and down through levels can bring with it low motivation, often we find it hard to realign or adapt and getting out of this rut can be challenging. It's an especially important message this week, but I've spoken to a massive amount of my clients over the last little while about how to naturally finding your way back to a better place. Motivation is key to remaining productive - being focused, achieving and accomplishing tasks in our daily lives.
How do you know if you are lacking in motivation?
Did you answer 'yes' to one or more to the above statements? Then let me introduce you to a key player - dopamine. Dopamine lives within our brain as a messenger (neurotransmitter) and it is also a 'happy hormone'.
When we have low levels of this hormone, we can feel fatigued, lack empathy, unfocused, forgetful, moody, you can’t concentrate, you can’t sleep, crave sugar and of course, become low in motivation. Sounds familiar?
The go-getters of life, look for ways to get that dopamine fix, which can bring a ton of unhealthy choices - smoking, caffeine, sugary and fatty foods. Eventually, these addictive behaviours make us even more deficient in our natural levels of dopamine - especially in the long term.
So, if you have identified with some of these symptoms or are a go-getter, what can you do to naturally boost your dopamine levels?
1. Eat foods rich in Tyrosine. In order to make dopamine, your body needs tyrosine which can be found in almonds, bananas, avocados, eggs, beans, fish, and chicken. If you don't eat these foods you can also seek out a supplement from your local pharmacy.
2. Exercise regularly. In general, physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain. It increases the production of new brain cells, slows down brain cell aging, can increase your levels of dopamine. Exercise has also been associated with improved mood and overall a better outlook on life.
3. Learn to meditate. The overall health benefits of meditation have been demonstrated through hundreds of research studies. Many of those have shown that meditation increases dopamine leading to improved focus and concentration. Even if you’re new to meditation, there are many helpful guided meditations for beginners to help you get started.
4. Get a massage. It has long been suggested that one way to keep dopamine levels high is to avoid stress, which is nearly impossible in this day and age. To counter the effects of stress, research has demonstrated that massage therapy increases dopamine levels by nearly 30% while decreasing cortisol (a stress hormone) levels.
5. Sleep. To ensure that your brain increases dopamine naturally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. This includes setting aside time before bed away from the computer or TV screen. Sleep helps all the cells in the body repair and renew. It gives the brain a chance to wash away toxins that build up during the day and helps keep the nerve cell connections and pathways active and constantly self-renewing. Lack of sleep has been shown to reduce concentrations of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, and their receptors.
6. Listen to music. It is no surprise that listening to calming music can increase pleasurable feelings, improve mood, reduce stress, and help with focus and concentration. Research has demonstrated that much of this is achieved due to an increase in dopamine levels.