Are you getting a proper D.O.S.E. of life’s chemicals? Probably not. These important brain chemicals are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. In our current Covid world getting these has been significantly reduced. Let’s talk about them and healthy ways you can get them flowing in your brain again.
Dopamine: I call this the reward chemical. And unfortunately lately too many of us are getting this from the little “thumbs up” button or “heart” button on social media. Don’t get me wrong I am not a social media hater it has its place and value in our lives. But you are designed for greater rewards. However since most of us are still on the bottom of Maslow Hierarchy of needs, it’s a little hard to be out there killin’ it at anything. (Thanks to Covid and the media it’s hard to feel safe) You can get this chemical from completing a task or getting recognized for an achievement. Here’s some thoughts on ways to produce some dopamine in your life.
* Set a fundraising goal. With so many charities seeing reduced funding this year this is a win/win. You will feel that huge shot of dopamine when you achieve your goal and you’ll be helping others.
*Set an exercise goal. You knew I was going to say this, right?! But, seriously what a great way to feel good emotionally and physically. You don’t have to set a goal to run a 1/2 marathon, just decide to walk one mile every day for 30 days. This is where social media can be your friend, post a picture every day and you get another little shot of dopamine when you get the thumbs up.
Oxytocin: This is our love chemical. We get this being with our tribe. This is HARD lately. We were created for gathering. You have to work within your comfort level, but it is ESSENTIAL to our total well-being to spend time with people. Zoom calls can give us a minimal amount of this chemical, however not enough.
*I know many of you have gotten creative meeting outside. I HIGHLY encourage this. Since we’re not spending money on entertainment and other things, now is the time to invest in some quality cold weather clothing. This is truly the best investment you can make right now. If you don’t know what you need head over to our local REI store. They are amazing and their return policy is unbeatable. You really can not go wrong.
Serotonin: Our happy drug 😁 We get this doing things we love ie: going to movies, concerts, dining out etc. All things we have limited access to now. Unfortunately what I see happening is many are getting their serotonin from food, alcohol and Netflix. Not all bad, but do that for the long haul and imagine how you are going to look and feel. Dig back to your child self and find simple things you found pleasure doing.
*Puzzles? Games? Reading? Walking in nature? I love games and books, if you need any suggestions, hit me up!
Again I am not saying skip the fun food and Netflix. It is important to have time to just not think. Having that food treat is OK, just not without control. Balance it with other healthier ways to spend your time.
Endorphins: There only job is to mask physical pain. As a runner I definitely know about this chemical. It’s how I get to the finish line in a race. Good news for all you exercise haters, there are other ways to release endorphins that I think your going to like.
*Get a massage: While physical activity is one of the best ways to release endorphins, lying still and letting someone else do the work can release them too.
*Eat Chocolate: Chocolate contains “mood-boosting substances” such as phenethylamine, which naturally boosts endorphins. Of course I reccomend a dark chocolate. 70% or above, but work your way up if you need to.
Bottom line is to be aware of the long term effects of not getting your D.O.S.E. of chemicals. We are all doing our part to prevent the spread of Covid. Paying attention to masking, social distancing and washing our hands. The time is NOW to start thinking about…
1. Setting some goals to achieve. Getting our dopamine
2. Spending time with people. Physically with them.
3. Finding things that give you joy. Something to look forward to everyday.
4. Eat Chocolate and Exercise