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Dopamine is a molecule in the brain and body that is closely related to our sense of purpose.Motivation. It can also increase our depth of focus and lower our threshold for taking action to achieve specific goals.. The simplest way to think about dopamine is that when we have high dopamine levels, we tend to focus our attention on external goals, the things we want, and we feel motivated to go after them. "Dopamine means wanting, not having"It isAnna Lembke, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Stanford, on the Huberman Lab Podcast (and she's 100% right). Contrast this with serotonin, which is not so much associated with "wanting" as with feelings of well-being about what we want.has already. These are generalizations, of course: dopamine and serotonin do other things too, but they are true nonetheless. It's hard to overstate how much dopamine levels shape our perception of life, our emotions, and how we perceive ourselves: when dopamine levels are low, we feel unmotivated, dislike activities, and feel physically tired. This newsletter describes how you can control dopamine levels to increase motivation.
Part I: Using Dopamine to Maintain Motivation
We have a dopamine baseline, and it can go up or down based on various actions, connections we make, or even our thoughts. Ourdopamine basalYour dopamine levels are affected by many factors, including genetics, behavior, sleep, diet, and your dopamine levels.experienced in the last few days. Maintaining adequate dopamine levels is extremely important to maintain daily motivation. We don't want the baseline to be too low or too high.
We can establish a healthy baseline dopamine level by:
- see the morning sunfor 10-30 minutes daily. (Do not wear sunglasses or look into the sun; glasses and contact lenses are acceptable.) This causes the release of dopamine. If done consistently, it will certainly increase gene expression levels as well.dopamine receptors. If desired, take a cold shower for 1 to 3 minutes, as cold as you can safely tolerate; This has been known to dramatically increase basal dopamine for hours.
- Eat foods rich in tyrosinesuch as red meat, nuts or hard fermented cheese. Tyrosine is an amino acid and a building block of dopamine – a diet rich in tyrosine supports your body's natural production of dopamine. Of course, you need to take into account the caloric and other content of these foods. It's also easy to find herbal sources. Just do a web search for them.
- Avoid melatonin supplements,as these reduce dopamine levels and can alter your dopamine levelsnormal sleep patterns. Melatonin is only recommended for jet lag. There are better ways.
- Avoid seeing bright lights between 10 p.m. m. and 4 a.m. m.. That's allbasic, as it has been shown to activate a region of the brain called the habenula anddrastically reducethe amount of circulating dopamine in your system. If you need to see the light right now, make it very dim. Once in a while is fine, but don't make it a habit. (If you work shifts or want to know how to deal with jet lag, listen to thisConsequence.)
- drink caffeine(approx. 100-400mg) in the form of coffee, tea or whatever you prefer. This will result in a slight increase in dopamine, but will also increaseavailability of dopamine receptors,So your body is more sensitive to circulating dopamine. Don't do this too close to bedtime. I avoid caffeine after 2 PM, with rare exceptions.
Part II: Dealing with dopamine spikes
"Success begets success" is true, but if you don't manage the dopamine associated with effort and your victories, over time your baseline dopamine and the dopamine you experience when reaching milestones will drop and you'll be much less happy. Everything's good. This is a common problem, but there are ways to overcome it or even avoid it entirely.
Harness the power of dopamine released upon reaching a milestone to increase ongoing motivation by:
- Use Intermittent (Random) Reward Time (RIRT). This is the strongest dopamine release program andbe motivated. Casinos use this to take people's money. It works 100% of the time. You can use RIRT to your advantage to stay motivated on any task. the key isCelebrate your wins, but don't celebrate every win. When you manage to reach a milestone, sometimes enjoy it; at other times (randomly) it goes ahead. Better yet, associate "winning" with the effort process itself. This is the holy grail of dopamine management for success. It won't make you bored or unhappy; It will make everything easier and more enjoyable without the dopamine highs and lows that people motivated by external rewards experience, and you'll get all the external rewards anyway.
- Remember that dopamine is subjective.Remember, the brain doesn't know about external rewards, it doesn't pump dopamine into your brain, it only knows the associations of events with the internal chemical release (in this case, dopamine). Don't underestimate how much your dopamine system and feeling on track are under your control.cognitive control. The prefrontal cortex (the executive control portion of your brain) is part of the dopamine pathway and provides subjective top-down control (a "belief effect’) for the levels of motivation. These are not placebos or small effects. Telling yourself that you are getting closer to your goals is a great stimulator of dopamine release, and you are in control. Of course, you can't lie to yourself and say you've won when you've lost, but as you move toward milestones, make sure you register that in your head.
- Focus.Dopamine interacts with the visual system.Dra. emily balcetis, professor of psychology at New York University (NYU), discussed on the Huberman Lab Podcast how to physically focus your visual attention on aspecific point(or "Spotlight") helps you stay focused during goal work sessions. When you focus on a specific point, a mixture of neurochemicals (dopamine, epinephrine, and others) is recruited that puts you in a state of alertness and lucid focus.
- Don't use too many sources of dopamine.. When we ingest many sources of dopamine (for example, pre-workout energy drinks, more music, more friends/social connections, more nootropics aka "smart drugs", etc.) it can increase dopamine and our energy and motivate us to work . hard to reach. But the accumulation of all these dopamine trigger sources leads to a subsequent breakdown that undermines our long-term and sustained motivation. Instead, try moving without music or just with caffeine. Change it.
- Supplement for Microspike Dopamine.There are over-the-counter compounds that greatly increase dopamine, but not enough to cause the problems associated with illegal or prescription (Rx) drugs that do the same thing. L-tyrosine (500-1000 mg) taken 30 minutes before a mental or physical workout increases focus and motivation. Some people, including myself, take 500mg of L-Tyrosine and 300mg of Alpha-GPC (which increases acetylcholine and therefore concentration) before intense training or focused cognitive work. But as mentioned in no. #4, I don't do this every day and sometimes I don't use anything. My favorite pre-workout or pre-workout supplement is 300mg alpha-GPC, 500mg phenylethylamine, and (sometimes) 500mg L-tyrosine. (When I really want to focus and it's early, I chase it down with an espresso!) The Huberman Lab Podcast is now partnered withMomentosobecause they are of excellent quality and they ship internationally (so far they do not sell phenylethylamine but hopefully soon). Note: Do not take after 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. if you intend to sleep that night. Also, if you suffer from bipolar depression or any other dopamine-sensitive condition, be very careful with these dopamine-boosting compounds. People with ADHD may need Ritalin, Adderall, or other Rx drugs prescribed by MD, but those without ADHD should only avoid these Rx drugs for the "recreational" approach; they are powerful and can lead to addiction.
By understanding and supporting your set point and dopamine spikes, you can learn to regulate your motivation for sustained, goal-directed motivation. You don't have to follow all the steps above; The list is meant to be a buffet of options. Apply all or some as needed.
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