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It’s time we talk about dopamine and in case you don’t know we have a big problem on our hands.

Canada recently legalized pot, which might not make it any easier for those who are already most vulnerable, and without any doubt cocaine and ecstasy will continue flooding all urban centres as freely as they did before. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Doctors too have perhaps slowed down a touch but still continue to proscribe many happy pills, mother’s little helper, and the liquor board of Ontario keeps promoting and increasing the sale and distribution of all their products because after all, it is a business after all. Everyone has the right to feed their family.

And all of this pales in comparison to the compounded sugar addictions that are spreading far and wide and every where. The worse it is for you, the cheaper it is, and far more available than anything else.

Ok. Mini rant is over, but it’s important to assess the field of battle because otherwise how is one to know who or what to fight. There is much to fight and it is very possible to win. It’s a matter of habit. It’s a matter of choosing the right sources of dopamine to run our lives.

You body is quite capable of producing dopamine on its own. It likes to do so. It feels fucking great, except that it always takes the easiest course of action. So if you let it, and produce dopamine for your body, it will gladly let you drive.

So how do you get back to feeling good naturally?

Here are some things for you to try on your way to live a happy, healthy life.

One, get some sleep. Don’t spend your day in front of any screen, and certainly never spend the last few hours scrolling your phone for gossip or rumours. Without sleep you tire your body and limit it’s ability to produce dopamine. You starve it. Beat it to submission, and then you wonder why it wants a cookie, a coffee, and shot of whiskey.

Two, eat some protein. I know kale is the latest rage, but fish, beans, almonds and most meat is rich in tyrosine and tyrosine is needed to make your dopamine fresh and on demand.

Three, get some exercise. Not only will you feel great, perhaps build some nice quads and a desirable posterior, but you’ll decrease your level of cortisol. Cortisol is your body’s way of dealing with stress and when it is dealing with stress, it is not dealing with making you happy. So free it, to do what it should be doing in the first place.

Four, pray or meditate. It has been shown that meditation and prayer helps you to focus and increases your dopamine levels, which leads to number five.

Five, listen to audiobooks, read good books, and spend your day talking to positive people. Yes. It’s not just something you should do when you have time. Listening to optimistic, hopeful ideas, actually, physically, no bullshit, increases your dopamine levels and makes you happy. Is it any wonder you drag your feet listening to constant doom and gloom on television and engaging your friends in meaningless gossip?

I could go on, but I won’t. I think Sleep, protein, exercise, prayer or meditation, not to mention good brain food is enough for you to get started.

Remember that your happiness is inside of you, and not just in some kind of mystical, fairly dust like way. Your happiness, through the release of dopamine is available to you everyday, and it is up to you if you tap into it or not.

You can reach for a bottle of wine, or your fifth cup of coffee, or binge on that bag of chips, and order a pizza, or you could do something else. Something else that will make you feel unbelievably good. So good, in fact, that everyone else will think you’re crazy.

 

Cover photo generously provided by photographer Justin Aikin via unsplash.com