Effective strategies to manage dopamine

Dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter synthesized by neurons and the medulla of adrenal glands on account of a sense of achievement by receiving expected or surprise rewards. It controls many functions of our body including pleasurable reward, movement, memory, lactation, attention, sleep regulation, nausea, motivation, and arousal. The intermittent wave of dopamine facilitates our body to feel good and pleasurable. However, very high and low waves of dopamine are associated with many mental and neurological disorders. There are many positive and negative well-known ways to increase the level of dopamine to feel good. Whereas, the neurons do not understand negative and positive ways of triggering dopamine synthesis. Hence it is important to understand the positive and effective strategies to manage dopamine for the well-being of yourself and society. Since the negative way of triggering dopamine synthesis can harm due to its addictive nature.

According to B.F. Skinner’s experiments, anyone can get addicted to anything if expected rewards are given and can be more addicted if rewards are intermittent or surprising. The addiction can further increase if the rewards are pain healers. For example, if alcohol is used as a pain killer, then the probability of getting addicted to alcohol will be very high as compared to other consumptions. The following are the most effective strategies to manage dopamine levels and their guidelines to act on it.

1. The positive sense of achievement

Think about the sense of achievement and decide right or wrong. If you think it is wrong but giving high shorts of dopamine may create problems in the longer range. So it is better to discontinue as soon as possible and shift to a positive sense of achievement. For example, if find a sense of achievement by insulting someone that might give you an intermittent quasi-stable dopamine wave, but remember it will be temporary and can not last long. On the other hand, if you find a sense of achievement by praising someone or/and someone praise you, will provide a stable and longer dopamine wave which will be highly pleasurable in both conditions.

2. Pain and pleasure

What is pain, and what is a pleasure for you, depends on how you define the activities in your brain. For example, if you have the option to watch a movie or read a book. What will you prefer? The answer will depend on how you have defined movies and books in your brain, which differs from person to person. Let’s understand a condition where watching movies is more pleasurable than reading a book. In this case, watching movies is triggering neurons to synthesize dopamine to feel pleasurable. Now the question is how do we balance the activities in life where all the activities are not equally interesting? In that case, arranged all your task according to your interest and start with the least interesting and then with more pleasurable activities of the day.

3. Minimize games/gambling and social media

Sense of achievement through games, gambling, and social media is very easy to achieve with minimum effort. This false achievement provides intermittent shorts of dopamine wave that gives happiness temporarily. However, this happiness does not last long due to manipulative and imaginary events. For example, if you receive likes on your post and comments that do not actually mean likes and dislikes since people are highly manipulative in social media than their actual feelings to show off the world.

Effective strategies to manage dopamine
Depression due to excess games/gambling and social media

On another side, most video games are programmed to provide an intermittent sense of achievement to get easily addicted to their further games and services to earn money. In this process, you waste your time, efforts, and energy on false achievement which does not improve your skills for the life. Gambling is even worst for the dopamine shorts. This is highly addictive and spoils the rest of the essential duties to achieve the targeted goal. Hence minimum use of games, gambling, and social media is one of the most effective strategies to manage dopamine.

4. Reduce addictive sexual activities

The sexual act has a very high potential to trigger the synthesis of dopamine which provide pleasure and pain healing. However, some unnatural sexual acts such as pornography, masturbation, and sex with multiple partners are addictive in nature and can disturb your social and cultural importance. Therefore, sex with the mutual consent of partners is important to feel a high sense of achievement through high dosages of dopamine which ultimately provide pleasure and relaxation.

5. Reduce the consumption of addictive beverages

Consumption of alcohol, cigarette, tea, and coffee can trigger the synthesis of dopamine to feel pleasurable for a moment. However, regular consumption is not suitable for the well beings since these are addictive and unhealthy ways of managing dopamine. Hence the minimization of alcohol, smoking, tea, and coffee consumption could be one of the positive and effective strategies to manage dopamine levels.

6. No cheating and no excuses

Many times we cheat someone and give excuses for not doing or achieving the targeted goal to feel happy. If your target is to harm someone and manage to do so, by any means will trigger dopamine synthesis since your targeted goal is complete. But remember, this is a negative way of managing dopamine and feeling happy. It is very important to note that thinking negatively about others will also create negative psychological conditions in your life. The excuses for not performing the task are another negative way of feeling happy without effort. These activities can not provide happiness in your life as a whole since it is temporary and restrict your social achievements.

7. Shopping as per the actual requirement

Many people tend to do excess shopping to feel happy in their life. But this can rigorously impact your budget and environment. Remember, every resource has its limit and can not provide happiness beyond your requirements. In fact, it becomes a burden for you to manage or discard if it is excess. For example, if you purchase a gadget as per its utility then it can provide a positive sense of achievement. However, if you purchase without understanding the utility and your requirement it turns out to be junk for you and you will be searching for another gadget to manage the older one and so on. Hence do not engage yourself in excess shopping just for dopamine synthesis in your body.

Remember, excessive shopping beyond the actual requirement will not provide permanent happiness in your life. Hence, minimizing excessive shopping is one of the important and effective strategies to manage dopamine.

8. Regular meditation and exercises

Meditation and exercises have been well reported for the healthy management of your psychological and biological condition. The dopamine synthesis can be enhanced using regular meditation and exercises. If you set a goal to achieve a healthy life and achieving the same can provide a positive sense of achievement. This achievement can trigger the synthesis of dopamine in your brain and you will feel to do more and more to maintain your well-being. Therefore, regular exercise and meditation have the potential to manage dopamine levels effectively.

Effective strategies to manage dopamine
High level of dopamine with meditation and exercises

9. Optimum sunlight exposure

Sunlight plays an important role in our daily life by controlling various biochemical processes including dopamine levels. For proper dopamine levels, every day we need a certain level of sunlight exposure. If you feel depressed you should go out and get exposure to sunlight. This can minimize the level of depression by triggering the synthesis of dopamine level. However, excessive sunlight exposure will suppress the synthesis of dopamine levels. Therefore, optimum sunlight exposure is required to maintain a healthy level of dopamine in your body. The optimum sunlight exposure depends on many factors including age, health, seasons, and geographical location. For example, 10-15 minutes of exposure to sunlight in the morning for an average normal adult in India is enough for a healthy dopamine level.

10. Positive self-talk

Appreciate your quality and potential to feel special. Remember, every individual has some specialty and goodness given by god. To maintain the dopamine level we should always consider the quality which we have within ourselves. It has been noted that many people don’t know their capabilities and potential. Because of that, they feel depressed by comparing themselves with others. To maintain a healthy level of dopamine you should not compare yourself with anyone else since everyone is different and special. Therefore, internal motivation is essential rather than external motivation for your life to maintain a healthy well-being. Remember, your capabilities and potential can be boost-up by appreciation and acknowledgment. At the same time if you appreciate someone it will create positive psychological conditions.

11. Avoid emotional eating

Many foods and beverages are consumed just because of emotional connection and not as per the requirement. Due to emotional connection, it triggers the synthesis of dopamine in our body which continues further till we get other options. So we eat and re-peat to feel pleasure because of dopamine waves. However, this feeling will be for a short time only, since excess consumption of food and beverages has a negative correlation with mental and physical health. Therefore, the diet should be balanced and monitored by yourself to manage the dopamine level effectively.

12. Set your reasonable goal

Every day you should have your plan of action and goal to achieve. Remember, if you achieve the set goal you will feel a sense of achievement, and dopamine synthesis will trigger. Therefore, set your daily reasonable and achievable objectives (tasks) to meet your overall/longer goals. Setting reasonable goals is not so easy but it is achievable with experience and time. Sometimes we fail to achieve the set goal and feel depressed due to low dopamine. In that case, we should move to other positive activities which easily trigger the dopamine level. Remember, if you will be in depression then your dopamine level will go down further and you will not be able to set the goal for tomorrow.

Hence, it is important to have smaller several objectives (tasks) to achieve the bigger goal to maintain the dopamine level effectively. In addition, positive high dopamine activities could be important to balance physical and mental health.

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