health

New Year, New You

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

7 Tips to Help Boost Your Energy, Your Mind and Your Health

We all have that time of day when we start to drag. For some people, it’s the morning. For others, the mid-afternoon. Generally, it’s when the calories consumed from breakfast or lunch are processed and your blood sugar dips, which can cause you to be sleepy or irritable. Depending on your choices, this might affect you differently since certain foods cause more extreme spikes in blood sugar, leading to a bigger crash later in the day Rely on coffee to get through the morning? Opt for a cheeseburger and fries for lunch? If so, chances are that this drop in energy will hit you pretty hard.

If you’re eating regular, healthy meals and don’t think it could be due to diet, there’s also a chance it’s due to a dopamine deficiency. The human brain has over 100 neurotransmitters, and dopamine is one. Brain MD Health calls it the ‘motivation molecule’ as it is primarily involved in attention, focus, motivation, follow-through, and the ability to experience pleasure. If you’re lacking in dopamine, there’s a chance that you may be experiencing one of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Sugar cravings
  • Low motivation

Looking at this list, you can probably see why many people turn to stimulants, like caffeine or sugar, to up their dopamine. And it works…for a few hours. However, the stimulants disrupt your body’s natural creation process for dopamine, resulting in lowered dopamine production for the long-term. You can see how it’s harmful to rely on these short-term fixes.

So how can you help your body increase natural dopamine production? Here are our top picks:

Eat Foods Rich in Tyrosine

Tyrosine is an amino acid used to synthesize proteins and eventually leads to synthesizing dopamine. Grab some snacks, such as yogurt with oats or seeds, almonds, or a banana when you feel the lull coming on. Eggs, avocados, fish, chicken, and beans also have a ton of tyrosine, so plan a taco night or add one of these to your next salad or omelet.

Sleep

Just like exercise, getting enough sleep can have massive benefits for your health. Lack of sleep results in a reduction of neurotransmitters (including dopamine) and receptors. Assess your current bedtime routine and try to determine if there is anything you could improve. Consider reducing screen time an hour before bed, not eating, drinking alcohol, or smoking at least two hours before, and taking time to do something that allows you to unwind and easily transition to sleep mode.

Boost Your Productivity and Health with These 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep to Improve Your Results

Exercise Regularly

This is pretty much the best thing you can do for your body in multiple ways. Regular workouts slow brain aging, increase new brain cell production, as well as increase dopamine levels. Figure out what time of day will work with your schedule–morning, afternoon, or evening–and start making time to get your body moving with an activity you enjoy.

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Mediate

Meditation might seem too esoteric to have an effect on how our body functions, but data shows otherwise. In addition to improved focus and concentration, it increases dopamine. You can start with some apps on your smartphone designed to slow breathing, or find actual guided meditations on YouTube or other resources. It only takes a few minutes to feel some benefits and you can do it almost anywhere.

Get a Massage

Stress creates cortisol, which is destructive to dopamine. Find ways to reduce stress and increase relaxation. Massage therapy, specifically, has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol and increase dopamine production by around 30%.

Listen to Music

Think of the last time you listened to music. Did it cause you to feel any emotional response? It’s probably not a surprise that music can make us happy, increasing dopamine levels, and by way of that increasing concentration, boosting energy, and improving mood.

Start the Year Off Right!

These suggestions don’t sound too bad, do they? Make the new year of self-care and bring a new focus to boosting energy and mental health. Pick a few of these habits and you’ll be ready to take on the year with gusto!

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