How to naturally increase your dopamine levels.

Our hormones have a big impact on our emotional state, causing both good and bad mood patterns.

Regulating your hormones significantly improves and balances your emotional health.

There are a lot of things that you are doing throughout the day that have an affect on your hormones. Without you even realising.

Dopamine is a hormone that has a massive effect on us. It’s the chemical messenger in your brain that creates feelings of pleasure and reward. Which motivates you to repeat a specific behaviour.

And modern day temptations are very effective at giving us cheap dopamine hits. They are designed to elicit this ‘feel good’ sensation. It’s at the crux of their design and marketing.

Junk food, Porn, Social media, Booze, Nicotine. All elicit these cheap dopamine hits. And these temporary feel goods are very effective.

They target your weakness and keep you coming back for more.

Alcohol for confidence.

Nicotine anxiety.

Social media for boredom.

Junk food for lethargy.

Porn for arousal.

These acute ‘feel goods’ are so common yet so dangerous. Because use of these cheap dopamine hits results in;

Excessive binge eating,

Poor relationships,

Chronic stress,

High blood pressure,

and poor health.

These cheap dopamine hits are killing you!

And without without discipline, it can be very hard to turn down these temptations because they are so effective and immediate. They offer instant gratification to a problem.

And when you start to depend on them, it’s harder to rid yourself of them.

So rather than going cold turkey – which is incredibly hard. Replace them with natural things that you natural dopamine hits.

Swapping them, so your brain doesn’t really notice.

Imagine yourself as Indiana Jones, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, in the tomb swapping that Golden Idol for a bag of sand.

(but much easier and without the tomb kicking off and trying to kill you).

Here are some easy ways to do that!

Eat a high protein diet.

Proteins are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. One amino acid, called tyrosine, plays a critical role in the production of dopamine!

Probiotics

The gut and brain are closely linked. Certain species of bacteria that live in your gut are also capable of producing dopamine.

Exercise

Exercise can boost dopamine levels in the brain. Improvements in mood can be seen after as little as 10 minutes of activity but tend to be highest after at least 20 minutes.

Quality sleep

After poor sleep the availability of dopamine receptors in their brains is dramatically reduced by the next morning.

Getting regular, high quality sleep helps keep your dopamine levels balanced. And help you feel more alert and high functioning during the day

Music

Listening to music is an enjoyable way to stimulate dopamine release in your brain.

Listening to music increases activity in the reward and pleasure areas of the brain, rich with dopamine receptors.

Sunlight

Periods of low sunshine exposure can lead to reduced levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Including dopamine. Sunlight exposure can increase them.

Start swapping the unnatural for the natural and I promise you’ll start to feel better.

How to set a fitness goal

Many people get this wrong. So I’m going to share with you some tips with regards setting fitness goals. That will ensure that you stay on track to achieve your goals.

Every sporting event/physical pursuit I have undertaken, be it a marathons, power lifting, bodybuilding, open swimming or this year mountaineering.

I know it is going to be a challenge.

When I book it in there is always an element of doubt, a fear of failure.

The knowing that I’m going to be bad at it to start off with.

And that’s the reason I do it.

You see I’m not expecting it to be easy.

I’m expecting it to be hard.

But I know that having this event this will put a little bit of pressure on myself.

I know I have a deadline to work towards.

I know this will up the ante with my training and preparation.

That it will give me focus and clarity. I’ll be applying my efforts intentionally, specifically towards a task.

And that’s when I’m at my happiest. When I’m working on something, building something.

It could be my fitness, my business, relationships.

And in the pursuit of said thing and seeing improvement along the way is my Nirvana.

How to stay consistent with exercise and diet.

This is the most common problem I encounter. ‘How can I stay consistent’ along with ‘how do I stay motivated?’.

It’s not that you don’t have the energy.

It’s that you don’t have the clarity!

It’s vital to have clarity with what you’re working towards. Because it’s going to be stressful if you are arbitrarily doing it, knowing it’s not for you or wishing you were doing something else.

Give yourself something to work towards. An event, a reason for your training. A carrot at the end of the stick!

BTW, this is on top of knowing your why. As I’ve mentioned before it’s important to know your why, your core driver. The underlying motivation (mine being my children and setting an example for them).

And I implore you to find your why for getting fitter, stronger healthier and happier.

Once you know that the next step is to direct it.

Meaningless exercise or dieting, things that you don’t enjoy will seldom last.

But if you put in place something to work towards that will give you focus and clarity. Then you’ll find the work easier.

Having a goal in place, or a milestone (whatever sporting pursuit/activity it is) is super powerful.

It will give you focus plus an all important deadline. Without a deadline you’ll never push yourself to execute said task.

Every year I’ve put in place a pursuit/event. A marathon. A weight lifting comp. A bodybuilding competition. A mountaineering expedition.

This gives me direction and clarity. This means my training never seems Sisyphean. Because I know that I’m working towards something.

Once you know your why and you give yourself a goal. You’ll have that clarity.

Then you’ll be unstoppable.

Ignorance is bliss

This week my wife surprised me with a birthday outing. A meal at one of my favourite steak houses, Hawksmoor.

The service and ambiance only bettered by the steak they serve. Delectable enough to convert any vegan.

We arrived and were seated at our table. The server asked if we would like menus with calories or without.

This was all new to me as I hadn’t dined out since the new governance on calories being displayed on menus had come in.

On being handed my menu curiosity hit me. I asked the server –

‘What do you find the percentage of people who ask for menus showing the calories’.

He told me that they record this information, and 95% of people opted for the menu without calories.

I couldn’t say I was surprised. I’m sure if there was an option to opt for a menu without pricing people would opt for that too.

Most people don’t want to know. They want immediate gratification and to hell with the consequences. They’ll be paid for (in a monetary and health sense), in the distant future. Seemingly so far away it doesn’t bear thinking about now.

Scanning over my menu I was astounded over the Bearnaise sauce coming in at 600 kcals!

I say again. A sauce/condiment. 600 calories.

Sauces are definitely something that some wouldn’t even consider being cognisant of when it comes to calories.

This definitely shaped my decision when it came to ordering.

A result of me choosing information over ignorance. And it’s these choices that hold me in good stead.

I would describe the basis of them as; short term pain (restriction) long term gain (health).

The opposite, the immediate gratification choice is why people incur problems. In there unwillingness and not wanting to know they fall foul. They tell themselves they deserve to live a little’ or it’s just this one time.

The reality is it’s not just this one time. There selective memory and ego has them saying this.

And after years and all these ‘just this one times’ the shit hits the fan.

Their doctor informs them that their current predicament warrants medication or surgery.

Now there are some that think with making these changes and imposing restrictions. They can no longer enjoy themselves or they are imprisoning themselves.

When really imposing a little self control and restriction gives you freedom.

Freedom from low energy that stops you achieving what you want.

Freedom from insecurity with your body that holds you back from putting yourself out there.

Freedom from concerns about your health.

Freedom from the lethargy that holds you back from taking action to progress in your life.

Freedom from doing what’s best for you.

Freedom from a poor quality of life.

Freedom from poor health has limited the things you can do or wanted to do in the future.

This lack of discipline which plagues your life is what prevents you from achieving your true potential.

I implore you to top struggling and do something about it.

Your first step to freedom download my free guide to self discipline

How to get fitter.

One of the most important books I’ve read is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

It cemented the benefits of having a daily routine. And how important our habits are.

For example, so many people say things like:

“I want to have more money”, “I want to lose weight” or “gain some kind of result.”

The truth is your bank account is a lagging measure of your finnacial habits.

Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits.

Your fitness is a lagging measure of your exercise habits.

Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning and reading habits.

And we get it wrong when we think the thing that needs to change is the bank account, the test score or the number on the scale.

Actually the things that need to change are the habits that proceed those outcomes.

You come to realise that your habits reinforce a particular identity.

Sometimes this can be positive and sometimes it can be negative.

The story could be things like ‘Im bad at math’ or ‘I’m terrible with people’s names’. It’s an internal story that you tell yourself.

And each time you have an experience it reinforces that. The story gets solidified.

The takeaway here is that every action you take is a vote for the type of person you become.

And if you can master the right actions, if you can master the right habits

Then you start to cast votes for this new identity, the desired person you want to become.

This is why small habits matter so much, they don’t transform your life overnight.

One workout or healthy meal does not transform your body. But it does cast a vote for being the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts and eats healthy.

Over time these votes compound. And as Einstein said:

‘Compounding is the eighth wonder of the world.’

The goal is not to run a race or complete a sporting pursuit. The goal is to become an athlete.

Once you’ve adopted that identity, you’re not looking to change anymore.

You’re merely acting in alignment with the type of person you see yourself as.

True behaviour change is identity change.

Once you change that internal story it get’s easier to show up each day.

Motivation becomes irrelevant.

It’s just who you are.

You choose.

Every day we make approximately 35,000 decisions

Decisions like:

‘how should I respond to this email’.

‘should I order this meal or this meal’.

‘do I go or not’.

These decisions range from the inconsequential to the very important.

But what we misinterpret is the severity of these ‘inconsequential’ decisions over time.

Those decisions by themselves, in isolation are not important.

It’s the compounding of those poor decisions over time that build into something formidable.

Very rarely are these decisions ‘just for now’ or ‘only this once’.

And here’s the thing, the choices you make day in day out aren’t really choices. You aren’t making any decisions. Because you are on autopilot.

You’ll make the same decision as you did last time.

It’s easier that way. And your mind loves the easy option.

It’s adverse to challenge and discomfort. Which is why it will go with the option that sees avoidance of pain.

Which is irronic because pain is unavoidable.

You can experience it now or later. But you will experience it. And thats why we need look at the choice of pain.

You get to choose your pain.

The pain of exercising or the pain of disapointment from not being able to play with your kids for more than a minute because of poor fitness.

The pain of self restraint with your diet or the pain of feeling uncomfortable in your clothes.

The pain of missing out on another TV episode or the pain of feeling fatigued the next day.

The pain of working on emotional control and stress or the pain of embarrassing yourself from losing your shit at a co worker in front of the entire office.

The pain of building self-discipline or the pain of knowing you’ve let yourself go.

It would be better that you choose the pain rather than your body and mind choose it for you!

You vs The Monkey

Most guys know what to do but aren’t doing it.

This is why your health and fitness isn’t an information problem, it’s an implementation problem.

This means it’s less about the method and more about the mindset.

What you need to realize is, that making a transformation, one that will have you looking and feeling at your best. Is achieved through discipline.

I’m not talking about being perfect 24/7.

I’m saying that the majority of the decisions you make need to be in line with your goal. And the ones that aren’t don’t undo the work you’ve done.

It comes down to an internal battle between you and your monkey brain.

You see the monkey brain wants you to relax and take the easy option.

The monkey brain has a penchant for fornication, debauchery and immediate pleasure.

Do things that will provide it with stimulus and excitement (although they won’t be challenging or uncomfortable). This is why it’s so easy to plicate.

But after a while, of giving in to these cravings they leave you feeling a little hollow and disappointed.

Because once again you’ve been persuaded by the monkey. Who has led you astray.

Yeah, it was fun and you had a good laugh but that monkey has led you so far off course you’re now a bit lost.

You’re stumbling around trying to get back to the correct path. Cursing yourself for giving in to the petulant primate. Who keeps distracting you from not doing what you said you were going to do.

Frustrated you didn’t have the discipline to ignore that wretched beast and his easy enticements.

The thing is when you start out with addressing this the monkey brain, it isn’t a cute little Capuchin. No no no it’s an adult silverback gorilla.

It’s so powerful. You feel almost helpless when it comes to stopping it from doing what it wants.

But when you have a plan and some accountability that sees you build your discipline.

That is when you’ll start to see that monkey shrink. And so to its power over you. All the way until you have only a cute little Pygmy Marmoset to deal with.

It is at this point that you’ll be at your best. You’ll be doing what you should be doing. Not what the monkey wants you to.

Which is how you get you to that place where you have the energy and confidence that you’re after. And built the discipline that will permeate all areas of your life.

Plus the added satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve bettered that pesky monkey!

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