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 you can reach your goals

Most people don’t know how to reach their goals or realise their true potential.

They think if they do this, a bit of that, then some more of this that magically whatever they want will fall in their lap.

That’s not how it works!

You see, there’s only one thing that must change (if you want to achieve a predetermined goal that you’ve set for yourself).

Your habits!

Take fitness as an example:

The vast majority of guys who want to get in shape will go the gym.

They go for a while and assume that one day they’ll wake up looking like Arnold in his prime. Or Brad Pitt in Fight Club (whichever floats their boat).

They put no conscious thought into changing their habits.

They won’t adjust their eating habits. And they’ll remain ignorant about their stress levels.

And a short while of after not seeing their desired results they’ll quit.

What I work on with my clients is getting them to focus on their HABITS, not their goals.

Their habits are will get them them to their goal.

I cannot stress enough the importance of your habits and routine.

Do they match your goals?

If someone looked at what you do each day would they be able to accurately guess what you’re trying to achieve?

Andrew

The Fitness Gentleman

P.S. If you feel as though you are ready to move the mental roadblocks stopping you from strengthening your body and your mindset so you can reach your goals. I invite you to a Free Discovery Call here where we can have a chat about your goals and how you can go about achieving them.

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!

The proficient man’s creed

How you can improve productivity, increase focus and reduce stress. Through a very simple practice called compartmentalization.

It may sound fancy and complicated but it’s simple. Simple and effective.

Distraction and loss of concentration are very costly. They drain our time and energy from switching from task to task.

If you’re thinking that you’re a good multi tasker, think again. What you are doing is lots of things poorly as opposed to a set task very well.

And what adds to your stress is the environment you’re in. If it is not condusive to the task in hand then your brain will have to fight more distraction.

The performance of a task in an improper environment is taxing on your grey matter. Or when you are using one room for many tasks i.e. using your lounge for work, exercise and relxation.

To be at your best you want the environment to compliment the task. And to have a designated room for a designated task.

This is where compartmentalization comes in. It aids your orientation perception (taking in external cues such as visual stimulation, perspective and spatial).

Keeping rooms for specific tasks, and not having crossover. Will not only improve your focus on the task but also reduce stress from room/task confusion.

Your brain will begin to associate the room with the task. And that’s when you’ll see your skill of the task improve.

So here is a mantra. I call it the proficient man’s creed:

This is my bedroom there are many rooms like this but this one is for sleep.

This is my office, there are many rooms like it but this one is for work.

This is my kitchen there are many rooms like it but this one is for cooking.

You get the drift!

Swerve the burnout!

Contrary to popular belief, going at it hammer and tongue is not how you improve your performance.

It’s actually in the recovery where you grow/ improve.

So if you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘you’re only as good as your recovery’ it’s one that holds water!

Let me explain.

You’ll have as baseline performance level. And when you introduce physical or mental stressors this performance level drops.

Good recovery, which might include:

getting enough energy (calories) for physiological needs;

getting enough macronutrients and micronutrients;

proper hydration and electrolyte balance; nutrient timing for clients who need it (e.g., elite athletes);

supporting sleep

managing stress

These are the things that will see you recover to a performance level that surpasses where you were before the stressor.

Without good recovery you’ll experience chronic stress. And each time you subject yourself to stressors your performance level goes down.

Eventually you’ll hit a point where you’ll burn out.

You want to ensure that doesn’t happen! And that you are taking the right steps for your performance to grow and grow.

Pushing yourself and recovering better each time. So you are only experience acute stress (necessary for improvement).

Now, what if i told you that you don’t need more time to put this in place.

What if I told you that you could actually see this happen by doing less?!

You don’t need more exercise, to diet harder, to have perfect sleep or stress management routines.

You only need to improve what you are currently doing with those things!

Because the recipes you’re currently using aren’t getting you the results your after.

Which is why performance has begun to plateau. Energy levels have dropped and stress is running high.

But with the right plan and accountability your lifestyle routine can be optimisd. And take your output to a level you never thought possible.

Improved habits that will see you become:

fitter

focused

energised

stronger

confident

At the top of your game!

Click here for details

The invisible hand that guides you.

When it comes to a healthy way of living the Mediterranean’s always seem to get a mention.

They are renowned for their longevity and wellbeing. Many attribute their diet to the reason behind this.

Although over the years I’ve come up with a hypothesis. The premise is that it’s more to do with their geography and culture.

Yes the Mediterranean diet is pretty good, (if you delve into it they get a balance of fats in their diet; monounsaturated, saturated & polyunsaturated and it is high in nutritional value.

But if you look deeper into their lifestyle they also have geography and culture working for them.

The abundance of sunlight they receive provides them with sufficient vitamin D. Something that us Northerners (hemisphere that is) lack.

And, the most salient point, the emphasis they put on sleep.

Biphasic sleep is sown into their culture. Think about it. They down tools every afternoon for a nap.

Siesta.

Not to mention they have such stringent laws on light pollution.

They protect their sleep and it pays off in spades. Especially when it comes to their national health bill.

The same can’t be said for us in the UK. Incurring a £197.4 billion health bill in 2019. And that cost has increased every year since.

Our geography is not as favourable, and our culture not as health conscious or cognisant. And that my friend is a problem because;

when everyone is sick, we no longer consider it a disease!

– Ravikant.

We wear sleep deprivation as a badge of honour when it’s work related.

Which is ironic seeing as though sleep loss over an extended period of time can cause decreased cognitive performance.

Essentially with poor sleep you’re not in control of your emotions and your emotions can control your behaviour.

This leads to the inability to make sound judgments. Poorer choices and below par performance. Along with it health concerns.

Which is why to be at your best you have to optimise your lifestyle. Nutrition, Stress management, Exercise and Sleep.

All these things done well will see you operate at your best.

You’ll have emotional regulation which aids self control, which is a superpower. I would say better than invisibility or flying.

Ultimately you will be making better decisions.

And you are the sum total of all your decisions!

The bet.

How’s it all going with your health and fitness drive?

Whatever your reason behind it. Maybe it’s your self-confidence; you’re not over enamoured with what you see when you look in the mirror.

Maybe it’s stemmed from you getting dressed in the morning and thinking to yourself ‘hmm this top wasn’t this tight before Christmas.’ 

It could be that your partner is highlighting stuff by making subtle hints. Maybe that Peloton bike they brought you for Christmas had an ulterior motive behind it?

Whichever it may be, these all feel pretty shit.

And maybe your new year’s resolution efforts have waned?

If they have don’t beat yourself up. It’s not you, it’s the method/strategy you chosen.

What you’ve tried hasn’t been sustainable.

Mainstream weight loss or fitness programs are nothing more than a roll of the dice!

They’re not a sensible bet!

The odds of you achieving success with these methods are minuscule.

Without accountability, a proven strategy, and support, you’ve got little to no chance.

How about rather than taking a punt, a flutter, a spin you make an investment?!

An investment in a strategy that will be the last you will ever need for your health and fitness.

No more confusion about what to do for getting fitter healthier, performing better looking good, and feeling great.

I know that taking that first step is the hardest. So I’ll make it easy for you. Click here

Look! Something shiny!

Have you ever thought about having a super power??

I’m sure you have (mine would be the invisibility one).

But what if I told you that you could actually have a superpower?! What I’m getting at is in today’s world, sustained attention may be a superpower!

We are pulled in all directions, half-attending to everything that’s going on, and don’t know what is important or valuable.

Perhaps you’ve been in that situation: What to do first? Let me Google it! What about this blog / article / social media drama? Oh hey, look over here!

Or, you find yourself saying to someone; How about this plan? What about that plan? I did Plan A for 2 days while reading about Plan B then I jumped to Plan C and oh by the way, did you hear about Plan D?

The problem isn’t ‘not enough information’. We have more information than we know what to do with! But rarely are you going to change based on information alone.

People still smoke knowing full well it’s not a good idea!

It’s not information overload; it’s filter failure. Without a strong ‘focus filter’ (i.e., I am choosing to pay attention to THIS now), we experience the mental/cognitive stress of:

  • too much information; and
  • the effort required to pull our attention away from “shiny things” (i.e., irrelevant distractions) and keep it honed in on what matters.

Problems focusing and paying attention tend to come with other problems too.

For instance, struggles with attention may have you wondering why you procrastinate. Or why you’re so disorganized, impulsive, or sensitive.

You may have a pattern of launching into “life transformation” projects with great enthusiasm, but soon run out of steam. Making you feel quite discouraged.

Now, our information-rich, device-driven society isn’t to blame. We didn’t overnight become zombies because we got smartphones.

It’s because as human beings we want to escape undesirable states, like being bored or irritable. And now, we have infinitely more ways to do that. Plus nobody’s teaching you the skills to do otherwise.

Unfortunately, distraction is not actually replenishing. It doesn’t actually decrease our cognitive stress.

For goals we want to accomplish, what we need is traction — choosing an activity, and then staying on track.

Mental and cognitive recovery thus involves building the skills of:

  • filtering and prioritizing; and
  • focused, deliberate attention.

A state of mind called ‘soft fascination’ may help restore our attention.

‘Soft fascination’ is when our attention is held by a less active or stimulating activity. Like reflection or introspection. It’s particularly powerful in natural environments. Such as when we’re gazing at a beautiful mountain vista, or watching a river run past.

This might not be at all surprising to you. People have always documented that time in nature seems almost magically replenishing.

Think about it, it’s how we all lived for millennia before the invention of agriculture. And well into the 20th century, when most people in the world lived in rural areas.

So I’d like you to consider exploring doing something in a natural environment. A local park or garden maybe?!

Confirmation danger

I’m going to talk to you about Dave.

Following the decadence that is this time of year Dave has been considering doing something to get in better shape in the new year.

As part of his new health and fitness drive Dave wants to lose a few pounds. So he makes a decision to try a diet that one of his work colleagues is doing.

He checks progress on the scales every morning. If he has lost weight he pats himself on the back and considers the diet a success. If he has gained weight he writes it off as a normal fluctuation and forgets about it.

For weeks he lives under the illusion that the diet is working. He tells himself ‘it must be the fact that he’s started exercising and that all the muscle he’s developed is offsetting the weight loss’. Because he knows muscle weighs more than fat.

More weeks pass and even though his weight remains constant. He’s not seeing any changes to his body but he tells himself he just needs to double down on what he’s doing.

More time passes. Dave still hasn’t seen any movement on the scales and his clothes are still just as tight.

‘It must be more muscle growth and water retention’ he tells himself.

Sound familiar? I hope not!

What’s happened is that Dave has fallen victim of a confirmation bias. Albeit a harmless one, but it has been costly to him as he’s wasted a lot of time.

The confirmation bias is the mother of all misconceptions. it’s the tendency to interpret new information so it becomes compatible with our existing beliefs.

We filter out any new information that contradicts our existing views disconfirming evidence. It is a dangerous practice; ceasing to acknowledge that facts exist because they are ignored!

Yet, we do exactly that! What human beings are best at is interpreting new information so our prior conclusions remain intact. Hiding the presence of disconfirming evidence.

It is incumbent on you to fight the confirmation bias. So whenever observations contradict your theory take them seriously do not merely brush them aside! Lean into them, test your beliefs.

And do it sooner rather than later as the brain does a very good job of forgetting disconfirming evidence after a short time!

The more certain you judge your belief to be, the more active you should be in looking for contradictions!

Emotional freedom

Picture this situation, you are driving home from work after a great day and your favourite song comes on the radio.

It’s been a fantastic day and your spirits are high, so what do you do? You do what any reasonable person would do in this situation, you start singing. A little bit of head bopping, steering wheel tapping (channelling your inner Keith Moon).

You’re in your own little world loving life. Until you see the guy in the car next to you looking at you.

This is where you could go from feeling great to wishing you were invisible.

You might turn the radio down, sit back into your seat, reset your hands to the 10 and 2 position. Adjust your joyous facial expression, to one that conveys serious mature thoughts.

This example is ascribing too much importance to what other people think.

It’s not that you shouldn’t give any importance to other’s opinions. But where it crosses the line is when you care what absolute strangers think. Or people that are insignificant in your life. People you don’t respect.

These people should have no bearing on your actions or your goals. If it was up to someone else how to achieve our dreams and progress most of us wouldn’t achieve anything in our lives.

You need to base your decisions and goals on you, not other people. Too many people base their success and goals on the opinions of other people. Friends, family, co-workers.

You need to stop worrying about what other people are thinking about you and your decisions.

It is a very dangerous habit to have as it encourages you to move with the masses or conform to the group.

Here is where the emotional freedom technique will help.

Now, this is not designed to make you arrogant. Rather it resolves and dissolves the emotional reaction you have to and about other people, places and things.

To be an independent and self-confident person you need to start being more independent!

When you start to care less about what other people think you start living more. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about people.

The emotional freedom technique resolves and dissolves what you think other people think.

Have you ever thought to yourself?; ‘he or she makes me feel guilty’ Question: who is doing the feeling?

You are!

It is your reaction to what they have said or done or not done that you interpret guilt from.

Most people get it wrong about you or what you can achieve anyway. I’d like to cement this by pointing out: The Beatles were rejected. Michael Jordan didn’t make his school basketball team. Richard Branson has had more failed businesses than successful ones.

If they have worried about what others have thought you would never have heard of them.

Your feeling is created by yourself. Other people do not have the power to make you feel a certain way. You choose to feel that way! 

Using the emotional freedom technique will help you to overcome the fear of rejection.

Overcome your fear that they will think that your goals are too big and impossible for you to achieve them.

Overcome any emotional reaction to something in the past that they might have said or done.

Overcome your fear of putting yourself out there. And it will help you take the much-needed action in achieving your goals. From developing your own belief of self-worth and deserving.

With the emotional freedom technique it could be something as simple telling yourself;

Even though I’m afraid that others will think my goals are too big for me and I could never achieve them…

Even though I’m afraid of rejection’…
Even though he or she said x or did y and it made me feel…
Even though I’m not worthy of great success…

Even without being specific in detail, the emotional freedom technique will still work.

If you’re afraid about what you think others think about you doing Emotional Freedom Technique you can EFT that away too.

Another physical EFT is tapping, which like acupressure, tapping involves the body’s energy meridian points. Download my EFT tapping guide here