Even though dagga’s legal status has changed, we are not talking about cannabis or any other recreational drug. No! After the stress of exams you may need to replenish some of your dopamine before you re-emerge into the real world.
What is Dopamine?
Dopamine /ˈdəʊpəmiːn/ (noun) is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) found in your body. It helps to regulate body movements, and is associated with attention and memory. High levels of dopamine produce feelings of pleasure related to reward-motivated behaviour. When your dopamine levels are low, your motivation is reduced, and you may find that you have little enthusiasm for things that excite most people. As described by neuropsychology research, “Dopamine is the substance that’s behind our dreams and biggest secrets. Dopamine means lust, love, infidelity, motivation, attention, femininity, learning, and addiction. Without it, you would be quite un-human, since it’s the key force behind most of our actions and interpersonal relationships.”
Because dopamine is involved with
- creativity and problem-solving
- addition, and
you will have drained your supply during exams.
Top Up Your Dopamine
According to registered dietician, Erica Julson, here are “ten ways to naturally boost your dopamine:
- Eat Lots of Protein
Dopamine is produced from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, both of which can be obtained from protein-rich foods. Very high intakes of these amino acids may boost dopamine levels.
- Eat Less Saturated Fat
Animal studies have found that diets high in saturated fat can reduce dopamine signalling in the brain, leading to a blunted reward response. While more research is needed to determine whether the same is true in humans, saturated fats are not good for your overall health.
- Consume Probiotics
Probiotic supplements have been linked to improved mood in humans and animals.
- Eat Broad Beans
Velvet beans are natural sources of L-dopa, a precursor molecule to dopamine. Studies show that they may be as effective as Parkinson’s medications at boosting dopamine levels. (Because we have never seen a velvet bean in SA, we discovered that fava beans – aka broad beans – contain a similar amount of L-dopa.)
- Exercise Often
Exercise can improve mood and may boost dopamine levels when performed regularly – even 10 minutes a day. (TIP: Watch out for our next blog on how to get started with exercising these holidays.)
- Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can reduce dopamine sensitivity in the brain, resulting in excessive feelings of sleepiness. Getting a good night’s rest may help regulate your body’s natural dopamine rhythms.
- Listen to Music
Listening to your favourite easy-listening instrumental music may boost your dopamine levels. More research is needed to determine the effects of music with lyrics.
Meditation increases dopamine levels in the brains of experienced meditators.
- Get Enough Sunlight
Sunlight exposure can boost dopamine levels, just be sure to avoid skin damage.
- Consider Supplements
Having adequate levels of iron, niacin, folate and vitamin B6 is important for dopamine production. Preliminary animal studies suggest that some supplements may also help boost dopamine levels."
Get your Dux in a row. Contact us today to join the select group of learners who get psycho- and socio-student support - especially before re-integrating into society after being holed-up studying.
“Dux /dʌks/ noun
The top pupil in a school or class.”