New Year, Healthier You!

7 tips to boost your energy and mental health for the     New Year

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 start to stagnate in your body. Depending on your choices, this might affect you differently. 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.

And 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 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 tips:

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Eat Foods Rich in Tyrosine

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 almonds or a banana, when you feel the lull coming on. Eggs, avocados, fish, chicken, and beans also have a ton of tyrosine (so, basically an excuse to eat Chipotle often).

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Exercise Regularly

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 exercise.

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Meditate

Meditate.  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.

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Get a Massage

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 increase dopamine production by 30%.

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Sleep

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. We’ve written in the past about how to improve sleep quality; consider reducing screen time an hour before bed, not eating at least two hours before bedtime, and creating routine that calms your mind.

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Listen to Music

Listen to Music.  It’s probably not a surprise that music makes us happy, increasing dopamine levels, and by way of that increasing concentration, boosting energy and mood.

These suggestions don’t sound too bad, do they? Make 2018 the 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!


4 Weeks of De-stressing After the Holidays

Follow us on social media! Did the holidays leave you feeling frazzled? Take a breather this month and follow along to learn some tips for de-stressing. Starting January 8th we are focusing on strategies to help deal with stress in one of the Benovate pillars (health, financial, growth, and relationship).

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Log in to Benovate and join  the De-Stress After the Holidays series! Earn additional points while reducing stress - Starting January 8th.