This is something that doesn’t see a lot of daylight. There are a lot of articles about how to increase dopamine, but it’s just one side of the coin.
But having healthy dopamine receptors is of a lot more importance, than having high dopamine.
Basically the main function of the dopamine receptors is to keep you focused and motivated.
It’s the main neurotransmitter in charge of your pleasure-reward system.
The benefits of more dopamine receptors
More dopamine receptors will increase dopamine activity in the brain and therefore making dopamine more effective. There is a wide range of benefits in increasing dopamine receptors.
- Success will be more rewarding.
- Higher focus and brain function.
- More confidence and calmness.
- More energy and motivation.
- More enjoyment in life.
Ways to increase and optimize Dopamine receptors
Those are the main ways to optimize optimize your dopamine receptors. I only chose natural ways and didn’t include supplements and medicament. There is
1. The Winner Effect
Winning increases the dopamine receptors in the brain, which makes you smarter and more bold.
This straight out of the book „The Winner Effect“, one of my favorite books out there and the one that inspired the name of this blog.
But what exactly is the winner effect.
The ‚winner effect‘ is a term coined in biology. Scientists observed the behavior of animals fighting for their territory.
What they found out was quite interesting.
„Animals who won a fight, were a lot more likely to win their next fight.“
But why did this happened. The winning Animals did not really gained more strength or experience. What happened to them was a lot more subtle:
Winning increased the androgen receptors in the brain making them more sensitive to testosterone.
Winning increased dopamine receptors in the brain, making them more sensitive to dopamine.
Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive.
„The effect is as strong as any drug. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win. But the downside is that winning can become physically addictive. “ -Ian Robertson
Every successful person makes use of this effect in some sort of form, but there are certain strategies to get you into the loop of winning.
How to get most out of the winner effect
Winning and success is a very subjective Term.
There is no need to start challenging everyone you meet to a one on one fight. Even professional chess players experience
So winning is mostly psychological, but there is no need for competition. Most of our daily challenges are based around very simple things like doing a good job and accomplishing daily goals.
These type of successes are ideal to get the winner effect rolling, since you have a lot of control over the outcome.
The main rule is:
Get things done.
Not finishing what you start, can really mess up your workflow and hit your motivation. Just like winning will end up in a upwards spiral, losing and not doing things will keep you spiraling down.
To counteract that start with small daily goals that slowly build up to those big victories. Having a lot of small positive experiences during the day will keep your dopamine flowing and slowly build that winner effect.
- Start accomplishing small goals on a day to day basis. There is no need for them to be big or special. Just little things as doing the laundry or studying for a test can do the trick.
- Try to reach as much goals as you can. Make them part of your day. Make this a habit and you will never want to go back to being lazy.
- Start reaching your long term goals. Keep them just in range to be able to reach them, but make them big enough to be a challenge. Make sure to have a lot of accomplishments to reach on the way to keep you motivated.
This sounds kinda boring at first, but if you want to have an exciting life, there is a necessity to get these things done.
Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, has extensively studied the effects of physical exercise on the brain.
He found that exercise raises baseline levels of dopamine by promoting the growth of new brain cell receptors.
There are so many other benefits to exercising that this should be a must-do.
3. Avoid Addictions
One basic principle of increasing brain health, is to avoid the overstimulation of dopamine receptors.
The 21th century has invented a big catalog of daily distractions to give you the constant dopamine rush you deserve. Our live is filled with netflix, coffee, porn and burger king and there is an endless supply of these small daily pleasures.
But our brain isn’t really used high amounts of dopamine. It evolved in a time were pleasure was rare. Most excitement came through hunting, eating, social gathering and sex. Today life can be one
But how does our brain deals with all those new flashy things in our life?
It reacts by downregulating dopamine receptors.
This will make your receptors less sensitive to dopamine and you will need a lot more to feel normal. You will become addicted to more coffee, more fast food and more movies, downregulating your receptors even more.
This will make you numb to life, feeling like you can’t enjoy anything anymore.
But how do we counteract that?
Stop your addictions.
Reduce your daily
reduce a lot of your daily
Most common Addictions
Most of those (except the first ones) are okay in moderation. With responsible use there should be no problem. It’s when things get out of hand and people start binging and overdoing, that problems arise.
Ritalin, amphetamines, cocaine and other substances
Alcohol, Coffee, Zigarettes
Fast food and Sugar
Tv and computergames
Internet and Social media
4. Avoid heavy porn use
This falls into he category of addiction, but i felt like it deserved its own spot. First i have to adress that sex or masturbation them self are not harmful. It’s the modern endless Internet porn that causes problems.
Pornography drives your brain into overdrive by showing you more mates in one hour than you will get in your whole life.
This is a common cause of unhealthy dopamine receptors and you are probably more affected than you think.
If you want to read into it, there is a whole website dedicated to this topic.
Fasting for a certain period of time will activate a lot of primal processes in your body.
It’s not only effective in increasing dopamine receptors, but also very helpful in quitting addictions.
The best way to fast is to only drink water for a period of time, without getting any kind of calories. It’s completely natural for our bodies to not get food all the time and there are a lot of benefits to fasting.
My favorite ways of fasting are the 2 day fast and intermittent fasting.