Dopamine is a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter. It’s made in your body and it’s used by your nervous system to send messages between nerve cells. It plays a role in how we feel pleasure.
Let’s Explore Dopamine?!
Dopamine is a chemical that makes you feel good. According to healthline.com, it plays a role in controlling movement as well as your brain’s reward system.
Also it helps with sending information to the parts of brain responsible for thoughts and emotion.
Dopamine as well as serotonin plays a role in mental health.
The Role Dopamine Plays In Your Mental Health
Dopamine is vital to your brain health. Brain functions that affect mood, sleep, memory, learning as well as motor control are influenced by how much of it is in your body.
When dopamine is out of balance, whether you have too much or too little causes problems.
A Brain Chemical Out Of Balance
Balancing dopamine is key to a better mind. However when it’s out of balance, whether you have too much or too little causes problems. When this happens it might affect how you function day-to-day.
Too Much Dopamine
When you have too much dopamine in your brain it’s hard to not be impulsive. Also it’s linked to being hyper competitive as well as more aggressive.
According to healthdirect.gov.au it leads to problems such as ADHD, binge eating, addiction as well as gambling.
Too Little Dopamine
Having too little dopamine causes other problems. It makes you depressed, less inspired and also less excited about things.
Low dopamine is linked to problems such as depression, schizophrenia as well as psychosis. These problems make it hard to function.
Dopamine Imbalance and Bipolar Disorder
Have you noticed that the problems listed above look familiar? If you’re reading this post and have problems with bipolar disorder, then those problems may be symptoms.
In a previous post, “How To Be “High Functioning” Bipolar”, it talked about how there are two main types of bipolar disorder. These include bipolar I and also bipolar II.
What makes bipolar I different than bipolar II is the severity of manic episodes.
In another post, “Tips For Helping A Bipolar Brain”, we talked about how there’s an imbalance of brain chemicals such as serotonin as well as dopamine. As a result this plays a role in the extreme mood episodes that define bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is the result of a different brain.
What makes a bipolar brain different is how nerve cells talk to each other using brain chemicals. As a result there’s an imbalance with how dopamine is used in the brain.
It leads to a warped sense of reality as well as having thought patterns that don’t make sense.
For example during a manic episode you might find yourself becoming more impulsive and also making bad decisions. As a result you might be gambling, binge eating or doing something else that’s risky.
When you’re in a depressed mood, you might find yourself not having any motivation. Also you might not feel any excitement about anything.
Balancing Dopamine For A Better Mind
The imbalance of dopamine plays a big part in how you function with bipolar disorder.
If you take steps toward balancing it you’ll have a better time managing your symptoms.
Managing bipolar disorder with therapy and medication is one part of your treatment. Another part is doing some things on your own. For example making lifestyle changes as well as changing diet has helped.
Before you try anything on your own, talk to a medical expert first!!
Tips For Balancing Dopamine and Improving Function:
Seek Help From Your Therapist:
If you have bipolar disorder or any other mental illness, you might already be working with a therapist.
Medication and talk therapy are provided. Also they might suggest some things you can do on your own.
Balancing dopamine for a better mind starts with a good relationship with your therapist.
Exercise is good for your overall physical heath. Also it’s good for your mental health as well.
It improves mental health by lowering anxiety and depression. It also plays a role in balancing brain chemicals.
For example aerobic exercise helps with boosting dopamine levels.
When you’re running or jogging you feel a runner’s high? According to science daily,runner’s high is caused by a boost of dopamine.
Intense workouts also release endorphins, which triggers your brain’s reward system. As a result dopamine is released and this explains the euphoric or high feeling you get.
Get Plenty Of Sleep:
If you have bipolar disorder you may find it hard to get consistent sleep. In a previous post, “How To Overcome Sleep Problems”, we learned that insomnia is a sign of mania.
Insomnia leads to problems such as anxiety, an inability to focus as well as motivations and emotions.
It’s vital to have a sleep schedule. For example establish a time to wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday.
Also it’s vital to avoid electronic devices before bed, because of the blue light they emit. The light can tell your brain to stop making melatonin. As a result it makes it hard to fall asleep.
Spend Time In Nature:
Being in nature does wonderful things to your body. Did you know it helps boost dopamine and serotonin?
Spending time outside leads to higher serotonin when you’re exposed to sunlight. Also when you’re hiking in the woods your body releases endorphins just like if you were running. As a result it boosts dopamine, which leads to feelings of euphoria.
Also the extra dopamine helps you function better.
Consider Changing Your Diet:
A diet rich in foods with tyrosine boosts dopamine.
Tyrosine is an amino acid found in foods such as walnuts, beans, meat and also cheese.
Also, vitamin B6 is not only important for breaking down carbohydrates, but also for regulating mood.
Take Care Of Your Gut:
In a previous post, “Probiotics For Bipolar Disorder”, we talked about how a lot of your brain chemicals come from your gut.
It’s interesting that 90% of your body’s serotonin as well as 50% of dopamine comes from gut bacteria.
Many people who take probiotics find that their symptoms improve.
Probiotics come from foods such as yogurt and also sauerkraut. If you can’t get them from food, maybe you should consider taking a probiotic supplement.
Balancing dopamine for a better mind also comes from mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a mental state by focusing your awareness on the present moment. At the same time you’re acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts as well as bodily sensations.
It’s achieved through meditation. Start by sitting somewhere quiet and focusing on your breathing. Then focus your energy on the present moment.
Mindfulness has been shown to boost serotonin and dopamine, which helps you function better.
How Do You Boost Your Mood?
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