Low dopamine morning routine to reduce stress and boost productivity

It’s easy in the modern world to get lost in a loop of negative dopamine releasing activities. Consciously deciding how to behave and limiting the way we release dopamine throughout the day can have a huge impact on our mental health and stress levels. In this post we’re going to look at the trending topic of a low dopamine morning routine, and how it can help reduce stress and boost productivity.

You may have seen posts about a low dopamine morning routine and wondered more about how you could integrate this into your daily life. Read on to understand exactly what dopamine is, how dopamine can be harmful and how we can modify our morning routine to increase our productivity and lessen stress.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is used by our nervous system, and our body creates. It’s used to communicate between nerves and has a huge impact on how we feel pleasure. Dopamine can help us focus and find things interesting,

Dopamine is released and felt in our brains when we feel good and have a sense of achievement. This occurs during pleasurable events such as eating tasty food, making money, or winning something competitive.

Can I have too much dopamine?

Dopamine must sound like an amazing thing to experience all the time, but it is important to regulate the levels of dopamine in our bodies.

Having too much dopamine has been linked to being over-competitive, aggressive and a lack of impulse control. ADHD and addictions to food, alcohol, drugs and gambling are some of the conditions too much dopamine can lead to. Addiction to drinking and drugs can become a real problem due to the surge of dopamine released in the body.

Having too little dopamine can be harmful too, making life feel dull and making it hard to get excited about things. Finding motivation can be a struggle. Too little dopamine can lead to conditions such as depression, psychosis and schizophrenia-like symptoms.

There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with dopamine imbalances that are dependent on the root cause, but these include:

  • Trouble relaxing or getting to sleep
  • Feeling unmotivated, hopeless, depressed or sad
  • Gut or stomach issues
  • Stiff or weak muscles
  • Low sex drive
  • Anxiety

So is dopamine bad?

No – dopamine itself is not bad.

It’s vital for our pleasure and reward system but aside from this it’s involved in the body functions of:

  • Blood flow
  • Digestion
  • Pain tolerance
  • Sleep
  • Stress response
  • Heart and kidney
  • Motor control
  • Memory and focus

What can be extremely harmful is relying on activities or substances that are inherently bad and that produce these surges of dopamine. Doing this is simply not sustainable, can be addictive and over a long enough time period will damage you. These can include:

  • Constantly scrolling through your social media or mobile applications
  • Excessive use of p*rn
  • Binge-eating junk food
  • Excessive gambling
  • Excessive drugs & alcohol

When doing any of the above activities, the brain will release dopamine tricking us into thinking it is a reward, and that we should repeat these activities.

Why should I follow a low dopamine morning routine?

Today’s world is extremely fast-paced, we have so much information at our fingertips. By starting the day in a calm, collected manner with positive intentions, we are setting the precedence for the day going forward. In a low dopamine morning routine, we set up habits and behaviours to harvest a productive and effective day.

Common principles of a low dopamine morning routine are:

  • Hydrate yourself as soon as you wake up
  • Seek natural sunlight as soon as you can after waking up, ideally within 30 minutes: This is the natural way to wake up and feel alert in the morning, and helps regulate our circadian rhythm.
  • Set your intentions for the day: This could be a list of tasks you want to complete for the day/week or journaling your experiences and reflections.
  • Resilience Rituals: This could be a simple breathing exercise, meditation or cold water therapy.
  • Light Exercise: A simple walk or stretching in the morning in the sun will kill two birds with one stone.
  • Avoid looking at your phone or computer for the first hour after waking up: Looking at your phone and scrolling as soon as you wake up is reinforcing your brain’s behaviour to be distracted throughout the day!
  • Avoid caffeine first thing in the morning, ideally wait two hours: Coffee is essentially stress in a cup and isn’t a natural way to wake up in the morning

A low dopamine morning routine is technically a set of habits that limit the release of dopamine in the morning, but to be honest a lot of the above activities will release dopamine in some way, such as light exercise, meditation, and walking in natural sunlight. I believe the important factor is limiting the negative behaviours that release dopamine.

Choose habits and behaviours that are healthy, positive and that serve you. These habits will eventually become second nature and the benefits will compound into allowing you to be the best version of yourself.

How can I release dopamine with positive activities?

Learning about dopamine and being conscious of our behaviour will help identify the negative habits we have become accustomed to, such as constantly picking up our phone to check for notifications, or forever snacking on junk.

Instead, we should look to release dopamine through positive activities and behaviours:

  • Exercise: Regular exercise reduces cortisol, increases endorphins and improves our physical and cognitive health.
  • Listen to music you enjoy
  • Spend more time in nature
  • Get enough sunlight or consider Vitamin D supplements
  • Eat a high-protein diet
  • Prioritise sleep:

These approaches to raising our dopamine are natural and healthy and will properly support dopamine’s critical role in aiding our physical and emotional well-being.

If you’re guilty of some of the aforementioned negative behaviours and you want to live a happier and better quality of life, look to integrate some of the above positive activities into your daily routine. You’ll thank yourself later.





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