In today’s dopamine-driven world, it’s easy to become addicted to the unhealthy aspects of a modern-day lifestyle, such as fast food, social media, and consumer culture. These hinder our ability to be healthy, happy, and adapt to our rapidly changing world.
To become future ready, we must learn how to combat the dopamine cycle of our modern world through focusing on building resilience, collaboration, adaptability, and innovation. I want to be clear that dopamine is not the enemy, but dopamine rushes at the expense of healthy molecules like endorphin, oxytocin, and serotonin is something we should avoid. We can experience the pleasure of dopamine best when combined with healthy activities that release our healthy molecules.
By incorporating the following 12 steps into your daily life, you can build the skills and mindset necessary to thrive in an ever-changing world.
Building Resilience: Steps to Release Endorphins
- Sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to decreased cognitive function and emotional instability. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help your brain and body recharge.
- Breathing: Practicing deep breathing exercises can reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Take a few minutes each day to focus on breathing, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Deep diaphragm breathing can also help you produce peripheral dopamine, which is made in the autonomic nervous system.
- Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help improve focus, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety. Take time each day to focus on the present moment and observe your thoughts without judgment. Instead of watching TV while you eat, be in the present moment and tune into enjoying a meal without distraction or leave your phone in a drawer when spending time with family and friends.
- Gratitude: Cultivating gratitude can help improve mood and overall well-being. Take time each day to think about the things you are grateful for, no matter how small they may seem. One of the best ways to practice gratitude is through gratitude journaling.
Prioritizing Collaboration: Steps to Release Oxytocin:
- Dolphin Interpersonal Style: The dolphin interpersonal style is firm, flexible, warm, collaborative, and positive. This type of communication can help build trust and strengthen relationships. We develop deep and healing connections with others when we approach relationships from a place of collaboration. We are social beings and can find healing and growth through social interaction.
- Empathy: Developing empathy can help improve communication and build stronger connections with others. Take time to listen to others’ perspectives and try to understand their point of view. When thinking about empathy, don’t just practice compassion for others; practice kindness for yourself. Overcoming any addiction is complex and requires empathy, being gentle and compassionate with yourself is essential.
- Autonomy: Allowing others autonomy can help foster trust and build stronger relationships. Giving others the freedom to make their own choices can help them feel valued and respected. Similarly, creating your own boundaries and autonomy and committing to them shows respect for yourself.
- Optimism: Maintaining an optimistic outlook can help improve mood and overall well-being. Focus on the positive aspects of situations and look for opportunities for growth and development. To be optimistic doesn’t mean to ignore reality or the difficult parts of life; it means to adopt a mindset of hope that there are bright days ahead.
Embracing Adaptability and Innovation
- Play Mindset: Adopting a play mindset can help improve creativity and innovation. Play is essential for learning and exploration, so try to approach new tasks with a sense of curiosity and playfulness.
- Trying New Things: Stepping outside your comfort zone helps improve adaptability and foster growth. Try new activities or take on new challenges to help build your skills and develop your potential. Pushing your boundaries is one of the best ways to overcome fear, reduce anxiety, and build resiliency.
- Learning through Trial and Error: Learning from failure is essential for growth and development. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or try new things; this can help you learn and improve over time. Many people may associate learning from failure as a “growth mindset,” In many ways, it is. However, a play mindset is more in line with this strategy.
- Brainstorming: Brainstorming and visualization can help generate new ideas and solutions to complex problems. Encourage collaboration and creativity by brainstorming with others and exploring new perspectives.
Watch Dr. Shimi Kang break down the impact of dopamine on our health and well-being in the clip below from the 2023 Art of Leadership for Women event.
Dr. Shimi Kang is an award-winning, medical doctor, researcher, and expert on the neuroscience behind innovation, leadership, and motivation. She draws on 20 years of clinical experience, and extensive research to provide science-based solutions for health, happiness, and achievement at home, work, and in the classroom.
Contact us to learn more about Shimi and to book her for your next event.