Chances are we have all seen the bumper sticker from the 80’s that read “Say Nope to Dope”. But today I am here to suggest there is a different type of dope that we should all being saying yes to. That is dopamine. Dopamine is something that can make us feel happy, energized, and almost immediately puts a smile on our face and the faces of others.
Sounds pretty good, huh? The best part is that it is pretty easy to get and it costs very little. As a matter of fact, you can get some today just by doing something nice for someone.
As our very own DSP Nurse Kris would tell us, dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter released in the brain. And according to a 2005 study from Hebrew University in Israel researchers found a link between being kind and a gene that releases dopamine in the brain.
In a world that seems to be busier than ever, dopamine use appears to be on the decline. We are becoming more and more distracted by our smart phones, our to-do lists, and our deadlines. And when this happens we tend to forget to hold the door for the person behind us, wave thank you to the person who lets us pull out in front of them in traffic, or say thank you to our barista when they hand us our treasured latte. Those simple acts of kindness trigger dopamine and give us a shot of happiness.
In the book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, authors Alan Luks and Peggy Payne call the effects of being kind, the “helper’s high”. After interviewing more than 3,000 people, Lukus and Payne found that those who helped others reported feeling more energetic, less stressed and felt a greater sense of self-worth.
There is no shortage of articles out there describing the decline of human kindness. Which means dopamine usage is also declining. I personally don’t believe it is because we are becoming unkind people. We are just becoming more distracted. However, I believe, together we can increase the usage starting today by simply making a conscious effort to be kind.
My Lovey’s Life Lesson today is more of a challenge than a lesson. I would like to implore all my fellow DSPs to join me in starting a movement. Let’s increase dopamine usage. Every day let’s try to do at least one kind thing. Volunteer at your local pet shelter or food bank during your lunch hour. If you don’t have an hour, simply practice random acts of kindness. Compliment the outfit of the person in line ahead of you at your sandwich shop. Or even better- compliment your spouse. Take someone’s shopping cart back to the store on the way in, or resist checking your phone during a meal with friends or family. (Giving them your complete attention is an act of kindness.)
If you are already a heavy dopamine user, take this opportunity to ask your spouse, children and or friends to participate in committing to one act of kindness a day. Check in at the end of the day and share with each other what you did.
And one last request; we at DSP would like to hear ways you are increasing your dopamine usage. Please leave us a comment about what kind acts you or your family are preforming. Keep in mind that sharing this information with us is an act of kindness in itself and we will thank you, resulting in more dopamine for you! See, you will already be making people happy. Good job!
View all posts by: DSP Lovey.