If you ever ask yourself, “Why am I so unmotivated and unproductive” there’s a secret you need to know. You’re not unmotivated and unproductive. It’s THIS.
You’re sitting there staring at the computer. Your exams, or perhaps your work deadline, is coming up. You tell yourself to work. But you just go on Facebook and chat gibberish to friends, or you head out for a drink or for a smoke, or you binge watch Netflix.
You know you’re doing the wrong thing. You just can’t help it.
“Why am I so unmotivated?” you ask yourself, screaming in your own head because you know you have to do something to turn your life around. But you always feel unmotivated. You’re always unproductive. So maybe it’s just you.
If you think you’re unmotivated and unproductive realise the truth: 99% of people are the exact same way. Sure, they might look like champions when they’re out in public, they might tell you how much money they’re making or how often they’ve hit the gym, or the amount of hot dates they’ve been on. They might make Facebook posts about how great their lives are. But it’s very easy to paint a false picture.
You’re not alone in being unmotivated and unproductive. You’re in the majority of people.
But there is one thing differentiating you from the average person: you acknowledge that you need to become more motivated and more productive.
That self awareness and self acceptance catapults you into the upper echelon of people. The willingness to face your weaker parts and to do something about them is your strength. So pat yourself on the back.
No, really, pat yourself on the back right now. I would do it for you if we weren’t divided through space. But go ahead, pat yourself on the back.
When you pat yourself on the back you will release serotonin in your brain. This is one of the four chemicals controlling your happiness, motivation, and productivity.
If you’re unproductive and unmotivated, it’s because of an imbalance of these chemicals
Dopamine: Dopamine motivates you to take an action. When you perform a positive action your brain is doing it in anticipation of the dopamine that will be released as a result. It’s the carrot in front of the horse’s face.
Serotonin: Serotonin flows when you feel high self regard. People who are lonely and depressed have low serotonin levels. Serotonin is released when you reflect on past accomplishments—your brain perceives little difference between reality and imagined reality, so when you imagine reliving past glory you release serotonin. Healthy exposure to the sun also releases serotonin.
Oxytocin: Oxytocin creates trust and intimacy. It’s the cuddle hormone. So if you hug people a lot it’s because your brain wans to keep a steady flow of oxytocin going. Oxytocin also improves cardiovascular health and improves your immune system.
Endorphins: Endorphins are released to alleviate stress and anxiety. Exercise is the best natural way to produce endorphins. Laughter is another way. And aromatherapy helps also, especially lavender.
You can read more about these chemicals on Thai Nguyen’s blog TheUtopianLife.
Of course, there are lots of possible reasons for a lack of motivation. For instance, it has even been proven that fairness in the workplace makes employees more motivated and more productive.
But the basic component of motivation and productivity comes down to brain chemicals.
“Yeah, great Paul,” you say, “but I’m not looking to get a degree in psychology here. I just want to be more motivated and productive. Enough with the chemicals already.”
So let’s set it down in black and white: the state of those chemical in your brain is what controls your productivity and motivation. This is especially true of dopamine, the motivation chemical, the carrot that your brain dangles in front of itself to get itself galloping.
If you’re unmotivated and unproductive it is because your brain’s chemical balance is out of whack.
To prove this, go get yourself a horse. Well, don’t really, but take it from a horse lover, if you put a carrot on a stick in front of a horse the horse will keep walking until it gobbles up the carrot. That’s a good thing, because the horse will be getting exercise while it’s moving.
But what if you put that carrot in the wrong place? Place the carrot above the horse’s neck and it will constantly arch it’s neck backwards until it gets a stiff neck. Now, I’ve never done that because I love animals more than I love cupcakes—and I really love cupcakes. But you get the point. Put the carrot in the wrong place and the horse will still try to get it even though it’s harming itself.
Your brain is that horse. If you’re not productive and not motivated it’s because your carrot is in the wrong place. By which, of course, I mean that your dopamine is being released via the wrong channels.
Sadly, modern society has taken over your brain and made you learn to get dopamine from unhealthy sources.
You’ve been misled by clever manufacturers and media creators who know how to give you dopamine in such a way that you’ll get addicted to their products.
Cigarettes, sugar, sexy scenes in movies… they all make your brain release dopamine. That’s why you inhale tobacco. That’s why you eat chocolate bars, candy, McDonalds and all that other junk. That’s why when you’re alone you sometimes put the internet on and watch some buxom woman stripping in the kitchen while a plumber conveniently arrives and asks if he can sort her pipes out.
Now remember that dopamine is the way your brain motivates itself to do something. Your brain, left to its own natural course, will release dopamine from positive activities like completing a task and going on a winning streak.
Left to its own natural state your brain will release dopamine to motivate you to take positive actions to get that reward, the reward of feeling good when you get that surge of dopamine.
But some clever scientist in a lab realised this. They realised that you can essentially control a person by controlling where they get dopamine from. A fat cat business owner then said to the scientist, “Can you make it so people get dopamine from our products so people will get addicted to them?” An exchange was made whereby the scientist made a packet of money, the businessman got you addicted to their products, and you became a slave because someone besides yourself was controlling your brain’s motivator.
Flash forward several years to the present day. Your brain has now learnt to get dopamine—the one thing it is motivated to get—by eating sugar, smoking cigarettes, watching movies, and so on. So your entire brain has now been manipulated into motivating itself to get dopamine by taking negative actions.
And because your brain is motivated to get those unhealthily high dopamine levels from unhealthy products, it’s no longer motivated to do the right things that would have released enough dopamine to satisfy it had it not been for those corrupt businessmen who brainwashed you.
So the next time you ask “Why am I so unmotivated and unproductive” remember, you’re not. You are very motivated. You’re very motivated to eat sugar, smoke cigarettes, watch sex scenes and so on because that’s how your brain has, essentially, been seduced into thinking.
Thankfully, there are solutions. The solution is to replace the negative sources of dopamine with positive ones. So let’s do that right now. Let me prove to you that you are motivated and that you are productive and that you can reclaim your brain. It is the best way how to stop being lazy and to double your motivation and productivity.
- Want more motivation? Dopamine is key
- If you’re struggling, don’t sweat. There’s a scientific way how to find the motivation to lose weight.
- So what is the solution? How do you balance your dopamine?
- The best ways to get dopamine naturally
Want more motivation? Dopamine is key
Want to know how to get the motivation to lose weight? Did you know, scientifically speaking there really is only one way to get the motivation to lose weight?…
You know you want to get back into exercising so you can lose weight right?
You recognise how important it is to have the motivation to lose weight and to exercise so you can get that lean, sexy body you’re looking for.
But while Netflix is on and there’s a bottle of pop on the table it can be hard to bother getting yourself to the gym. So your gym membership ends up wasted and your body gets weaker.
You need to know how to get the motivation to lose weight.
But even the idea of exercising might seem scary to you. Do you ever say to yourself, “Well, I’m just not the exercising type of person?” Or maybe you say to yourself, “I’d exercise if only I had the time.” Or, “I’ll exercise once I finished X, Y or Z, when a cow flies over the moon”. Or any other negative thought (in which case, I’ve created a great strategy to help you remove negative thoughts from your mind).
Truth is, as you and I both know, it is a lot easier to find excuses not to exercise than it is to find the motivation to get to the gym.
Thankfully, once you know how to get the motivation to lose weight, your life will become a lot easier and healthier. Trust me, after reading this article and following the tips, you will find the motivation to exercise and you will genuinely want to rush down to the gym and work up a sweat (or, if you’re fortunate, maybe you’ll choose to buy a treadmill for home or a home gym
If you’re struggling, don’t sweat. There’s a scientific way how to find the motivation to lose weight.
I personally struggled for years to find the motivation to lose weight. I always knew I wanted to be healthy, to look good, and to have toned muscles (partly for personal pride, partly to be more attractive to women). But I always said to myself, “It will take too long for me to go from where I am to where I want to be”. And because of thoughts like that I put exercise off for years.
That’s how powerful thoughts are. One negative thought, like “It will take too long,” can repeat over and over in your head for years so that you end up putting things off for years (which is one reason why it can be so much better to just live in the moment, free of thoughts).
We all experience negative thoughts. But just where, oh where, do those negative thoughts stem from, and how can we turn those negative thoughts that demotivate us into positive thoughts that motivate us to exercise?
Obviously, thoughts come from your brain. Yeah. Not rocket science, is it? Your brain creates negative thoughts that either motivate you or demotivate you. And that’s true of everything you do.
If you binge watch Game of Thrones, for instance, your brain is creating positive thoughts about Game of Thrones that make you want to watch it.
If you grab the bottle of pop instead of the water, or the chocolate bar instead of the carrot, your brain is creating thoughts that motivate you to have the pop and the chocolate.
But why would your brain create thoughts that motivate you to do the wrong thing?
Because your brain has been lied to over the years.
Your brain only wants a few things. Those things are the best way to get the motivation to lose weight.
Truth is, there are only so many things that your brains truly wants, and most of them are some form of neurochemical.
The neurochemical of desire, for instance, is dopamine. Dopamine is a pleasure chemical that is responsible for motivation. Here’s how dopamine works. Your brain anticipates dopamine in association to a specific thing or activity. “I’ll have sex, because sex will give me a huge surge of dopamine which will make me feel good,” your brain says to itself. So it then sets about making sex happen. You take your girlfriend out for dinner, treat her special, romance her, and if it all goes well you have sex, you get a surge of dopamine, you feel great. You then remember feeling great when having sex, which motivates you to get more of it.
Dopamine motivates everything you do. And were mankind 100% natural and not entirely self-destructive, this dopamine situation would be an entirely positive thing. Dopamine would motivate you to eat fruit and other healthy food, exercise, work hard, have sex, and do other positive things, because those positive things release dopamine.
But mankind is self destructive. So eventually the time came when billion-dollar corporations said to themselves, “If we can trick the brain into releasing dopamine by buying our products, we’ll get people addicted to our products and they won’t be able to stop buying them.” So what happened? Food manufacturers filled everything with artificial sugar. Cigarettes manufacturers stuffed nicotine into cancer sticks. And the media made everything either violent or sexy. And the average Joe got so addicted that they now spend every spare moment racing from TV to chocolate to alcohol to sex or adult videos.
But just how exactly does this effect your motivation to exercise?
The number one way in which your brain motivates you to exercise is through dopamine. Your brain tells itself, “If I exercise I will feel good.” And if that were all there were too it, you’d be exercising every day.
Sadly, exercise only releases X amount of dopamine. Having a cigarette, watching a movie (especially an adult movie), eating junk food… those activities release more dopamine than exercise does. And of course, exercise takes much more effort than those activities.
So now your brain says, “Well, I could exercise and feel quite good. Or I could just sit here watching TV and drinking coke and feel amazing.” What do you think your brain is going to choose? It’s like me asking you, “Would you like to earn $100 for working your butt off, or $1000 for doing nothing?” Erm, I’ll do nothing, thanks for the free money.
As I’m sure you’ve realised, with this set-up there is zero motivation for you to exercise. And there are logically only two ways in which you can motivate yourself to exercise. The first is to increase the amount of dopamine your brain will receive when you do exercise. The second is to lower the amount of unnatural dopamine you’re currently receiving. In other words, you need to create a situation in which exercising represents an increase in dopamine compared to your normal state.
This is easier to achieve than you might think. Essentially, the way how to get the motivation to lose weight is:
Increase dopamine anticipated and released through exercise
Lower unnatural dopamines so you’ll want the healthy ones more.
So, here’s the real way how to get the motivation for exercise / weight loss
- Give up your unnatural dopamines. These include artificial sugars, TV, video games, adult videos, and alcohol.
- Increase the anticipation of dopamine related to exercise. Which, in simple terms, means imagine exercise being really really fun. For instance, imagine meeting athletic people at the gym; imagine that your body is already fit and that you feel proud of your body while you’re running / working out; by yourself new shoes that you love and that you are only allowed to wear at the gym; anything else that makes the idea of exercising seem truly pleasurable.
By balancing your dopamines you will naturally recalibrate your brain. This is the best way how to get the motivation for weight loss.
If you know of any good ways to balance dopamines, or any great ways to get motivated for exercise, leave a comment. We truly appreciate all your feedback here on TheDailyMeditation.
What are the best natural ways to get dopamine? That’s the all-important question I’m going to be looking at today.
If you have good control of your dopamine levels you will know it. You’ll have high levels of motivation, you’ll feel energy coursing through your body, you’ll have a healthy sexual appetite, and you’ll have high levels of confidence.
Those are the benefits of managing your dopamine levels.
And when you fail to manage your dopamine levels? Then you’ll notice these symptoms:
- Low libido
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Lack of motivation
- memory loss
All of that and simply because you are not correctly controlling your dopamine levels.
I created this dopamine infographic to illustrate the most important facts about dopamine.
But just what is dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls communication in the brain. Dopamine is so universal you can even find it in lizards, but humans have very high levels of dopamine, and many believe that it’s the dopamine that’s responsible for making us more intelligent than other animals—which also explains why you might seem to lack intelligence if you don’t control your dopamine levels.
We get dopamine from the food we eat. We ingest tyrosine, an amino acid, that becomes dopa, and that dopa then becomes dopamine. That dopamine is then passed through the brain via dopamine machinery. If that dopamine machinery is impaired, a variety of complications can arise, including: Parkinson’s, ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s.
What this all means is that we need the right amount of dopamine in the right place at the right time.
When you control your dopamine levels you become your strongest self. With the right levels of dopamine you will be motivated, competitive, confident, and energised.
And as well as managing dopamine you might like to:
Use these techniques to increase confidence
Get motivation through meditation (which will also help you balance your dopamine)
Too much or not enough dopamine in any part of the brain leads to impairment. So you can imagine how very important it is to get the right amounts of dopamine from the right sources and at the right time.
The dopamine problem becomes more complex when you consider how it affects your life
Your brain uses dopamine to regulate itself. You’ve seen those horrible experiments performed on lab rats, right? They work like this. The scientist teaches the rat how to get a piece of cheese by performing a specific action. The cheese is nice. The rat learns that if it does that action and gets the cheese it will feel good. So the rat keeps on repeating the exact same action over and over.
Your brain is that lab rat.
Your brain wants dopamine. The natural, healthy situation is for the brain to release dopamine when a positive action is performed. You learn something new, you get a hit of dopamine, it feels good, so you continue to learn new things.
But then here comes Mr. Cigarette. Mr. Cigarette gives you a huge hit of dopamine. Your brain, essentially, says “My God that felt good. Look at the amount of dopamine I got from smoking that thing! That must be good. I’ll keep doing that until I die of ling cancer.”
Lab rat. Brain. Same deal.
And it’s here that the dopamine problem comes into play.
Many people suffer from addictions because they’ve learnt to get dopamine hits either in the wrong quantities or from the wrong sources
You will not be surprised when I say that many of the world’s largest manufacturers have succeeded precisely because they have deliberately impaired your dopamine control.
For starters, all foods that contain lots of sugar lead to a dopamine hit. Are you addicted to Coke? That’s because of the amount of sugar it contains. The sugar gives your brain a dopamine hit. Your brain says, “Wow I must have done something right here because I’m drowning in dopamine now”. You’ve trained your brain that Coke = dopamine. You’re addicted.
Smoking cigarettes? Same deal. Nicotine gives you the largest dopamine release on Earth (except for sex). You get that dopamine hit one time you’re addicted.
Those adult videos you watch when no one’s home? Yeah. Same deal. Especially if you indulge in them.
Thankfully, there are some powerful ways that you can overcome these addictions.
When you use drugs or sugar to get a huge dopamine hit, your brain then wants more dopamine, and it’s not happy with the amount it gets doing healthy activities.
If we were all perfect, we would satiate ourselves by getting healthy levels of dopamine from performing natural activities that give us dopamine. That’d be lovely.
But uh-oh, thanks to corrupt manufacturers who have intentionally given us gargantuan dopamine hits in order to make us addicted, our brains are no longer satisfied with the right amount of dopamine.
If you’ve been smoking, eating lots of sugar, watching adult videos, or taking in other huge hits of dopamine, your brain has learnt to take more dopamine than it naturally should.
That means that your brain is now not satisfied with the normal levels of dopamine. It wants the big hits. It wants the sugar, the cigarettes, etc.
So now you’ve got a brain that only feels satisfied if it’s given unhealthy levels of dopamine from unhealthy sources.
Problem. Because now you’re left two choices. Choice one: continue to perform the unhealthy action to get the unhealthy hit of dopamine, which will make you happy for a bit but ultimately kill you. Choice two: do not perform the unhealthy action, feel lousy for a while, but ultimately feel better.
Obviously the right choice here is choice two: do not do the unhealthy thing, let the brain return to its healthy state, and feel crap for a bit but ultimately get healthy.
Problem is it’s not that easy. Because your previous dopamine addiction has hijacked your brain.
Your brain wants very high levels of dopamine.
It’s learnt to get that dopamine from unhealthy actions.
If it doesn’t get those high levels of dopamine you’ll feel crappy.
When you feel crappy you will develop the symptoms of low self esteem.
When you lose self esteem you’ll start to think “Do I deserve to be happy / healthy anyway?” (if this is true for you, by the way, please use these 10 exercises for self esteem. They will combat the problem).
And when you think you don’t deserve happiness and health, well, then sod it, where are my cigarettes?
And so because of all this, it is very hard to get motivated and healthy.
So what is the solution? How do you balance your dopamine?
Truth is, while you return your brain to natural dopamine control, you will feel less than perfect. However, and this is a big however, you can make the situation so much easier on yourself. How? Give yourself high levels of dopamine from performing healthy actions.
While your brain returns to natural dopamine levels, bolster it with positive, natural, healthy activities.
You can quit smoking, give up sugar, get through your diet, stop watching adult films, and stop all those other unhealthy actions by replacing them with healthy actions. You’re killing the “bad dopamine” and replacing it with “good dopamine”.
So how do you do that? How do you get dopamine from the right sources?
In a moment I will share with you the best natural ways to get dopamine.
But first a warning. You are going to think that all these activities are bullshit.
You’re going to think “These activities won’t help me and won’t give me what I want.”
Why would you think that?
Remember, dopamine is what your brain wants. But your brain has learnt to get dopamine from the wrong places. So when I tell you “Go and exercise.” Your brain will say “Exercise doesn’t give me what I want. Smoking does”.
You see my point?
Because your brain has learnt the wrong thing you will think the right think is bullshit.
Which is fine.
So long as you understand that your current perception of the “right think” is fudged, then you can counterattack your intuitive response. Let yourself say “That’s bullshit.” Then say “That seems like bullshit because I have learnt to think the wrong way.” Then say “I’m learning to do this the right way now, so I have to just put my thoughts behind me for a second”. Then go and do the right thing even though you will not feel like doing it.
This is a challenge, by the way. And I very highly recommend that before you do this you try some beginners meditation technniques. Why? Because they will give you the peace of mind and insight that you need in order to see through your thoughts, so when your brain kicks up a stink you can stop. And you can tell yourself, “I am reacting this way because I trained my brain to react in the wrong way“. So, try some beginners meditations. They will make a big difference.
Hope that clarifies that. The wrong thing feels right. The right thing feels wrong. Do the thing that feels wrong, which the following activities will.
Okay. So here is what you are about to do. Here is where you’ll start to get your new fix. Here are the best ways to get dopamine naturally.
The best ways to get dopamine naturally
One of the best ways to get dopamine naturally is through your diet.
Foods that increase dopamine include:
- Animal products
- Fruits (apples, bananas, avocados, watermelon)
- Vegetables (beets, fava beans, leafy greens, lima beans, sea vegetables)
- Nuts (almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Green tea
- Foods containing probiotics
There are many natural health supplements that provide dopamine. The best supplements are Curcumin (found in turmeric), Gingko Biloba, L-theanine (contained in green tea), and Acetyl-l-tyrosine
You can find all the best dopamine supplements here: Dopamine
Another of the best natural ways to get dopamine is with exercise
You already know that exercise is the best thing you can do to improve your brain functioning.
Exercise is also one of the best natural ways to get dopamine.
The effects of exercise on the brain have been studied by Dr. John Ratey, psychiatrist and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Dr. Ratey’s research shows that exercise promotes the grown of new brain receptors, thereby raising baseline levels of dopamine.
Have you ever been out running when you’ve felt “Runner’s High”? That’s because you had a dopamine release caused by the physical exercise.
Importantly, you don’t need to do extraneous exercise to get a dopamine release. Even more gentle exercises like tai chi, yoga, and qi gong will provide a release of dopamine.
My personal favorite way to get dopamine is through meditation
Meditation is known to produce more than 100 health benefits. Those benefits include relaxation, increase insight, improved respiratory functioning, and heightened levels of happiness.
Recent scientific research has also shown that meditation improves dopamine levels. Given that it also helps eliminate cravings, this makes meditation one of the best things you can do to overcome addictions.
Creative hobbies also improve dopamine levels. Activities such as painting, drawing, dancing, photography, and woodworking all help to put your mind into a meditative state, which in turn improves dopamine levels.
Somewhat surprisingly, music is also a great way to improve dopamine levels. Dopamine levels improve during moments of anticipation (which is the main reason why anticipation is often better than the real thing). When you listen to your favorite song, your brain is anticipating the parts your particularly like (such as the chorus). The releases dopamine.
Learn new things: Learning something new increases dopamine production. This is mostly due to ancestry. Your ancestors needed to learn things like how to make a wheel in order to survive. Nature motivated them to do so by providing them with dopamine. Now, whenever you learn something new you get a release of dopamine and you can feel your connection to your ancestors too. Try reading a random Wiki or watching an instructional video.
Finish jobs: Another of the best ways to get dopamine naturally is to finish tasks. Every time you finish a task you get a release of dopamine, a natural incentive for finishing what you start. If you want more dopamine (and also more motivation) break a big task into a series of smaller tasks. You’ll get a dopamine hit every time you finish one of those smaller tasks. This is also why it’s often hard and intimidating to take on longer tasks, because your brain will be saying “This will take forever. When’s my next hit of dopamine?”
Go on a streak
Your brain really likes going on streaks. Maybe that’s why sports are so obsessed with win streaks. Every time you add another success to a win streak you get a hit of dopamine.
To get a win streak going, start one habit today, for instance meditate. Put an X down in a calendar saying you successfully meditated. Do it every day. Before long you’ll have a streak, which will provide you with dopamine, and that dopamine will motivate you to keep going.
Note that this is also a good way to break a habit. Every time you don’t do your habit (for instance, you have a cigarette but don’t have one) mark it down. Before long you’ll get a streak. That streak will give you dopamine (making you less inclined to need the dopamine you would get from smoking) and it will also motivate you to keep going.
And there you are, the absolute best natural ways to get dopamine.