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You may be on a wellness journey, trying to improve your health, seeing coaches, eating well, doing all of the good things… but there is just a sap in your vitality for some reason…

What’s going on?

What do you think might be one of the leading causes in your life right now that may be depleting your energy?

One of the things I believe is happening is that our biochemistry is being dysregulated due to small dopamine addiction activities, such as checking our phones, checking messages, getting on the computer, scrolling through social media, etc.

The nature of social media is specifically designed to be addictive and keep you coming back – exactly like an addictive drug. The brain is naturally drawn to the easiest route of getting what it wants, and you don’t have to do anything hard or challenging to get the hit from your phone!

What you may not realise is that every time you do this, there is a short spike of dopamine and then a drop and that drop disrupts the biochemistry until you do it again.

So these quick dopamine “hits” cause dysregulation in our biochemistry, which absolutely affects your vitality and energy levels.

I know for me, as my work has been busier, my social media and messages have been much busier too. I have come to realize that it is having an effect on my overall wellbeing. I feel tired and feel like my brain is drained.

I realized recently that this dopamine thing may be an issue, so I have been experimenting with reducing my screen time, and it makes a huge difference to my energy levels as well as my time!

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What’s the problem with dopamine if it’s one of the “feel good” hormones?

It’s true that it is a happy hormone. Natural, balanced release of dopamine is a good thing! It is when the natural balanced release turns into constant quick releases from activities which are not necessarily productive in the long term.

The healthy use of dopamine is our desire to go for something satisfactory, meaningful reaching goals, living purpose, living your passion, living your values. What is it that you really want to be doing in your life?

When you are living in alignment with your values, this is when dopamine rewards your brain for doing the best for yourself.

It is much more long lasting and sustained, and your nervous system is in a more balanced state of being. More vitality runs through you.

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Think of this much like a quick spike of energy from candy, as opposed to slow release energy from a potato! The quick energy from the candy quickly spikes your sugar up, causing a ”crash”. Whereas when you eat the potato, it is more complex for your body to break down, causing a more prolonged, sustained release.

This is a great way to think about the dopamine release we are talking about here.

If you keep eating the candy, getting quick sugar hits, your insulin stores start to deplete.

When you keep getting the quick hits of dopamine, the stores start to deplete.

Discern where you are getting your satisfaction from: Is it meaningful and purposeful or is it quick hits from an addiction?

If you’re feeling drained, maybe think about social media use and phone and computer time and try setting some boundaries around that. Setting out time blocks for when you’re getting on your screen and how often you’re checking messages is a great way to take back control of your time.

Love and light,

Dr. Cat

Cathleen King, DPT

I'm an expert on chronic illness, chronic trauma, relationship/attachment repair, and inner child healing. I’ve got the rare combination of in-depth doctoral-level education and training as a physical therapist, and many years of coaching others in wellness and lifestyle education. And, I have been through my own heroine’s journey of spending nearly 2 decades of my life navigating through deep, debilitating illness and finally found my way out!

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