The Tuesday Two © – September 5 2023

1. Integration – I am preparing a workshop on Work Life Balance Integration.  The concept that work and life can be balanced is baloney. That concept has caused a lot of women, mothers, and wives a lot of grief.  It is just not possible to always find a perfect balance, nor is it necessary.  For the work from home or entrepreneurial women there are many ways that work can naturally be integrated into your personal life.  The best definition I have found for work-life integration is “the synergistic blending of our personal and professional responsibilities”.  It is important to understand that the balance will shift, and it is not a universal and absolute value.  Two people can achieve balance in very different ways and at different points along the way.  You want to find the optimal functioning between the different life domains and with as little conflict as possible.

If you think of it as a Venn diagram rather than a scale it makes more sense.  Contact me for some coaching if you would like to further explore this concept.

2. Dopamine – My brain wellness report from Dr. Amen showed that my brain type is associated with lower dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in various aspects of our physical and mental well-being, including motivation, pleasure, reward, and mood regulation. I began a deep dive into the topic.  It is important to note that I am not a doctor, just your friend who has done a ton of research and that individual responses to lifestyle changes can vary. If you’re concerned about your dopamine levels or mental wellness, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice. Here are my top takeaways.

Healthy Diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provides the necessary precursors for dopamine production. Foods high in tyrosine, an amino acid that dopamine is derived from, can be particularly beneficial. These foods include lean meats, dairy products, soy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to increase dopamine release and receptor sensitivity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week. My 3 – 4 times a week is not quite up to the measuring stick.  Time to plan more activity into my schedule.

Adequate Sleep: Quality sleep is essential for dopamine regulation. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to support optimal neurotransmitter function.  I am really trying, but my brain needs to stay off when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  Maybe I should also work hard to finish my required water amount earlier in the day.

Stress Management: Chronic stress can negatively impact dopamine levels. Engage in stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to promote a more balanced stress response.

Social Connections: Positive social interactions and relationships can stimulate dopamine release. Spend time with friends, family, and loved ones to boost your mood and overall well-being. Last week I began intentionally setting up dates with friends I haven’t seen for a while.  I need to make a habit of this.

Novelty and Challenges: Engaging in activities that challenge your brain or introduce novelty can trigger dopamine release. This might involve trying new hobbies, learning a new skill, or solving puzzles. My brain type needs excitement or stimulation to stay focused, explains why I love action movies, trying new things, visiting new places and meeting new people.

Music and Art: Enjoying music you love or engaging with art can stimulate dopamine pathways and contribute to positive emotions. Dancing around the kitchen still works well for me.

Sunlight Exposure: Sunlight exposure helps regulate dopamine receptors and supports overall mood. Spend time outdoors each day, especially in the morning. I also will remind myself to use my Happylight©

Limit Stimulants and Addictive Behaviors: While certain substances and behaviors like caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs can temporarily increase dopamine levels, they can lead to dysregulation and addiction over time. Moderation is key, sticking to my two cups of coffee a day is important.

Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can improve dopamine receptor sensitivity and contribute to emotional well-being.

Seek Pleasurable Experiences: Engage in activities that genuinely bring you joy and pleasure, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, enjoying hobbies, or experiencing nature.

Achieving a healthy balance in dopamine levels involves an overall healthy lifestyle that addresses physical, mental, and emotional well-being for me.  I would love to hear what your brain type was, and what you learned about it.  Email me.