How Taking a Holistic Approach to Healing Can Help You Achieve Your Goals in Life More Easily

Lost Your Zest For LifeHave you ever been told by someone that you’re apathetic? Have you mysteriously lost the desire to keep on doing the things that you used to enjoy doing? You know you’re a loving person, but why is that sometimes you feel so unloving and unresponsive to love, like you just can’t help it for no reason at all? And how come your poor brain can’t seem to stay alert or pay attention to the task at hand?

You know there’s nothing terribly wrong with you and you don’t want to blame yourself for anything, but how come you feel and act this way? If you look for conventional solutions you’d most probably be told that you need to see a shrink and take psych drugs for treatment.

I personally know someone who had all the above-mentioned problems. She told her loved ones about them. They in turn brought her to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with depression. And she was given drugs that didn’t help her condition. Worse, she found herself thinking suicidal thoughts when she wasn’t like that at all before she went for psychiatric consultations.

After some years she discovered the natural path to health, and eventually traced the suicidal thoughts back to the anti-depressant she used to take when she was younger. Now she is happy, motivated, able to give and receive love. She is also enjoying the fruits of a successful career, and the rewards of fulfilling relationships. And she gives no psychiatrist (or any allopathic MD for that matter) any credit for them.

She related to me that regular MDs are not trained to dig up the causes of mood and cognitive-related problems. They do know the specific brain chemicals that are involved in a particular emotional or mental disorder, but their medical training taught them to treat neuro-chemical imbalances with psychotropes, which are notorious for their deleterious and even life-threatening side effects.

“They should have just tried to increase my dopamine levels through natural means,” she said. I was intrigued by what she said and decided to do a little dopamine research of my own. In this article I am going to share with you some of the often-ignored facts about this amazing chemical messenger, and what you can do to treat dopamine imbalances naturally, sans the drugs and their negative side effects.

What’s So Dope About Dopamine?

Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that transmit or pass on information or impulses from one neuron to another neuron or to a different kind of cell. There are many neurotransmitters in your body that perform vital functions when it comes to cognition and mood stabilization. Dopamine is the key neurotransmitter that enables us to feel motivation and excitement.

We become mentally sharp and alert when we enough dopamine in our brain. We remember things and learn more easily as well. It is also associated with the brain’s reward system, or the ability to experience pleasure and pain. Other functions of dopamine include motor control and regulation of the hormones prolactin and growth hormone. It also influences immune activity and regulates blood circulation.

Dopamine Deficiency: Causes And Symptoms

So what happens when you’re low on dopamine? Symptoms of low levels of dopamine are:

  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Feelings of boredom
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low energy
  • Anhedonia (loss of feelings of pleasure)
  • Mental fatigue
  • Poor focus
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Feeling cold easily
  • Weight gain
  • Caffeine addiction
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Parkinson’s disease, a neuro-degenerative disease that is also a full-blown symptom of severe dopamine deficiency

If you have ticked one or more of the symptoms above then it is very important to know what caused the deficiency in the first place. Some causes of dopamine depletion include:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of sleep
  • Drug addiction, particularly to cocaine and amphetamines
  • Chronic stress
  • Alcoholism
  • Obesity
  • Overconsumption of caffeine and refined sugar
  • Use of medication, especially anti-depressants

Okay. So maybe you can clearly see now why you are low on dopamine. But fret no further. There are some things that you can do without taking recourse to purported solutions that will only aggravate your problem in the end.

Conventional Modes Of Healing Versus Holistic Approaches

The latest dopamine studies are centred on developing new prescription drugs that can increase dopamine production for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and ADHD. Take note that they just treat or manage both disorders. They CANNOT reverse these conditions because they simply do not have the raw materials that will enable the brain and body to eliminate the causes.

Drugs can terribly disrupt the brain’s delicate neuro-chemical balance. The solution then is to establish neurotransmitter balance naturally, by applying holistic solutions. Personally, I’d rather listen to Hippocrates and James Wong (and maybe do a bit of Jack LaLane) if I have dopamine deficiency, than popping psychotropic or synthetic dopaminergic drugs into my mouth.

Also, I firmly believe that we have to go beyond the physical to create health and promote healing. This is what holistic health is all about. How is the person emotionally? Mentally? Spiritually? Western medicine doesn’t look at these 3 other aspects of our humanity. It can’t even get the physical aspect right, because it’s too focused on symptoms and their treatment, not on health creation per se.

I am not slamming mainstream medicine. The glaring problem with it though, is that it focuses too much on symptomatology, not on the root cause of disease. It treats the symptoms of the disease, but not the origin of the disease itself. Yes, genes can play a role in the development of certain diseases, but people should be looking at their faulty lifestyle habits as well.

How is it that not all children of diabetic parents develop diabetes? That’s because some of them live in such a way that they do not awaken their diabetes genes. They eat healthy food. They exercise. They get enough sleep. They practice stress reduction. They don’t smoke or drink. By adopting positive lifestyle habits they have basically rid themselves of the causes of not just diabetes but a slew of other immuno-suppressive diseases.

And the amazing thing is that these same measures, with a little tweaking, can be employed to increase dopamine production as well. This is the power of the holistic approach. It can treat many health problems at the same time without medicinal drugs.

Holistic Self-Care Tips To Correct Dopamine Imbalance

Yes, the Western medical model is teeming with it’s own pitfalls, but do you know that natural methods have their own pitfalls too? There aren’t too many and they aren’t as bad as those of conventional medicine though. The key is to observe moderation in everything. The following tips are helpful if you suffer from a mild case of dopamine deficiency.

Go beyond the dopamine-enhancing diet.

The food-mood connection is undeniably strong, so yes, do eat dopaminergic foods rich in tyrosine such as soy products (fermented are best, such as miso, tempeh, natto, fuyu, and yogurt), almonds, avocados, dairy, and the superfood spirulina. But don’t forget to eat foods that will support overall neurotransmitter production as well.

You won’t become schizophrenic or psychotic just from eating too much dopaminergic foods (other important factors would have to be present as well). But, you may experience fatigue, anxiety, pessimism, fear, and rage if you do not also focus on eating serotogenic foods (or clean, fiber-rich whole carb foods) as well.

So what am I really saying? Eat as many varieties of whole foods as possible. Eating the same foods over and over again won’t just be boring to the taste buds; it will be jarring to the digestive and immune system as well, especially if the foods are of the toxic and denatured kind. You don’t want any kind of physiological stress, coz this would lead to chronic pain and disease in the long run. Try to eat as low on the food chain as you can, ie, eat more fresh, organic plant foods that will clean up your body and put it back in balance.

Take the right supplements.

L-tyrosine is one of the recommended supplements for the natural treatment of dopamine deficiency. Mucuna pruriens is the natural/herbal version of the synthetic drug L-dopa, which has been shown to help patients suffering from Parkinson’s. Rhodiola and green tea supplements can also help boost your dopamine reserves naturally while providing other benefits to your body.

The best way to obtain the full spectrum of nutrients our body needs is by getting them from nutrient-dense whole foods. But we are in a compromised situation right now thanks to modern farming practices, industrial and environmental toxins, and radiation in the air and ocean. Omega 3 fats are necessary for neurotransmitter production.

Afraid of the mercury and radioactive chemicals you’ll get from fish? Good!, Try flax, borage, or evening primrose oil instead.

Get enough exercise on a regular basis.

Endorphins are another group of neurotransmitters that have similar functions as dopamine. Like dopamine, endorphins are natural anti-depressants. How many people have experienced overall state of well-being just by incorporating exercise into their health regimen? That’s because the body is flooded with endorphins after every workout. Just make sure you exercise long enough, and that your exercise of choice is challenging enough.

The trick is to find the right exercise program that works for you. I, in particular have reaped great results in following the P90x classic workout schedule. Not only did I start to feel stronger during and after following it; I also began to think and feel more positive about myself and life in general. There are many P90x reviews that you can find online to help you decide whether it’s the right program for you or not.

The program does require the use of a pull-up bar and a pair of dumbbells. I am currently loving a pair of sleekly designed adjustable dumbbells by Bowflex. Again, you can check out Bowflex dumbbell reviews on the net to see if they’re the perfect fitness equipment for you too.

Avoid pharmaceutical drug dependence.

Prolonged use of synthetic drugs does more harm than good. Why? Because the body was not designed to fully recognize them, much less run on them. Artificial chemicals, which prescription and over-the-counter drugs definitely are, tax the liver and eventually burden the immune system. So if you have health conditions other than dopamine deficiency it would be good if you also seek natural solutions to treat and reverse them.

Practice relaxation.

Stress inhibits your body’s production of neurotransmitters, so find ways to reduce stress on a daily basis. Taking a walk or doing some stretching exercises can help your body relax. Watching a funny movie or reading an interesting book can help de-stress the mind. Talking to a friend or loved one can easily cheer up the heart. And trusting a Higher Power in all things can easily unburden a tired and weary spirit.

These are just some basic tips to help you jack up your dopamine levels naturally. Working with a holistic healthcare practitioner is still the ideal thing to do, especially if you are suffering from moderate to severe dopamine deficiency. An alternative medical doctor can recommend more potent supplements for you as well. He or she will also run specific tests on you to help you track your progress and achieve your health goals more easily.

Act Now For Health, Happiness, And Success

Having optimal amounts of dopamine would mean having healthy motivation, which is one of the prerequisites for success and happiness. If you’re not motivated, how do you accomplish anything at all, and if you’re experiencing anhedonia, if you don’t find pleasure in your achievements, then how do you sustain them? If you have no excitement over anything, then what is the point of being in this life?

Find your true passions, but at the same time, DO fix the neuro-chemical imbalances that are affecting you in the most insidious ways. Educate yourself on the power of a positive lifestyle in healing disease as much as you can. And just like my friend, you might find yourself delighted with the results when you apply the principles.

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