what Mick Jagger said... – AllSwell Creative

what Mick Jagger said...

Posted by AllSwell Creative on

Hello, friend.

Last week I introduced AllSwell’s deep dive on dopamine, the molecule associated with rewards and motivation - how it drives us and why that’s important. In the article, “Dopamine, Smartphones and You: A battle for your time” Trevor Haynes writes, “In an evolutionary context, dopamine rewards us for beneficial behaviors and motivates us to repeat them.” Over. And over. Much like Mick, dopamine can make it hard to achieve satisfaction. 


Haynes explores how digital media companies are exploiting our neural chemistry set in order to make dopamine addicts out of everyone with a smartphone in-hand: 

“Because most social media platforms are free, they rely on revenue from advertisers to make a profit. This system works for everyone involved at first glance, but it has created an arms race for your attention and time. Ultimately, the winners of this arms race will be those who best use their product to exploit the features of the brain’s reward systems.”


Mitigating our dependence on devices is feasible. And being cognisant of dopamine’s effects is an incredibly healthy step, but it’s not the only one you can take. Going on a dopamine fast is a therapeutic trend intended to help break addiction patterns and let our brains naturally restore dopamine levels over time (think: phone in a locked drawer). However, please don’t overcorrect and I encourage you to consult a trained therapist before diving in. 


Meanwhile reclaiming healthy sources of dopamine, rather than binging on the stuff that’s no good for us, is another strategy to explore - what I call “dopamine push-ups.”. Consciously making swaps helps curtail unhealthy behaviors. A few to explore…


  • Community - That’s right, the company of friends is good for us. Social interaction with people you enjoy provides a nice little dopamine bath. 

  • Get uncomfortable - This sounds counterintuitive, but putting yourself in an unharmful-yet-uncomfortable physical experience provides a rush of dopamine. Think cold plunges, arduous exercise, camping not glamping. 

  • Flow state - Engage in prolonged focus, complete absorption in a task such as painting, writing, gardening, meditating. Whatever you find engrossing, where you lose track of time / yourself is a good source of dopamine. 

  • Sunbathe - Put on your spf and bask. Sunshine can increase levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters including dopamine. 


    01. What dopamine push-ups are you going to implement? 
    02. What are some of the ways you can boost your dopamine levels that serve your best self (and your community)?


    And remember dopamine isn’t the enemy, it's not inherently bad for us. I’m sharing this information as a way for us to better understand what impacts our behavior so we can be more empowered around the choices we make. So you can ask yourself, “Do I really want X or is dopamine driving?” An apt question to be exploring this Mental Health Awareness month. 


    As always, please let me know if there’s anything I can do to support your journaling practice. I’m here to help. And it turns out that being of service is actually a healthy source of dopamine, so we all win in that equation. 


    In Swellness,




    PS: Big thanks to psychiatrist Dr. Monisha Vasa for reviewing this content. It’s important to me that AllSwell’s offerings are not just well-intentioned, but professionally vetted, as well.

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