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Natural Ways to Feel Better

answered 07:38 PM EST, Wed November 06, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
I believe I have naturally very low levels of dopamine. This explains why anything that I try that increases dopamine levels feels so great to me. I am a recovering alcoholic, ex smoker, ex obese person, ex opiate addict and I never did coke or meth or I’d probably by an ex crack addict too. I have found a way after more than 20 years of abusing drugs to live without getting high. I have not touched a drug or alcohol for more than 16 months and I never intend on doing drugs again. What I am interested in knowing is if there is any way for me to naturally and lastingly raise my dopamine levels up from a 2 to a 5 or so. Does exercise cause a lasting increase in dopamine levels or do you only get a temporary increase with your runner’s high. Are there specific dietary practices that raise dopamine levels? I am willing to try anything except I am cautions with supplements. Anything that involves me taking a pill to try to feel a different way gets the wrong kinds of juices flowing in me and I’d be better off not going down that road again. I appreciate that this is an unorthodox question and I appreciate your taking the time to provide this service.

E W Says...

Yes your question is different, but it is a great one!  How can we "feel good" and make more "feel good" chemicals in our bodies without drugs?  (Congratulations on your being clean and sober - and your wisdom in avoiding things that might lead you astray.)

There are many ways to potentially increase the feel-good-ability of our bodies.  Exercise, diet, meditation, and activities are some of those potential paths.  I do believe that every body is different and we all need to find our own ways that work best.  However, we can be guided by research and experts in different fields.  

Exercise has been shown to improve mood as well as, if not sometimes better than, anti-depressant medications.  Google the subject and a number of articles will come up - look for the ones that are research-based for an informed view.  A "runner's high" is only one type of exercise benefit and different types of physical exercise can perhaps provide different benefits.  Experimenting with a variety of activities that might be enjoyable can help you find different ways to feel "better" - and maybe even different ways of feeling "better."  

Nutrition might be a neglected field in this area.  Researching nutrition and all the different opinions out there might help you find some varied nutritional paths to try.  So much of what we eat these days is so far from what our bodies evolved to process that it seems a wonder that we survive as well as we do.  Ask your doctor or nutritionist for recommendations, or your local health food store might have some ideas.  Again, read, research, give a few things a try.  

Meditation has gained a following in many arenas, and research supports mental health benefits.  Learning how to channel and focus our mental energies can lead also lead to different ways of "feeling better."  There are many different types of meditation and even schools that teach techniques.  

Acupuncture has also received research attention and some acclaim.  Traditional services may "unblock" energy pathways and assist in finding even more ways of "feeling better."  And there are many types of acupuncture out there to try.

Therapeutic massage might contribute to naturally good feelings.  And as with most of the topics here, there are many different types of massage.  I encourage research and reading of reviews to try some styles that might suit you.

Do not take on any new substances or activities without discussing with your medical doctor - especially if you have any health conditions.  If you have any concerns about "going overboard" with anything or that anything might lead you back to unhealthy practices, be sure to contact your sponsor, have friends serve as sounding boards, enlist the objective eye of a trained counselor or join a support group.

I know this response has been rather broad - but the methods of feeling well naturally are abundant and I'm sure there are more.  What is important is that you do your research, consult your doctor, and try to find healthy paths that suit you.  Congratulations, again, on your sobriety and I wish you all the best in your new, healthy journey! 

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Page last updated Nov 07, 2013

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