The saying “Curiosity killed the cat” is, to say the least, curious. Because, according to new medical research, being curious and discovering new things were actually found to increase life span by increasing dopamine production.

This article could equally have been called: WHY DOPE IS GOOD FOR YOU.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have discovered how a gene in the brain’s dopamine system can play an important role in prolonging lifespan: it must be coupled with a healthy environment that includes exercise.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and helps regulate physical mobility and emotional response. In other words, dopamine is the main reason why we can focus and achieve great things even if the payout isn’t immediate or obvious.

The researchers found that the dopamine D2 receptor gene (D2R) significantly influences lifespan, body weight and locomotor activity, but only when combined with an enriched environment that included social interaction, sensory and cognitive stimulation and, most critically, exercise.

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Increase dopamine in your system helps you stay focused, productive and motivated.

If you want to be productive and get things done, here’s a few ways to boost your dopamine levels.

1. Discover New Things: Dopamine production is actually triggered when we find something new and exciting in front of us.

2. List Down Your Small Tasks: Dopamine is also released after you finish something, whether it’s a big job or a small task. So it follows that To get more hits, break down those big jobs into smaller ones.

3. Listen to Music: Studies have shown that if you listen to music you really enjoy, the brain releases dopamine as a response.

4. Increase Your Tyrosine Intake: Tyrosine is the building block of dopamine, so make sure that you have enough of this protein in you. Some rich sources of tyrosine:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Eggs
  • Green Tea
  • Milk
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt

5.   Be careful about gut health: Endotoxins that we absorb from the gut in case of bacterial dysbiosis inhibit the production of dopamine. Make sure you’re topped up on healthy bacteria and stay away from antibiotics. And also:

  • Eat lots of probiotic foods, mostly fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and kimchi.
  • Get enough sleep so your gut can have a rest
  • Don’t overindulge in fatty and sugary foods: so less of those means less endotoxins.

6.     Get plenty of exercise: During exercise, your brain releases fun chemicals like serotonin, endorphins and dopamine.

7.       Make stuff or take up a creative hobby: when you’re deep into a creative work, you enter a state of hyper-focus where you feel you can do anything? That state is called flow and it’s very dopamine-releasing.

8.      Meditate: meditation, prayer or simple self-reflection, all these activities are linked to increased dopamine levels.