Maybe You Need a Daily Dose of Dopamine
One of the things I have learned over the past 7 years is the importance of moving my body every day. The link between exercise, even moderate exercise and productivity is rock solid. Studies like this one, and this one and even this one prove the fact: The most productive, successful and happy people are the ones that work out regularly. For most of them it is everyday. And for the vast majority, they get that movement in the morning.
I started walking in 2009 in the midst of a nasty and prolonged divorce fight. I was desperate for a way to clear my head because the separation and full responsibility of being a single mom was weighing on me. To put it simply, I was becoming a critical, fault-finding, negative Nelly. What I discovered is that daily walk gave me so much more than 30 minutes of peace and clarity.
Exercising releases dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter in your brain. Something about that substance changes everything in your outlook. I can tell the difference in my day when I skip my morning walk. Things don’t go as smoothly. Or maybe it’s that my ability to handle unexpected events is lessened when I don’t have that short blast of fresh air and feel good brain activity.
The more I studied the link between movement, happiness and productivity, the more I realized that even a short, 10 minute walk could impact my day. Even the simple act of standing during a conference call can make a difference. The research on sitting for 8 hours daily and the damage it does to your body is pretty persuasive. Learning to incorporate small changes to move more has made a big difference in my outlook and in the amount of work I am able to accomplish in my day.
So this morning when I did my walk, I was mindful to enjoy the beauty of the spring day. To really listen to the song hundreds of birds were singing in the trees all around the neighborhood. And to push myself and get my power walk on as I welcome my friend dopamine to release it’s good feelings all over my brain.
Do you get a daily dose of dopamine to help improve your day?