Tag Archives: depression

Increase Dopamine

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is the compound that fuels our drive and motivation. It increases attention, improves cognitive function, and stimulates our creativity. It makes us more social and extroverted and helps us form romantic and parental bonds. However, dopamine, when too high, can also have its drawbacks.

What Does Dopamine Do?

The most important dopamine pathway in the brain controls reward-motivated behavior.

Most types of rewards, such as new experiences or accomplishment, can increase dopamine levels in the brain. In addition, most addictive drugs and behavioral addictions can increase dopamine.

In addition, dopamine has many other important roles in humans, including movement, memory, attention, learning, sleep, and mood.

Dysfunctions of the dopamine system contribute to Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, restless legs syndrome, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Dopamine Diet: An Ideal Diet to Increase Dopamine

The following diet will be optimal for increasing dopamine:

Our bodies produce dopamine from the amino acid tyrosine. In turn, tyrosine can be produced from phenylalanine.

Bananas especially contain high dopamine and L-dopa levels [5, 6].

Bananas especially contain high dopamine and L-dopa levels [5, 6].

Saturated fats can suppress dopamine. Equivalent intake of monounsaturated fats (from olive oil) protects against dopamine decreasing [7].

Green tea increases dopamine in rats [8, 9], including its constituents Theanine and Caffeine.

Caffeine’s performance-enhancing effects are accomplished via dopamine. Caffeine maintains a higher dopamine concentration especially in those brain areas linked with attention [10].

You want to consume cholesterol-rich foods because cholesterol is a precursor to Pregnenolone, which increases dopamine in animals [11, 12].Saturated fats can suppress dopamine. Equivalent intake of monounsaturated fats (from olive oil) protects against dopamine decreasing.

Green tea increases dopamine in rats, including its constituents Theanine and Caffeine.

Caffeine’s performance-enhancing effects are accomplished via dopamine. Caffeine maintains a higher dopamine concentration especially in those brain areas linked with attention.

You want to consume cholesterol-rich foods because cholesterol is a precursor to Pregnenolone, which increases dopamine in animals.

Magnesium has antidepressant effects that can partially be tied to increasing dopamine activity in the brain [13].

Curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, increases dopamine concentration in the brain [14, 15, 16], by inhibiting MAO-mediated dopamine break down [17].

Resistant starch is a type of soluble fiber that increases butyrate. Butyrate may increase dopamine levels [18, 19].

Folate is needed for the production of dopamine (and serotonin). When your body is low in folate, it cannot produce dopamine and other monoamines efficiently, which may result in depression [20, 21].

Nutritional or brewer’s yeast is rich in uridine. Uridine-5′-monophosphate increases dopamine levels in the rat brain [22].

Seafood, which contains DHA, can increase dopamine levels in the brain [23, 24, 25].

Oregano increases dopamine levels by decreasing dopamine break down and reuptake [26].

Both tyrosine and phenylalanine are found in protein-rich foods [27]:

  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Fish
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Pumpkin and Sesame seeds
  • Dairy: Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Cottage cheese
  • Legumes: Soy, Lima beans, Peanuts

Lifestyle to Increase Dopamine

1) Sun/Being outside/Bright Light increases dopamine

Bright light can improve our mood. This may partially be due to dopamine.

A study shows that light may increase dopamine, and thereby improve mood in women with mild seasonal mood disorder [28].

Light also stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, and this is beneficial for maintaining good vision [29].

2) Exercise

Exercise increases dopamine [30, 31].

A study in women showed that exercise decreases COMT activity, thereby increasing dopamine in women (in the prefrontal cortex) [32]. COMT is the enzyme that breaks down dopamine.

3) Meditation

Meditation increases dopamine release [33, 34].

However, the effects seem to be transient unless meditation is done regularly.

A study shows that long-term meditation practice is needed to induce stable changes in baseline dopamine (striatum) [35].

4) Yoga

3 months of practicing yogaincreased dopamine levels in men (in blood/circulating levels) [36].

The study revealed that yogic practices might help in the prevention of age-related degeneration….in healthy males.

5) Touch

Pleasurable physical contact can increase dopamine.

In rats, it was shown that stroking increases dopamine release (nucleus accumbens) [37].

Tickling, as a form of play behavior in adolescent rats, also increases dopamine release (nucleus accumbens) [38].

In early life, stimulation from touching improves spatial working memory in rats, possibly by improving dopamine function [39].

6) Massage therapy increases dopamine

Massage therapy increases dopamine, with a 31% increase of urinary dopamine in people [40].

Massage increased dopamine levels in pregnant women with depression [41] and in adolescents with bulimia [42].

7) Music

Parts of the brain release dopamine when listening to pleasurable music (striatum, nucleus accumbens) [43, 44, 45, 46].

Not just listening, but creating and performing music also produce dopamine [47].

Food to Increase Dopamine

8) Tyrosine- and phenylalanine-rich food

Our bodies produce dopamine from the amino acid tyrosine. In turn, tyrosine can be produced from phenylalanine [4]. Both tyrosine and phenylalanine are found in protein-rich foods [27]: chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and soy.

Bananas especially contain high dopamine and L-dopa levels [5, 6].

9) Unsaturated fat

Saturated fats can suppress dopamine. Equivalent intake of monounsaturated fats protects against dopamine decreasing [7].

Supplements That Increase Dopamine

10) Tyrosine

dopamine_production increase dopamine

Tyrosine supplementation increases dopamine levels in the brain [48, 49, 50].

A study shows that tyrosine supplementation effectively enhances cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and/or cognitively demanding situations when dopamine is temporarily depleted [51, 48].

11) Green Tea

Green tea increases dopamine in rats (in blood, stress model) [8, 9].

Theanine, one of the major amino acid components in green tea, increases dopamine in animals [52, 53, 54].

12) Caffeine

Caffeine increases dopamine release (striatum, nucleus accumbens) [55, 56].

Caffeine’s performance-enhancing effects are accomplished via dopamine. Caffeine maintains a higher dopamine concentration especially in those brain areas linked with attention [10].

13) Pregnenolone

Pregnenolone sulfate increases dopamine in animals (striatum, nucleus accumbens) [11, 12].

14) Magnesium

Magnesium has antidepressant effects that can partially be tied to increasing dopamine activity in the brain [13].

15) St. John’s Wort

A number of studies have shown that St. John’s Wort, an herbal anti-depressant, increases dopamine content in the brain (nucleus accumbens, striatum) [57, 58, 59, 60, 61].

16) Gingko

Gingko biloba increases dopamine and dopamine neuron activity (PVN, VTA, Nucleus Accumbens) [62, 63, 64]. This increase in dopamine may partially explain the improvement of cognitive function observed with Gingko supplementation.

17) Curcumin

Curcumin increases dopamine concentration in the brain [14, 15, 16], by inhibiting MAO-mediated dopamine break down [17].

18) Butyrate

Butyrate may increase dopamine levels in animals in response to toxic injuries (striatum) [18, 19]. You can get butyrate in the diet by consuming soluble fibers found in fruits and vegetables or ghee.

19) Folate

Folate is found in leafy greens/vegetables and is needed for the production/synthesis of dopamine (and serotonin). When your body is low in folate, it cannot produce dopamine and other neurotransmitters (monoamines) efficiently, which may result in depression [20, 21].

20) Huperzine A

Huperzine A is a substance that is known to increase acetylcholine, but it also increases dopamine levels 129% above baseline in rats (cortex) [65].

This substance may help with treating drug addiction [66].

21) SAM-e

S-Adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM-e) is an over-the-counter dietary supplement commonly used to treat depression. SAMe helps in the production of dopamine and other monoamines, causing elevations in dopamine levels [67].

22) Shilajit

Shilajit is a naturally occurring biomass found in the Himalayas. In traditional Indian medical practice to be useful in the treatment of nervous disorders, epilepsy and as an antistress agent.

Shilajit increases the levels of neuronal dopamine in the brain, which has an anxiety suppressing action [68].

23) Uridine

Uridine-5′-monophosphate increases dopamine levels in the rat brain when the neurons are activated (striatum) [22]. Uridine is found very concentrated in nutritional and brewer’s yeast, meat and fish.

24) Fish Oil

Seafood/Fish Oil/DHA can increase dopamine levels in the brain in rats (striatum). Dopamine levels were also 40% greater in the frontal cortex of rats fed fish oil. DHA treatment led to an 89% rise in tyrosine-hydroxylase terminals within the striatum in lesioned animals [23, 24, 25].

25) Ginseng

Ginseng components can increase levels of dopamine in the brain and have beneficial effects on attention, cognitive processing, sensorimotor function and auditory reaction time in healthy subjects [69].

However, ginseng can also blunt dopamine release in response to other stimulants such as nicotineand cocaine [70, 71].

26) Danshen

Red sage, also known as danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), may increase dopamine in cells (striatum) [72].

27) Resveratrol

Resveratrol can increase dopamine levels in the brain in animals (frontal cortex, striatum). Resveratrol treatment in old rats increased dopamine by 53% (striatum) [73, 74].

28) Oregano

Oregano extract increases dopamine levels by decreasing dopamine break down and reuptake in animals [26].

29) Carvacrol

Carvacrol, present in the essential oil of many plants including oregano and thyme oils, acts as an antidepressant by activating the dopamine system in mice [75].

At low concentrations (what’s in oregano and supplements), carvacrol increases dopamine. However, in high concentrations, it may decrease dopamine levels [76].

30) Clary sage

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) oil increases dopamine activity in rats, which contribute to its anti-depressant effects [77].

31) Bacopa

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) extract can increase dopamine in rats (in the cortex and hippocampus) and have a nootropic effect [78, 79].

32) Mucuna pruriens

Mucuna pruriens has a high concentration of L-Dopa (4 – 7%), which is a precursor of dopamine [80].

Mucuna pruriens, an ayurvedic plant, was shown to increase dopamine in mice [81, 82].

33) Catuaba

The Brazilian medical plant catuaba (Trichilia catigua), increases dopamine release and may have dopamine-mediated antidepressant effects [83].

The herbal product containing this plant, catuama, has similar effects [84].

34) Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) increases brain dopamine levels [85].

35) Kava

Higher doses of kava (Piper methysticum) increase levels of dopamine in rats (nucleus accumbens). Individual compounds isolated from kava can both increase or decrease dopamine concentration [86, 87].

However, in a couple of cases, blocked dopamine function has also been observed [88].

36) Lactobacillus plantarum

The probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum can increase dopamine in the brain in mice (striatum), and could potentially improve anxiety-like behaviors and psychiatric disorders [89, 90].

35) Fresh Cut Grass/Essential Oils

Hexanal is a “green” odor compound found in plants that may increase dopamine in rats (striatum) [91, 92]. Increasing dopamine is a potential mechanism in which green odors, such as fresh cut grass and plant essential oils, may improve mood and attention.

36-41) Flowering Quince, Psoralea corylifolia, Mycoleptodonoides aitchisonii, Blue trumpet vinePrickly nightshade, Gardenia jasminoides

Flowering quince, the fruit of Chaenomeles speciosa used in Chinese traditional medicine, increases dopamine levels by inhibiting the dopamine transporter (DAT) [93].

Psoralea corylifolia fruit/seed extract and its components increase dopamine [94, 95]. This plant is used both in Ayurveda and Chinese traditional medicine.

The edible mushroom Mycoleptodonoides aitchisoniiincreases dopamine [96].

Blue trumpet vine (Thunbergia laurifolia) is a Thai herbal medicine used to treat drug addiction. It works by increasing dopamine [97, 98].

Prickly nightshade (Solanum torvum) increases dopamine and shows antidepressant activity [99].

Gardenia jasminoides can increase dopamine by inhibiting MAO-A and B [100].

Hormones that Increase Dopamine:

42) Estrogen

Estrogen may increase dopamine. Women act more impulsively in the early as opposed to the late phase of the menstrual cycle [101].

In rats, estrogen-induced improvements in recognition memory were shown to be due, in part, to increased dopamine [102].

However, dopamine’s relationship to cognitive performance is not linear – dopamine function follows an ‘inverted U-shaped’ curve, where optimal dopamine results in maximal function and both insufficient or excessive levels lead to dysfunction [103]. That is why too much estrogen is not beneficial.

43) Ghrelin

Ghrelin stimulates dopamine release in rats (amygdala, nucleus accumbens, VTA, prefrontal cortex) [104, 105].

Dopamine Drugs/Agonists

44) Nicotine

Nicotine “hi-jacks” the reward circuitry in the brain by increasing dopamine release (striatum, VTA, amygdala, nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex) [106, 107104].

45) L-dopa

dopamine_production2 increase dopamine

L-dopa is made from tyrosine, and then converted into dopamine. Basically, it is the precursor of dopamine [108].

46) Bromantane

Bromantane increases the amount of dopamine in the brain by increasing its synthesis from tyrosine (increases Tyrosine Hydroxylase, AAAD) [109, 110].

Enhancement of dopamine is observed in the hypothalamus, striatum, ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, and other regions [111112113].

By increasing dopamine, Bromantane increases alertness and wakefulness [114] and improves short-term memory, motivation, planning abilities, and attention [110].

47) Tianeptine

Tianeptine increases the release of dopamine in rats (nucleus accumbens > striatum) [115].

48) Phenibut

Phenibut is a nootropic drug that stimulates dopamine receptors [116].

49) Alcohol

Dopamine release may contribute to the rewarding effects of alcoholand may thereby play a role in promoting alcohol consumption (nucleus accumbens) [117].

50) Methylphenidate/Amphetamines

Amphetamine exerts rewarding and reinforcing effects by elevating dopamine and prolonging dopamine receptor signaling [118].

Methylphenidate works in the treatment of ADHD by increasing levels of dopamine in children’s brains.

Previous research has shown that some people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have too many dopamine transporters, which results in low levels of dopamine in the brain.

The drug seems to raise levels of dopamine by blocking the activity of dopamine transporters, which remove dopamine once it has been released [119].

51) Modafinil

Modafinil seems to inhibit the reuptake of dopamine by dopamine transporter, thereby increasing the concentration in humans [120, 121].

52) Deprenyl

Deprenyl (Selegiline) increases dopamine by blocking MAO-B, an enzyme that breaks down dopamine [122].

53) MDMA

MDMA/Ecstasy increases dopamine [123].

54) Cocaine

Cocaine inhibits the dopamine transporter responsible for dopamine recycling, thereby increasing the levels [124].

Ways to Decrease Dopamine

Drugs and Supplements that Decrease Dopamine

1) Anti-psychotics

In cases of schizophrenia, you can use anti-psychotic drugs to lower dopamine signaling by blocking the receptors [125].

2) Melatonin

Melatonin suppresses dopamine activity [126].

3) Lithium

Lithium impairs dopamine release [127, 128].

4) Manganese

Long-term manganese decreases dopamine release in the brain [129, 130].

A study showed that manganese exposure, even within the safety limit, decreased dopamineproduction in primates [131].

5) Liriodenine

Liriodenine inhibits dopamine production and decreases dopamine levels [132].

6) Salvinorin A

Derived from the plant Salvia divinorum, Salvinorin A decreases dopamine [133].

7) 5-HTP

Serotonin shares the same conversion and breakdown enzymes with dopamine.

Long-term supplementation with 5-HTP, the immediate precursor of serotonin, can cause dopamine depletion, which can worsen neurological and psychiatric diseases [134].

Conditions That Decrease Dopamine

1) Inflammation

Inflammation decreases dopamine [135]. That’s why we feel less motivated and more sluggish when we are sick [135].

2) Maternal Deprivation

Maternal deprivation of rat pups leads lower dopamine levels. However, these pups reared in isolation have higher levels in response to stress [136].

3) Diet High in Saturated Fats

Saturated fats can suppress dopamine [7, 137].

4) Chronic Sugar Intake

Sugar acutely increases dopamine, which, over time, leads to a reduced number of D2 receptors and possibly a reduction in dopamine itself, leading to desensitization. These effects would not be due to the acute effects of sugar, but rather would occur over weeks to months with chronically elevated and intermittent sugar ingestion [138].

5) Iron Deficiency

Iron is a cofactor for tyrosine hydroxylase, a key enzyme in dopamine production [139]. Iron-deficient rats have reduced brain dopamine levels [139].

Low brain iron stores may contribute to ADHD symptoms because low iron levels in the brain can alter the activity of dopamine [140].

Weaning rats fed an iron-deficient diet showed decreased physical activity and increased anxiety-like behavior with a reduction of brain dopamine receptors [141].

However, some studies indicate iron deficiency has the exact opposite effect [142].

Trich Thinking vs. Recovery Thinking

Trichotillomania Way of Thinking vs. Recovery Way of Thinking

1. T: I have to pull out my hair. R: I can do some thing else that is positive.

2. T: Pulling out my hair is fun. R: What is fun about being bald?

3. T: The white/kinky/thick/whatever hairs must go. R: All hairs are good hairs. I need them all for a healthy head of hair, etc.

4. T: I’ll just pull out one hair. R: This is a lie trich tells me. I can rarely just stop at one hair.

5. T: When I get that itchy or “trich sensation”, I have to pull my hair. R: I can wash my hair or scratch my head instead.

6. T: It’s ok to use the mirror to find good hairs to pull. R: Why would I want to pull out my hair and create more bald spots? I will stay away from the mirror and temptation.

7. T: It’s ok to use tweezers to get those small hairs. R: Again, why would I want to pull out new growth and create more bald spots? I will use my tweezers for the unwanted hairs only, then put them away.

8. T: When I’m stressed I need to pull out my hair. R: I can take deep breaths, meditate or go for a walk to relax my body, or I can destress with a nice bubble bath. I can do so many other healthy things to relax my body instead of pulling. Pulling really doesn’t help me to feel less stressed any way, because I know that by pulling I will be creating new bald spots. Everyone has stress in life. I must learn to be with my stress with out pulling out my hair.

9. T: When I’m bored I need to pull out my hair. R: Can’t I think of some thing more fun to do than pull out my hair when I’m bored? Why not do a hobby, a sport, a puzzle, a craft…any thing but pulling!

10. T: When I’m tired I need to pull out my hair. R: I can go to sleep instead. How many times do I stay up way past when my body tells me that I am tired, only to start pulling out my hair? I must go to bed!

11. T: When I’m depressed I need to pull out my hair. R: I can get help for my depression from a psychiatrist and/or therapist. Pulling out my hair will only increase my depression, because I feel sad when I have bald spots.

12. T: I have to make both brows look the same. R: Symmetry is not important. New growth is! In time, once my brows have had a chance to come back, both brows will look the same. By trying to make both brows even, I risk pulling more than I want to.

13. T: Now that my hair is filling in, I can lose a few hairs with out any noticeable damage. R: No I can’t! Once I start pulling, I have a hard time stopping. A few hairs a day over time will still lead to bald spots. Small or large amounts of pulling are both dangerous behaviors.

14. T: I’ll quit pulling tomorrow. R: You know what they say…”Tomorrow never comes!” I will make today the day that I stop pulling.

15. T: I can play with my hair this time with out pulling. R: Touching my hair leads to playing with my hair, playing with my hair leads to pulling. I will keep my hands down!

16. T: I love to play with the hairs after I pull them. R: Playing with the hairs only reinforces my trichotillomania, so I must not do this. I must break the trich rituals in order to be free of trichotillomania.

17. T: Some day my trich will go away, until
then I will continue to pull. R: Trich is for life. It will not magically go away. I have to work at my recovery in order to break free of this disorder.

18. T: I can learn to live with this longer hair, even if I am pulling right now. R: When I am pulling, it is hard to stop. I must cut my hair short so that I can get a break from the pulling. I have no urges when my hair is really short. I won’t risk more damage to my hair, which will take longer to grow back.

19. T: My hair will grow back, so I can pull out my hair today. R: Just because my hair will grow back doesn’t mean that I can keep pulling. Why would I want to postpone my regrowth and my recovery?

20: T: I’ll keep on pulling until I see significant damage in the mirror. R: It’s not ok to keep pulling! Any damage means that it will take longer before I get all my hair back. Trich makes excuses so that I keep pulling! This is one I have told myself often.

21. T: I have to check the mirror to see if my hair is regrowing. R: This is obsessive and obsessiveness leads to pulling. I take pictures of my hair now once a month and stay away from the mirror and obsessing.

22. T: Concentrating on individual hairs makes it fun to pull and keeps me in the trich way of thinking. R: I concentrate on thinking of my hair as a whole unit. I need all those hairs to make a full head of hair, a set of brows or a set of lashes.

23. T: I need to pull out my hair when I procrastinate. It bothers me that I am not doing what I need to do, which creates a stressful mood and then I want to pull. R: I can get up and do 5 minutes of what I need to do. I can do some thing for 5 minutes! Then once I am started, it will probably be easier to keep going and I will get what I need done and feel good about myself. Even if I quit after 5 minutes today, if I work 5 minutes on what needs doing each day, soon it will be done, therefore eliminating my stress and helping me to feel better about myself.

24. T: My hair will never grow back, so what is the point in trying to stop pulling! R: It takes 2 to 6 years for hair to grow back for some one who has pulled for 20 years or more, but the good news is it will come back, which is great!

25. T: I can’t tell any one about my hair pulling, because then they will think I’m crazy and stop liking me. R: By telling others about my trich, I will lose my shame and guilt associated with it. It is not my fault that I got trich or have a hard time dealing with it. By telling others, I see that having trich is no big deal. Every one has something! And most people are very understanding and supportive once they find out more about this disorder. This was the big surprise for me when I “came out”. Also in letting others know about my trich and have them accept me any way, helps me to accept and love myself.

26. T: My hands have to go to my head and pull! R: No they don’t! I can keep my hands busy with trich toys such as a koosh ball, silly putty, stress ball, grabbing both hands, holding any thing or doing some thing to keep my hands busy in a positive way instead of pulling, such as rug hooking or other crafts and hobbies.

27. T: Every thing that I do must be perfect, if it is not, then I get stressed out and want to pull out my hair. R: Every thing that I do does not have to be perfect! No one else is perfect and I don’t expect them to be, so why should I expect perfection from myself? I can lighten up and enjoy life!

28. T: If I stop pulling, who am I? R: I am still a person who has trich, only I am in recovery.

29. T: If I stop pulling, will I do some thing else that is equally destructive? R: I won’t replace my trich with another bad habit, if I realize that this is possible. I will work at replacing my trich with good behaviors and habits.

30. T: When I am on the phone I have to pull. R: I don’t have to stay on the phone with a person that is stressing me out. I can end the conversation and therefore end my need to pull. I can also play with the cord instead of pulling, when I have to be in this stressful situation and continue talking to this person.

31. T: I am a compulsive hair puller. R: I am so much more than a person that pulls out their hair. I am some one who enjoys hobbies, sports, leisure, relaxation, work and fun! I can choose what will define me and hair pulling is not what I want to be known for.

32. T: If I pull out my hair, I’m not worthy of love. R: Yes I am! I am worthy of love whether I pull out my hair or not. Hair pulling is not all that I am. I am worthy of love from others and from myself!

33. T: What is the point of trying to quit, when I will just start again? R: I know that everything takes time to learn and I will learn to not pull out my hair. I may have setbacks, but with each successful attempt at not pulling, I get closer to quitting pulling forever!

34. T: Trich is bad! R: Trich is good. When my hand goes to my hair, I know that some thing is not right with in me. I am either bored, tired, stressed, have dirty hair, am procrastinating, am depressed, etc. and I need to do some thing about it. Trich the is first to know, long before I know these things consciously.

35. T: I have an urge to pull, therefore I must pull! R: The urge to pull will pass if I do nothing at all. I will not die from this urge. It’s ok to get urges, but I don’t have to act on them. I can take a deep breath and relax.

36. T: I’ll never be able to stop pulling! I hate myself! R: I can learn to stop pulling by learning all that I can about trich and how it affects me. I can learn what my triggers are and what to do when I get them. I can learn that beating myself up for pulling and hating myself because of my pulling only makes my pulling worse. I can learn to use positive self-talk to help decrease the urge to pull. I can learn to love myself even if I continue to pull out my hair. I am worthwhile for who I am, not for how much hair I have.

37. T: I often pull with out realizing it and zone for a long time before I am aware of my pulling. How can I help myself if I don’t know I’m pulling? R: Awareness takes time and practice. In time, I will become aware of where my hands are and stop them before they start pulling. I will give myself the time and patience to learn the new behavior of awareness.

38. T: I’m the only one that does this. R: Nope. Millions of people pull out their hair, some where between 2 and 5% of the population pulls their hair. This covers all walks of life.

39. T: Slips are bad. R: Slips are a way of learning. I ask myself why I was pulling and then try to do something different next time to either avoid that situation or to change my response to that trigger, one that is positive and not negative like pulling.

40. T: Quitting pulling is too hard. R: Quitting pulling is not too hard if I take it in small steps, have patience with my recovery and give my recovery the time that it needs to succeed.

Sources: http://www.pallister.co.uk/uk-ttm-mb/messages/37/458.html?1203158711


10 Ways to Keep from Feeling Overwhelmed

1. Let it go.

Whether it’s a critical remark from someone that is gnawing at your insides or an added task that you took upon yourself and now it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed, just let it go. There are few matters that are worth losing sleep over. And there are few things that can’t wait until  tomorrow. Or next week. Or even longer. Your health is more important than holding onto what is stressing you out.   

If you supervise others, practice the art of delegation and allow others to share the load. Know what you do best and hand off the rest to others who can do those jobs better than you. You are only one person. Cut the drama by cutting your schedule.  

2. Sleep on it.

Your mom might have told you years ago to “sleep on it” when you were faced with making a difficult decision. That’s great advice when it comes to not only important decision-making, but to anything that might overwhelm you, such as responding to an accusatory email or angry voice message, or committing to one more task that will leave you overextended. 

Studies show that the brain actually processes situations more thoroughly while you sleep. That means you wake up with a fresh – and often less emotional – perspective. Sleeping on it is the breather that will help you gain perspective and cool the heat of your emotions so you don’t overcommit to something spontaneously or out of guilt.

3. Commit to the three E’s.

I call them the Essential E’s: Eat right, exercise regularly, and embrace sleep. Fueling your body with protein and nutritious food, exercising to release those feel-good endorphins (as well as keep your heart healthier), and embracing opportunities to take a power nap or get a good seven-eight hours of sleep each night will keep you feeling fresh, rather than fatigued and overwhelmed. 

When you eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep, you can be at the top of your game and cope so much better when the drama of life hits. When we are emotionally spent, it’s usually because we are physically and nutritionally spent as well. 

4. Stay out of it.

We often start feeling overwhelmed when we’ve extended ourselves a little too far when it comes to helping others. It’s called enabling – or “rescuing” – and women are great at it. But just because something happens in your sphere of influence doesn’t mean you are the one to run to the rescue and fix it. Just because you are made aware of something doesn’t mean God is assigning it to you. Much drama – and feelings of anxiety – can be avoided when you get in the habit of running your schedule past God first. It looks like this:

1) Stop

2) Seek God’s guidance

3) Stay out of it unless God gives you a clear indication to step into it. We often reverse that. We think I will do this unless God stops me. If you’re already overscheduled, think this way instead: The answer is no unless God says “go.”

5. Trust God to control what you can’t.

My friend, Donna, learned recently that the more she rests and trusts, the more God goes to bat for her. She had just learned of her mother’s sudden death in a car accident and felt the pull to leave her business to travel and be with her family and help make final arrangements. But although her heart was saying You need to go, her head was saying It’s a busy month, you can’t leave… you have to be here to keep things running smoothly. In the midst of the mental battle, she listened closely for God’s voice: Trust Me. Go do what you need to do. 

Donna left her business in the hands of capable people and trusted God with the rest. When she returned a month later, she discovered her business experienced its highest grossing month on record! Then when she stepped away from her business a second time – this time for two months after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis – her business experienced its best two months ever, financially. God was affirming to her, again, the principle that He can take care of more while we rest than we can while we stress!

6. Stop trying to please everyone.

I’m sure at one point you knew clearly who the priority people were in your life. But that can get fuzzy when we are trying to please too many people, which is often the case when we begin to feel overwhelmed. 

So stop being a people-pleaser and realize who matter the most in your life. Who are the people who will cry the most at your funeral? Put them first. Make everyone else take a number and wait in line. In short, that’s the simplest way to live without regrets. Priority people get the first and best of your time. Everyone else will simply have to learn to wait.

7. Pray it through.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, talk to God about it. Just giving Him your concerns will help usher peace into your life and give you a little more clarity. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…” (NLT).  

You can experience that peace, not a feeling of being overwhelmed, when you pray about what is pressuring you. Praying is equivalent to taking an intermission. It quiets your soul, clears your mind, and teaches you to leave your concerns with God, who is better at taking care of them anyway. 

8. Get outdoors.

There is something therapeutic about getting outdoors, breathing the fresh air, and noticing the beauty of creation (even if it’s just some trees that line the sidewalk outside your office building). 

Getting out into nature reminds us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1) and it makes us realize that the petty things of this earth that overwhelm us don’t really matter in the scope of eternity.

9. Reduce the clutter.

Do you realize that just by cleaning off your desk, getting rid of too many clothes in your closet, or clearing the kitchen counter can help you feel less overwhelmed? Everyone needs a clean, clear space to think, work and exist. Where is yours? 

When there is less clutter, there are less choices to make and less time spent trying to find things that get lost in the mess. How many times have you lost your keys right as you are trying to leave the house? Keeping all belongings in a designated space will prevent this issue, and save you the frustration of misplacing important items. Simplify your work or living space. It brings peace.

10. Go off the grid.

Slide 10 of 10

Imagine spending a whole day (or maybe even a week!) being inaccessible – no internet, no interruptions, no demands. Just you and the quiet. Most high-level business people need this at least one or two weeks a year in order to maintain their creativity, energy, and overall sanity. But you and I can try it in smaller chunks – like for an hour or two a day – if that’s what it takes to ease your anxiety. 

The world won’t stop if you do. You’ll just get the rest you need so you can perform better when you return to your desk, computer, or cellphone. Go off the grid by carving out time periods when you cannot be reached. Shut down your computer. Turn off your cellphone. Rediscover quiet and recollect your thoughts. 

We often believe that we must respond to every request, every email, and every text or voice message immediately. That not only leaves us feeling overwhelmed, but it trains others to expect us to be at their beck and call. Practice the art of being inaccessible (so you can quietly reflect) and trust God that when you take the time to rest He won’t punish you for it by making you miss important opportunities. 

By Cindi McMenamin

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker who helps women strengthen their walk with God and their relationships. She is the author of 15 books, including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, and her newest book, Drama Free, upon which this article is based.  For more on her speaking ministry, books, or free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.



Sometimes You Are Going To Feel Lost, Alone, And Directionless

Sometimes you will have to rewrite texts and e-mails thirty times before erasing everything and decide to stay in a bubble. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by loneliness and search for comfort on the Internet. At other times, you will reach everyone who listens. Collect text or dozens of tastes on a selfie in seconds, and get excited for a split second before they feel misery again.

Sometimes you feel overwhelming emotion. You will cry until your contacts come off. You will look in the mirror as tears run down your face, and the reflection will make your stomach firmer. At other times, you will feel numb. Your mind becomes a void. You do not care about anything, let alone yourself.

Sometimes you skip your showers and let your nail polish and roots grow, because the idea of taking care of you does not even come to your mind. At other times, the little things you have taken for granted, the things that really pleased you, like sending your best friends and eating a full meal, will become invincible missions.

Sometimes you can press the alarm one, two or three times before turning it off completely so you can sleep until noon. At other times, you will fix the ceiling because the ghosts of your past are glittering around you, mocking your memories and preventing you from resting.

Sometimes you will have dark thoughts. They will sabotage themselves. They will repel the people who matter most to you. At other times, you call friends (or relatives) at two in the morning. You will catch the shoulders. They will drain all your feelings. You do not want to let go of people who take care of you. They do not want to part for a second.

Sometimes you wonder about your goal. You will feel lost, alone and without direction. And these feelings will be so insistent, a distraction from all that was important to you, will make you wonder if you will feel so forever. You will wonder if you will ever come out of the rut that caused a life of disappointment.

But even if your hope is gone, you must continue to chug. You must believe in yourself because the phrase you heard millions of times is true. It’s better. They will see the sunlight again. You will feel relieved. You will have renewed confidence. You will recognize your own value.

Climb Out of that Hole

Don’t let the weight of this world get you down. When you are in a hole, look up and ask for the help you need to climb out. Don’t stay stuck and wallow in self pity. Unfortunately this life is hard and we all have our struggles. Keep fighting and be thankful for the good things no matter how small. True joy comes from an attitude of gratitude. #tistheseason #speaklife #gracefortoday

Anxiety Disorders Typically Caused by Exposure to Narcissistic Abuse

Anxiety Disorders Typically Caused by Exposure to Narcissistic Abuse

By admin

Overt abuse techniques commonly used on preferred scapegoat targets by Cluster B people tend to cause physical health issues for victims of people who are socially aggressive, violent, and foster a complex atmosphere of Ambient Abuse in any social environment they have the opportunity to influence.

The most common targets for social abuse are highly sensitive and emotionally intelligent people who are by nature prone to behaving like humanists. People who are of lesser social means (meaning less socially powerful or influential) are also likely targets, too.

If you live in a home where abuse is prevalent, expect your health to decline and your self-conception to suffer. Being told all the time YOU are the problem for reacting to abuse in ways that are actually emotionally intelligent and PHYSICALLY appropriate tends to cause victim self-identity to suffer.

If you feel like you are unsure whether you over-react to abuse or you are justified in being upset when you are lied to, conned by a love fraud, are cheated on, are beaten or sexually assaulted, threatened with murder, etcetera… your mind and body are already experiencing symptoms of extreme C-PTSD.

Chances are you are likely to be developing a  form of Stockholm Syndrome based on trauma bonding with your Abuser.  When and if a trauma bond forms, the biology of the human form does a couple of things.

First of all — if you are healthy and sane, you will tend to trust your own eyes and ears as well as sanity. If you catch a partner cheating, for instance, but they blame YOU? Or an Enabler tries to convince you that your abuser loves you in their own way? Or they tell you that physical assault is for your own good?

Seriously — if you believe them you are already likely to be living with adrenal fatigue and heightened forms of pervasive social anxiety soon.

The following list of anxiety disorder types was compiled by the Mayo Clinic. The healthcare organization describes many of the most common conditions as follows

• Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

• Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition includes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem.

• Generalized anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control and affects how you feel physically. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders or depression.

• Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). These panic attacks may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they’ve occurred.

• Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.

• Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that’s excessive for the child’s developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.

• Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.

• Specific phobias are characterized by major anxiety when you’re exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.

• Substance-induced anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of abusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance or withdrawal from drugs.

• Other specified anxiety disorder and unspecified anxiety disorder are terms for anxiety or phobias that don’t meet the exact criteria for any other anxiety disorders but are significant enough to be distressing and disruptive.

Folks who actively abuse and enable other abusers love telling their abuse victims that they are somehow socially, emotionally, and intellectually deficient. They are huge fans of abusing the crap out of their target, then when caught or confronted about their behavior choices they love nothing more than playing the victim.

The more extreme the personality disorder the more likely social predators are to enjoy harming or humiliating and dominating other people.

Not only do they expect their willing Narcissistic Supply Sources to consistently play SUB-servant, they wholeheartedly expect and demand total obedience from any preferred scapegoat they like to claim ownership of and to toy with psychologically and emotionally on a regular basis.

People who get trapped* in the CYCLE OF NARCISSISTIC ABUSE tend to know something is not right with the claims the Cluster B person makes, but unless they are well educated about things like how to spot the warning signs of a Cluster B pack or egocentric Abuser, love fraud tactics, and are made aware of verbal abuse and mind control tactics, predators make incredible logical fallacy statements and appeals to emotion that sound — at least plausible — to an unaware listener.

If a target makes the mistake of reverse projecting and presumes that all human beings — INCLUDING CLUSTER B PEOPLE AND VERTICAL THINKERS — have the same core values as roughly 75-80% of the global human population, that is the instant chaos manufactures or pot stirrers have the ability to start mind assaulting trouble.

People who are exposed to physical abuse, sexual assault, verbal assaults of a poignant or pervasive nature, financial abuse, social persecution, and the word choices of dehumanizers seeking to sadistically or callously persecute tend to develop extreme social anxiety, pervasive stress related illnesses, and extreme confusion over knowing they are good folks in their heart and mind but hear constant ad hominem attacks against themselves by bullies and manipulators all the time.

If you are being harassed, bullied, messed with at work, are being picked on by family members who display Cluster B behaviors, an ex has done some crappy thing like tried to smear campaign, or worse…

Or you are feeling the literal weight of an angry and hostile narcissistic led faction world…

You are not alone in suspecting being around mean people can damage your health. Verbal assault can lead directly to neurological damage to the part of the brain that houses complex emotional reasoning centers and the body fatigues and organ function is medically depleted by the fear-induced surge of toxic adrenal chemicals.


Life-threatening illness tends to develop in humans who feel TRAPPED by an Abuser (unable to flee) or who are held hostage by toxic thinkers seeking to silence and oppress their scapegoats, targets, and control the fear-based psychology of their toys as well as any collateral damage victims.

[Abusers tend to rage at anyone who offers one of their preferred scapegoat targets humanitarian aid or social support. Doing so tends to produce the effect of socially isolating their targeted victim while humiliating and truly frightening them further when and if people passively choose to stay out of it or to enable, leaving the target even more vulnerable to further pervasive overt (as well as extreme covert) situational abuse. ]

The more healthcare workers start to realize if a patient presents with stress illness and psychiatric symptoms that the patient is more than likely showing physical signs of complex psychological and emotional duress more than likely being caused by ongoing exposure to Narcissistic Abuse or an Ambient Abuse promoting environment, the sooner human beings of neurotypical nature are likely to be able to end the healthcare crisis beginning to plague most modern nations.

SOURCE: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/dxc-20168124

16 Signs You’re Nearing Burnout

16 signs you’re nearing burnout

Alisa, November 29, 2016, Mindfulness and Cognitive Science, Neurobiology and Behavior, Self Care, 6

Does it sometimes feel like you have to hit bottom before you can really change? You can see the warning signs…the negative effects of overcommitting yourself are probably pretty predictable. But how do you take action now? (As opposed to when your body forces you to or when the next break gets here).

Burnout often happens in a cyclical fashion. With unsustainable habits it’s always just a matter of time before your tank dwindles down to empty again. But it’s difficult to make changes to those habits when it feels like you have to choose between having fun and sustainable energy.

Hold up, do we really have to choose between FUN and WELL? Screw that. I think the choice lies elsewhere, in fact, I demand it lie elsewhere. We just might have to dig a little bit to find it.

Recognizing the patterns

The cool thing about habits is that they can be easy to spot. Trigger >> routine >> reward. It’s always the same pattern. And your patterns, though unique to you, are also easy to spot. You just have to be looking. I’ve compiled a list of common signs of burnout. These physical, mental, emotional, relational behaviors signal you’re reaching the breaking point where your system (being your life) can no longer withstand the stress of the environment. You’re a bridge just waiting to collapse.

Signs you’re approaching burnout (based on research + personal experience):

1 Trouble sleeping / falling asleep

2 Tension in back + shoulders

3 Headaches

4 Hard time waking up in the morning (even after a full night’s sleep)

5 Lack of interest in normal activities

6 Low energy

7 Trouble focusing / easily distracted

8 Trouble regulating behavior (outbursts, losing chunks of time to scrolling social media, unable to stop eating or turn off the tv)

9 Reversion to “default” behaviors (previous transformations start to unravel)

10 Easily overwhelmed

11 Down / depressed mood

12 Easily frustrated

13 Prone to ruminating on interactions with others

14 Crying more than usual

15 Trouble identifying “why” you feel sad, angry, tired, etc.

16 Pulling away from friends / family

And I’m certain I’ve missed some.

Now if you’re experiencing these “symptoms”, there is no need to panic. This is a diagnosis or anything like that. My hope is that by looking at this list you will see that some of the things you do that are just a “normal part of life” are actually signs that you aren’t handling the stress you’re under well.

See, it’s not a choice between “fun” and “well” – it’s the decision to raise the bar on what fun really is.

Take action

Don’t let this be something that becomes “oh that’s interesting” and on you go. Choose right now to set a higher standard for the “fun” you let in your life.

The greater the responsibility you have to perform at your best, the more resolute you must be in your standard for wellness. From your nutrition to your free time, the stuff you do needs to set you up for better performance. Your classroom, your clients, your patients – they need you operating at your capability. Which means they need you well, not the bare minimum of “functional.”

1 Take time to write down your personal signs of declining wellness and what you currently do to cope with it — scrolling, tv, declining invites, dessert, hyper-cleaning or organizing, etc

2 Choose one of your go-to habits for coping with stress and get curious about it. Every time you see yourself doing it or feeling the compulsion, ask yourself why that might be happening and observe does this actually make me feel how I want to feel? Am I really getting what I’m looking for?

3 Develop a routine or ritual to go through when it’s been a long day – something that will help you feel the way you really want to feel. Read more about this step here.

Unconditional Love

Jesus loves me unconditionally. Therefore, I have not earned His love nor could I earn His love. I cannot be separated from His love.

When I obey Him, God will bless me. When I disobey Him, there will be consequences. Jesus may not like my behavior, but He always loves me.

Because I have experienced God’s love, I know that I am lovable. I know there are people who could love me too. Therefore, I am able to trust people who love me. I am confident in my worth based on the love of Jesus.

from Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer