How to DOSE up on your own brain chemicals

When the skies are grey outside or inside, here's how to tap into your very own pharmacy - inside your brain!

DOSE stands for Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins.

D is for DOPAMINE - releases when we achieve or receive a reward

Trick: lower the bar to success!

Try: set a micro-goal and congratulate yourself

a. goal - take the stairs instead of the elevator, reward - brag about it
b. goal - check items off a list of tasks you've already done (got up, brushed teeth, drank coffee, got dressed) reward - wear favorite shirt
c. goal - plan meals just for tomorrow, not for the whole month, reward - buy one "exotic" food item. Hmmm, mango?

Results: feeling proud, "chuffed" with yourself, re-energized. "I am awesome!"

O is for OXYTOCIN - releases when we bond

Trick: connect to yourself!

Try: wrap your arms around yourself for a 20-second (minimum) squeeze.

Results: feeling calm and comforted, less stressed, "I am lovable."

S is for SEROTONIN - releases when we dominate

Trick: past wins count, too!

Try: remember and visualize any victory, such as a spelling bee when you were ten years old, or a running race where you beat your younger cousin. Even coming in 2nd or 3rd counts as a win, as long as you beat someone else.

Result: feelings of expertise and competence, "I can do this!"

E is for ENDORPHINS - they release when we endure

Trick: stop early, take a break, and then take one teeny tiny step to finish

Try: when doing ten push-ups, do nine. Stop. Then do the last one.

a. goal: Walking around the block? Stop 3/4 of the way, look at the trees, and then complete the course.
b. goal: Putting away laundry? Wait until the last pair of socks is in the basket, put the kettle on, and come back to wrap it up.

DOSE all at once

So, what's a way you can activate all the DOSE goodies in one fell swoop?

Plan a great outfit for tomorrow and wear something you usually save for special occasions (reward - dopamine).

Set out the clothes and even the earrings/underwear/handbag (go one step beyond - endorphins).

Visualize a time you looked amazing and someone complimented you, and try to remember how you stood out like a peacock among the chickens -- without malice, just noticing your specialness (winning - serotonin).

Last step: after you dress up, take a photo and send it to someone who cares about you, like your sister (bonding -oxytocin).

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