Major neurotransmitters and hormones that create positive or negative effects on us include dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, cortisol, and epinephrine. Dopamine aids in concentration, motivation, and is responsible for our reward feedback loop. Dopamine is released in response to eating, consuming caffeine and sugar, gambling, pornography, sex, alcohol, shopping, smoking cigarettes and consuming other nicotine releasing substances, illicit stimulants, and various things that feel good to us. Dopamine releasing behaviors done carelessly or irresponsibly can give us a temporary state of feeling good, thus the rewarding response facilitates cyclical repetitive behavioral patterns. In the long run, poor behaviors have the potential to wreak havoc on ourselves and everyone around us. Alternatively, healthy ways to elevate the neurotransmitter dopamine include physical activity, meditation, sunlight, hobbies, music, love-making, massage, and other enjoyable and beneficial activities. What beneficial modalities are you incorporating each day to increase dopamine in your life? What nonproductive activities and habits can be eradicated and replaced with productive responsible routines?

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