5 Ways To Increase Your Dopamine And Perform Better

TJ Power is a neuroscience expert. In an exclusive Sales Confidence members masterclass, TJ tells us all about dopamine and how you can use it to perform better in everything you do. Let’s find out more.

When the first humans roamed the earth, life was hard. They had to hunt and forage to survive. They had to build shelters with their bare hands. They had to avoid any number of predators that were out to make their lives uncomfortable. How did they do it? What made them keep going through untold hardship? The answer is dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that controls your drive and concentration. It rewards you with a good feeling if you make an effort to do something beneficial. When your dopamine is high, you feel like you can take on the world. When it’s low, you procrastinate or lose focus. Worse, you could become anxious or spiral into depression.
Think of how you feel if you’ve just tidied your bedroom or cleaned your kitchen. You probably didn’t enjoy the task, but you definitely feel good afterwards. That’s the dopamine reward. 
On the other hand, when you experience pleasure without the effort, such as through junk food, alcohol, drugs, porn or excessive social media, the immediate dopamine hit quickly fades away and gives you a crash. Think about how you always feel sleepy in the afternoon if you have a McDonald’s or a beer at lunchtime. 
TJ Power is a neuroscientist and founder of Neurify. He helps people understand how their brains work so they can perform better. In his exclusive Sales Confidence masterclass, TJ shared five things you can do today to boost your dopamine levels and avoid those dreaded crashes. Let’s get started.

1 – Deep focus 🧠

We live in a world of notifications and distractions, but to be able to do our best work, we need to get into a flow state where we are totally in the zone with our task. You need to focus on one task exclusively for around 17 minutes to achieve this flow state. That’s 17 minutes without checking your emails or phone, without talking to a colleague, just pure focus. If you can achieve this flow state more often, your productive efficiency can increase by 40%. Imagine that!
Here are four tips to get into the zone, gain momentum and boost your productivity:

  • Select a specific task – Multitasking doesn’t work, so pick one. It’s often a good idea to get the worst things out of the way early
  • Set a time limit – Work expands to fit the time available, so put an optimal time limit on your task
  • Tell your focus partner – Inform someone (partner, friend, colleague) about your task and tell them how long it will take you. It brings accountability
  • No phone or comms – Remove your phone from the room and close down your Slack, Teams etc. These will only distract you from your task, especially if things get difficult or boring
Your challenge is to achieve five deep focus sessions each week where you can focus on one task and nothing else for more than 17 minutes. Try it and notice the difference in your dopamine.

2 – Discipline 💪

Discipline is a secret of survival. It’s why if you join the Navy, for example, the first thing you learn is to keep everything clean and tidy. Here are four things you can do to build your discipline:

  • Make your bed every morning
  • Maintain a tidy bedroom
  • Keep your workspace organised
  • Ensure your kitchen is always clean with no dirty dishes
Maintaining this discipline isn’t fun, but you’ll be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment thanks to dopamine. 
As a challenge, deep clean your bedroom or home office. Notice how you feel afterwards.

3 – Phone fasting 📵

Most of us are addicted to our phones. Despite knowing how bad it is for us, we just can’t help reaching for our phones whenever we get the chance. If you’re watching a TV show and it gets a bit boring, even for ten seconds, you go straight for the phone. We’re on our phones while we eat. Probably the last thing you do before you close your eyes to sleep is check your phone. 
We need to have prolonged periods away from our phones – 60 minutes or more at a time – to break the cycle of addiction and boost happiness. This hour has to be in our leisure time. Work time doesn’t count. 
So, every evening, your challenge is to take 60 minutes away from the phone screen. Here are four things you can do instead:

  • Socialise
  • Exercise
  • Cook and eat
  • Watch TV (with focus)
Do this every day, and you’ll definitely notice an increase in happiness.

4 – Cold showers 🚿

This might be the hardest of the five dopamine builders we’ll talk about, but it’s also the most effective. A cold shower can be pure pain, but it makes the brain respond with pure pleasure. It builds resistance and self-control. What’s more, a cold shower is the only rival to alcohol or drugs when it comes to the size of the dopamine hit that you get.
No one is pretending it’s not horrible, but here are three steps to make a cold shower something you look forward to rather than dread:

  • Make it a gradual process – Start with the water at a normal warm temperature, then gradually turn it down until it’s cold. Try to stay in it for five seconds. Then, the next day, build up to ten, and so on, until you can stay there for 90 seconds and beyond
  • Deep breathing – Under your cold shower, breath in and out to calm the body
  • Music – Alternatively, you can put your favourite tune on and dance around to make the pain more bearable
Your challenge is to do this every day. Try it and see. It will make you feel more motivated, excited about work and focused on your work.

5 – My pursuit 🎯

Finally, having a worthwhile target to work towards boosts your hunger and puts meaning into your success. Humans are designed to pursue a goal. When you get nearer to it, you increase that all-important dopamine.
Here are four goals you could incorporate:

  • Specific career goal
  • Learning or improving a skill
  • Specific fitness goal
  • Optimising your dopamine, oxycontin, serotonin and endorphins (DOSE)
Your challenge here is to clarify and then chase your pursuit. Are you ready?

💡 Find out more

Each of these five dopamine builders has the potential to change your life. Which challenge will you choose? Could you do a phone fast? Or are cold showers more your thing? Maybe you could try all five?