Why is splitting up so hard and painful?
When we fall in-love we secrete an abundance of two beautiful hormones: oxytocin and dopamine. Both create a physical change in our chemistry and re-wire our brains/heart/body so that we want and CRAVE more. They make us feel incredible and in a blissed-out state.
In the first blog on Overcoming a Love Addiction, I focused on oxytocin. In this blog I will focus on Dopamine.
If you make the decision to split with your partner your levels of oxytocin and dopamine have probably been waning for awhile so physical disconnection will not be as hard.
If however, you are the one who is being split from, you may feel incredible withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal of oxytocin is unsettling. We feel lost, confused and depressed.
We crave the other person’s hugs, company and touch (anything to boost oxytocin again).
The withdrawal of dopamine can feel equally as destroying.
Suddenly we can’t feel pleasure in any activity and can become quite depressed. It acts like a heroin withdrawal in our body and social hiding is common.
What can you do when splitting up?
What one needs to do during a split up, especially if you are still in-love with the other person, is to supply yourself with these hormones. Give yourself the oxytocin and dopamine rush that your ex did.
Dopamine is the main hormone that ignites our pleasure receptors in various parts of the brain.
It is released on mass when women orgasm.
It is the main driving force behind any addiction: gambling, cocaine/heroin, sex addiction, sugar.
It also boosts when we do exciting things. Although some of that is related to adrenaline – another thrill seeking hormone.
Dopamine is addictive to our body. It gives us pleasure.
The more exciting your partner – riding bikes, doing adventures, the more macho he is, the more you will be at his mercy due to dopamine and oxytocin.
Can you boost your dopamine levels yourself?
Dopamine raising activities leave you feeling an excited BUZZ.
It may only last a short time but that is all you get from a nice text response right? A short buzz then we are looking for our next “fix”. Or a big fix like jumping out of a plane.
There are many unhealthy and riske ways to get a dopamine rush (gambling, sex addiction, sugar, smoking) but I would suggest finding some that are less taxing on your body.
Ten ways to boost dopamine naturally
Many people tell me they can’t sit still, can’t clear their minds and can’t meditate. You are the ones who need it most! If you struggle to clear your brain, sit at the beach and close your eyes and listen to the waves roll in. You may also want to try an app on your phone or purchase a meditation audio.
When people start a new project that involves creating they lose themselves and get a buzz. Art, photography, wood work etc are all great ways to give yourself a buzz.
3. Increase natural amino acids tyrosine and theanine.
Tyrosine is the pre-cursor to dopamine and is found in meats, apples, yogurt, cherries, green tea, coffee, bananas, chocolate and soy.
4. Increase vegetables to decrease oxidation of dopamine.
Dopamine oxidises quickly so you need plenty of colourful vegetables high in anti-oxidants such as vitamin C foods (citrus, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables), vitamin E rich foods and beta carotene.
5. Discover new things.
When people are in discovery adventure mode they boost their dopamine levels. Jump in the car and find somewhere new to discover, find a new café or restaurant or visit the art gallery
6. Listen to music
It’s been shown that listening to music will boost your dopamine levels – listen to any thing you like. This is why shopping centres play music – to entice your buying!
There are many things I use in my clinic to boost dopamine levels – tyrosine, gingko biloba, turmeric. Others include acetyl-l-tyrosine, L-theanine. But try to boost your own levels with the suggestions first
Exercising for 30-60 minutes a day increases blood calcium levels which increases your dopamine levels. Try a new class, walk around a headland, swim at the pool. Just move and be active.
9. Decrease fats and sugars
Both of these product components that destroy dopamine. Have a probiotic and protect your gut or eat probiotic foods such as kefir and sauerkraut. Maybe the split up will sky rocket your health to be number one. Turn the negative into a positive.
10. Sleep like a babe.
Getting adequate solid sleep is really important for dopamine levels. Make sure you have a “routine”, good ventilation, low noise and sleep like the babe that you are.
Heart ache, break up, hormone withdrawals are awful.
Try to make the passage through this time as quick and fast as possible and take lessons from the relationship.
See if you can boost your own levels of oxytocin and dopamine through my suggestions.
If you can you will get back on your feet quicker and feel more empowered.
Share with a friend who may be going through a hardship and if you would like more information about hormones my book, Beauty and the Beast Within discusses many of these more in depth.