About 6 months ago, my life completely changed. I didn't understand what was happening at first, and I had no scientific explanation for the changes at that time. It was so amazing that it felt like it must just be a miracle. What was really odd was that my husband was experiencing the exact same miraculous changes at the same time!
We had been very overweight for about 20 years. Although we had tried every diet imaginable multiple times, we never could lose much weight and we would suffer terribly while dieting until we gave up and then gained it all back every single time, for 20 years! So, you can imagine our delight when we started losing weight very easily, without any suffering at all. He's lost 75 pounds now and I've lost 50, and it was the easiest thing we've ever done!
About the same time, we also totally fell in love with each other all over again, with renewed passion and romance too! It has really been like it was when we were first dating again. Amazing!!! We've had so much fun, joy, and laughter. We started going dancing, to concerts, romantic weekend trips to the beach, making great new friends, and having good times with friends and family. We've really enjoyed each other like never before. We actually kept asking each other, "Do you think we died and this is Heaven?". We seriously considered that as a possibility because our life had suddenly become so incredibly blissful!
Then, came December. It was very stressful as usual with all of the shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, and having visitors. Our newfound Heaven left us as quickly and mysteriously as it had arrived, and life returned to how it had been before. We even started gaining a little weight back. I hoped after the stress of the holidays passed we might get our bliss back, but it just didn't come back. So, I started trying to understand what had happened and how to get it back!
I started reading and thinking about it a lot, but I still couldn't make any sense of it. Then, one night my daughter and her boyfriend were watching TV and I wanted to block out the noise so that I could read on the computer, so I put on some headphones and some loud music. I read about dopamine and how it rises whenever you feel pleasure and it then allows you to feel more pleasure. It is what makes colors look so vivid and music sound so good sometimes. It gives you that not hungry, super happy, focused, energetic, and even euphoric feeling. It's definitely what my husband and I both had been feeling, but how could we get that feeling back?
As I read more and listened to the music in my headphones, I noticed that feeling coming back! I was thrilled and eagerly told my husband about it and put some headphones on him too! He felt it a little bit, but not nearly like I was feeling it. Plus, it just didn't make sense that just listening to headphones could cause changes like we had experienced. If that were the case, everyone who wears headphones would have figured this out already. So, I wondered what was I doing that my husband wasn't?
We had also been learning about positive thinking and the power of your thoughts, attitude, and mental focus. I realized that was a huge piece of the puzzle!
All of the sudden, it all clicked for me! It was all because of the dopamine, and the mental process of focusing on the pleasure intensely raised my dopamine levels! I knew that dopamine increases when you feel pleasure. I figured out how to raise my levels at will, and it's working for my husband now too! Of course things like supplementing with magnesium, l-tyrosine, probiotics, eating healthy, and exercising are beneficial, but I had tried that for years with only minimal improvement. What I've learned now works so much better!
So, here's how you do it. Find something that gives you pleasure. I recommend starting with a pair of headphones and Pandora internet radio. You can get unlimited skips for $5 per month. Then, you can go through songs until you find one that gives you that good feeling. Have you ever watched American Idol and seen Jennifer Lopez or Keith Urban hear something they really liked and kind of close their eyes and say "mmmm"? That's the feeling you are looking for. At first, it might be hard to find a song that sounds very good to you, because when dopamine levels are low, it is harder to feel pleasure. Just listen for one that makes you feel something good. When you find it, FOCUS on it. Listen to every little sound and think about how good it sounds, how pleasurable it is. That's the whole trick. You have to really focus on the pleasure.
Keep going through songs like this. I find that it works best to do this while you are driving or walking outside because the visual pleasure, scents, and even the pleasure of a nice breeze on your skin raises your dopamine levels also. Tap your hands or feet to the beat, or move your body to the beat, and notice how good that feels! Even putting on lipstick or chap stick can be a pleasure. With every single pleasure, focus hard on the pleasure to feel it as fully as you can.
Bone conduction headphones are a great way to listen to music. They allow better sound quality for many people who have hearing loss because the music is transmitted through the cheek bone right above/in front of your ear instead of inside the ear canal. It also allows you to hear surrounding noises, such as car horns, and to be able to carry on a conversation while listening to headphones. You can wear these for the improved listening pleasure that headphones give you, while driving, biking, walking, and maybe even at work! Any headphones will do, but these are very cool.