Neuroscientists say that stacking dopamine (as a substance or behavior) can lead to disappointment. And low performance.
So. If you’re feeling shitty and hopeless…
While your opponent seems more determined than John Wick when the bad guys killed his dog…
Chances are your dopamine levels are very different.
The good news is…
You can alter your dopamine levels to gain the focus, motivation and drive of your toughest rival. Even in this era of cheap dopamine.
The truth about dopamine and the gaming industry
The gaming industry has evolved a lot over the years.
Games have become more engaging, immersive and rewarding.
And even more challenging.
And when you finally beat a level, overcome an obstacle, or achieve a goal, the brain releases a burst of dopamine.
This makes you feel good.
To keep the player motivated and engaged, game developers often add rewards like:
- Virtual items
- In-game currency
- Achievements that unlock when conditions are met
This boosts dopamine.
So. What even IS dopamine?
Come along. We’ll share all the secrets.
Dopamine control for gamers
Dopamine is the ultimate hormone you can leverage to shape your days, weeks and months. We’ll even go as far as saying destiny as a gamer and high achiever.
The one thing stopping you from feeling sluggish to having infinite stamina?
Ofc, other factors matter too.
But dopamine is the chief chemical that decides how motivated and excited we are for life and pursuing things.
It even controls our feelings of whether we can or cannot accomplish quests. In Elden Ring or IRL.
So you want to honour your dopamine levels to gain and maintain focus and energy over long periods.
If you don’t, it will command your entire life. And act as a dementor that sucks the motivation out of you, leaving you among the masses of mediocrity.
There are at least two things that piss off the dopamine guy:
- If you don’t seek to boost dopamine
- If you constantly pursue dopamine
If we just seek to raise dopamine, we’ll ofc feel more motivated and driven.
But these superpowers will also be as short-lived as your high-school romance.
So. How do we master dopamine before it masters us?
First, let’s look at some myths about dopamine:
- Dopamine being a “feel-good” chemical
- That increasing dopamine levels makes you happier
Dopamine is known as the chad in your head that touches your pleasure receptor when you do something that feels good.
Like gaming or eating chocolate or making love under the stars.
In reality, dopamine acts as the communicator between nerve cells.
It’s the MVP chemical that controls our:
- Reward system
- And movement control
Now, onto a more important question!
How do we gamers leverage dopamine for long-term motivation, focus and energy?
That ridiculously driven opponent of yours?
That friend you won’t admit you envy because of his endless energy?
We’ll remind you—you guys (most likely) have different levels of dopamine flowing through your hardware.
We all have different baselines of dopamine.
These baselines are determined by:
- What we do or ingest
- Our genetics (thanks, mom and dad)
- The experiences we’ve had lately (even months back!)
So. The activities you pursue, the behaviors you take on and the stuff you eat (or don’t eat), will make your dopamine levels rise above or go below your baseline.
What matters the most?
- Your own baseline
- The dopamine peak you get from an activity
We’ll admit it already. We like to chase the peaks.
And the more peaks you reach, the better you’ll feel, right?
Think of it like this: the higher the mountain you climb, the higher the fall.
You’ll also stay in KO mode for longer after the fall.
Let’s recall your last intense activity:
Maybe this was a multiple-hour gaming session, followed by endless scrolling, another energy drink, and then some coffee.
During this, you might feel like Kratos.
But how did you feel after these activities?
We’re guessing more like Magikarp. *Use splash*
This is because you drop into a state of low dopamine right after an intense dopamine-boosting activity.
So the more dopamine-filled activities you do (e.g. dopamine stacking), the worse you’ll feel when you ‘come down’.
Now that you know some dope dopamine facts, you’re ready to fill your armory with scientific tools to leverage dopamine for long-term focus, energy & performance.
1. Keep an intermittent reward schedule
If you don’t enjoy feeling shitty and sluggish, aim to train your baseline to be consistently high (in a sustainable and healthy way).
If you keep chasing dopamine regularly, your baseline will drop.
Not to mention, working hard for the sake of getting rewarded is a dopamine dead-end.
Not only does the already hard work feel harder, but it also takes away the motivation to finish the task.
Keeping a so-called intermittent reward schedule means you refrain from rewarding yourself before, during or after a specific activity.
If you want to keep enjoying and staying motivated when gaming, don’t always pair it with other dopamine enhancers, like:
- Phone scrolling
- Music and podcasts
In fact, leave your phone on airplane mode in your bedroom drawer. That way, you’ll feel less tempted.
Keep rewarding yourself, yes, because you’re amazing, but reward your gaming efforts randomly.
Say, a Friday afternoon, when you need that extra bit of juice after a long week facing tough tasks and opponents?
2. Avoid taking stimulants
If you want to be less attentive at work or during workouts, stop reading and keep taking stimulants and spiking your dopamine. It’s highly counterproductive.
First, avoid heavy and cheap stimulants like Adderall and nicotine.
Instead, switch to natural dopamine boosters like caffeine.
But, as with your intermittent reward schedule, try to use dopamine-enhancing foods or beverages only before the most challenging tasks and events.
If you keep stacking dopamine, you’ll constantly lack motivation and increase feelings of depression.
Learn to enjoy the task and feel the reward from the action itself and don’t always:
- Spike dopamine before an activity
- Spike dopamine after an activity
3. Avoid bright lights
Feeling moody first thing in the morning?
Good quality sleep helps in the formation of dopamine, so if we’re lacking in that area, it can affect our dopamine levels–badly.
Because exposing the body to bright light (particularly between 10 pm and 4 am) confuses it, making it think it’s daylight and starts secreting unwanted hormones.
So. Avoid bright lights from late evening to early AM like you avoided the floor lava as a kid and you’ll be less cranky from lack of sleep.
Bonus tip: Skip the melatonin. While experts are divided on using melatonin for longer periods, several sleep experts say you should avoid it long-term.
Instead, find the cause of your poor sleep.
Then arm yourself!
There are tons of wellness gadgets and sleep gear (tried and approved by the MADMONQ® team) that help you sleep like a baby, so you can wake up as a refreshed winner.
4. Find and perform workouts you genuinely enjoy
Hate the gym, but keep telling yourself you enjoy going?
That’s good news. You can skip the gym.
Because doing something you don’t truly enjoy is more likely to produce a smaller increase in dopamine.
Whereas if you enjoy, say, swinging a mace, your dopamine levels will soar.
Maybe because you totally enjoy pretending you’re in SKYRIM?
Similarly, if you have a belief and get to talk about it, you’ll feel happier compared to if you talk about boring things.
That’s because our dopamine levels increase more if we do, talk about or eat something we already like.
The audacity of people that tell you to game less…
5. Get natural light
Natural light is the MVP of light!
It triggers our biological functions and helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which increases dopamine levels and boosts mood.
Vitamin D is important for gamers. So important, we even wrote an article about the benefits of the In”D”estructible Vitamin here.
Anyway, this ultimately helps us focus, making sure we get more done throughout our days.
Ideally, you want to get some sun for 2 to 10 minutes in the morning, first thing when you wake up.
Not through a window or a screen while gaming Overwatch 2.
While watching fun videos and chatting on Discord also produce dopamine, it’s the cheap, short-lasting kind.
Besides, feeling like there are 100s of people in your room first thing in the morning is more likely to distract you and put you in a bad mood
So. Go outside and take in the beauty of a panoramic view, where the lux levels are 10x higher than inside.
Natural light and looking long-distance are also better for your eyes and vision, which are holy tools you shall guard safely if you wish to increase headshots.
6. Practice gratitude or positive thinking
Complaining feels good.
After a streak of failures, it feels better to tell ourselves they wronged us rather than own up to our shortcomings.
Complaining is also dangerous.
Keep doing it and your brain will create a neural pathway where complaining becomes a daily habit, which can increase the levels of cortisol–the stress hormone.
What happens then?
The dopamine released to counter the increased cortisol gets broken down faster.
In a 10-week study where two groups journaled their daily thoughts (one group focusing on annoyances versus the second group writing what they felt grateful for), the second group:
- Slept better
- Exercised more
- Were consistent
- Felt more positive
- Worked productively
- Achieved more goals
- Had better interactions
Be grateful = boost dopamine = get more winning streaks.
7. Take cold showers/ice baths
Showering in cold water or taking ice baths aids in increasing dopamine and improves general well-being, cognition and clarity.
In one study, cold water exposure raised dopamine levels by 250% above baseline.
What’s more impressive?
High dopamine levels remained after leaving the icy depths, leading to the ultimate state of mind as a gamer–a highly alert but calm state of mind.
Imagine the accuracy of these subjects if they would have played COD post-ice bathing.
Ofc, these subjects remained in ice-cold water for a long period, which is not recommended–unless you possess Aquaman’s skin that tolerates extreme cold.
Start small with milder degrees, but be sure to prepare your body to really feel the ‘shock’ so you get an actual increase in dopamine.
8. Dose up on L-tyrosine, B vitamins and caffeine
Eat your vitamins, kids!
This is no exception for boosting dopamine.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid and produces key neurotransmitters (like dopamine) to enhance focus, motivation, productivity and executive function.
B3, B6 and B12 are other key players in the synthesis of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, GABA and more.
As for caffeine…
While caffeine doesn’t boost dopamine on its own, it enhances the effects of other dopamine-fueled nutrition.
There’s a reason many people have their morning coffee with a cigarette. (Nicotine is another strong but cheap and dangerous dopamine booster).
Scientists say caffeine’s dopamine-boosting effects make it great for everyday use (compared to stimulants) without experiencing that super high and super low state.
You’ll find caffeine, L-tyrosine and B6 and B12 inside MADMONQ® food supplement, among 14 plant, fruit and herb extracts.
MADMONQ® gives you an instant and stable stream of energy plus an efficiency that increases (for 3-6 hours!!) no matter what quest you’re on.
In short, it helps you kick ass and boost your body and brain–short-term and long-term, improving:
- Reaction time
- Stress control
- Focus and drive
- Eyes, memory and brain
Minus energy crashes from cheap dopamine (so long, energy drinks )
While CHAMPION–a daily food supplement–includes vitamins B3, B6 and B12 among 24 nutrients that gamers typically lack to become title holders.
It’s packed with naturally sourced, sugar-free, high-quality ingredients that support:
- Immune system
- Vision and eyes
- Mental and mood comfort
- Bones, joints, tendons and muscles
- Reproductive system and Alpha Spirit
Are you ready to dominate dopamine and slice your opponents into a gazillion tiny pieces?
The dopamine department of MADMONQ®
Here’s where we like to play…
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