When you encounter stress, you can’t see it, touch it, lick it. But it creates a chemical reaction within the body. Glands release hormones in response to arduous situations. Hormones such as norepinephrine, seratonin, cortisol, adrenaline. Similar to carbs in a cupcake— the body takes parts of the cupcake it can use to do work and stores the rest— the unused portion of these hormones become embedded within realms of our body.
We needed it when…
We were running from dinosaurs and chasing wild boar for dinner whilst shacking up with our cave women as apart of fight or flight mode. Over time as we evolved… the natural response and release of stress have not.
Whether you are sliding down a mastodon’s back and swinging from vines to avoid a stampede OR someone has a gun to your temple OR someone ate your lunch out the company fridge, your body releases stress hormones in massive amounts. Since maintaining composure at a high stress job doesn’t use-up the same stressful hormones released as you needed as cavemen, the hormones hang out and wreak havoc on your body.
Dopamine is the happy hormone. It is released in massive amounts when we do things we enjoy. While scientists are still exploring the true inner workings of dopamine, it is thought to be a driving factor in eradicating stress hormones.
Dopamine is released in massive amounts when you do things that you enjoy or things that bring you joy. However, in today’s society most adults do not have instant gratifying avenues for the release of dopamine that are POSITIVE. For example, if you enjoy going to yoga you can’t just start doing yoga in the middle of a stressful situation to instantly feel better. You have to leave wherever you are usually get in your vehicle or on your bike, drive to a yoga studio through traffic, find parking, sign in and change your clothes, and wait for the class to start. Meanwhile NEGATIVE avenues for instant gratification are way more abundant such as gambling, smoking cigarettes, drinking, or over indulging in a multitude of unhealthy activities.
Us millennials? We are used to instant gratification which yields more negative avenues for dopamine instead of positive ones. But there is one in particular that is positive and pretty instant: Love.
Dopamine is released in massive amounts when you are falling in love. However, the brain is so amazing but still dumb at the same time while somehow still being absolutely amazing — The body can’t tell the difference if it is falling in love with someone else or yourself. So I instruct my clients to take some time and fall in love with themselves.
What if you became the love of your life that you’ve always wanted from someone else? What if you became a love that you always needed?
When you are falling in love, you learn the person. You want to know everything about them. You want to know their favorite color, what makes them laugh, the things that they crave.
However, we don’t do this for ourselves.
What you wanted when you were 18 isn’t what you want it when you were 21 or when you were 25. As you grow and change, the things you enjoy do as well. As a part of healing and changing the body, we focus on a macro and a micro level treating the body as a whole inside and out. We invite our clients to take part in the dope program, detoxing mentally and emotionally and taking some time out to fall in love with themselves. And in doing so, they learn how to either decompress from the stressors of life— using dopamine to eradicate the stressful hormones; as well as embrace the notion that if you cannot change the things that are stressing you out, you have to learn how to stress better. We end The Döpe Project with a self apology love letter of forgiveness, strength, and self love.
The DÖPE Project
Start by creating your own love list. Explore yourself as if you are the love of your life and you want to know everything about them to please them, make them happy, and get them to fall in love with you back. Because you are.
How to apply the love list…
Just like the treadmill that a lot of people purchase at the beginning of the year in conjunction with their New Year’s resolutions, and how the treadmill is only useful if you get on it and use i— so too is the love list. The Love List can only be an affective tool towards your life and body goals if used often. Set aside at least an hour every single week for YOU time and employing the love list. You are to do three things off of this love list every single week. Make an appointment with yourself as if it were a massage appointment or a new client or overtime at work.
Decompressing to better stress
If you cannot change the things that cause you stress, you need to learn how to be stressed out better.
Far too often we wallow and exist in the gray areas of life. I prefer to keep things very black-and-white. Either you ACCEPT it or you CHANGE it but there is no middle ground. I invite you to move into the black and white areas of life with me. Explore the things that cause you stress. No seriously, take some time out and write down all the things that stress you out on a daily basis. And then next to it, write down if this is something that you can accept or that you need to change.
(Keep in mind these are activity occurrences, not characteristics of your life. For example not having enough money: while this IS a stressor, it is not the activity. We need the activity that caused the broke-ness such as having crappy job or spending too much money. The act of not having enough money isn’t the action. List out actives that cause you stress.)
If it’s something that you are able to change, come up with a process to change it. If it is something that you cannot change, you must accept it. If it is something that you absolutely cannot accept, then you have to change it.
Unless you can’t… then you have to accept it. You see where I’m going here? No room for the confusing areas of gray. Allow it to be what it is.
For example if you have a stressful commute to work instead of dreading the commute, trying to change the commute,
Or mentally whining about the commute – full of non-drivers, rude people who cut you off to the point that you had to slam on brakes, or sitting on the parking lot that is the freeway requiring an extra hour of your day where you could have instead stayed in bed – turn your commute into an enjoyable concert. Create fun playlists the night before. Turn the car into a rocking stage! Fixate your mind on accepting that you have a long commute and learn how to stress better. Fill your passenger seat with some of your favorite snacks. Remove your floormat and instead put a fun fluffy furry area rug in that space; kick off your shoes and run your feet through the rug as you drive. Add a car diffuser. Fill a sippy cup with some light champagne (no one has ever been pulled over from drinking out of a sippy cup). Im not telling you to drink and drive (the alcohol content of 4 ounces of champagne in a sippy cup will not get you a DUI), i’m telling you to take the edge off and convince yourself that you were going to enjoy this and make it a fun meaningful commute every day.
The last portion of The Döpe Project is an apology letter to yourself. Forgive yourself for all of the things that you have done in the past that you may be judging yourself internally for. Free yourself from the flaws and shortcomings of making mistakes, giving yourself permission to be human. The apology and love letter to yourself should include these main points:
- Unconditional love
As you create your self love letter, fill in this guide:
Dear INSERT YOUR NAME,
I love you! I am proud of you because…
I am impressed by…
I most like about you your…
You have improved so much at…
And INSERT YOUR NAME, you are perfectly flawed and allowed to be human so I forgive you for…
Thank you for being so amazing. From this day forth and everyday after? I vow to love you #unconditionally.