If you’ve been a Simple Daily Drawer for even just a few days, then you’re probably familiar with the feeling of happy accomplishment that happens after you’ve sat down to draw your masterpiece each day.
The progression of your skills… The way it winds your body down… The sense of satisfaction… It’s all major mood boosters.
And what you’re experiencing has a scientific explanation!
It’s due to the release of a neurochemical called dopamine.
Dopamine is often referred to as your “feel good” hormone because it makes you feel happy, satisfied, and motivated. And the dopamine released in your brain while drawing makes you feel exactly that!
When you draw, dopamine is released because your brain knows to start paying attention to the fact that you’re about to feel a sense of reward.
That also means dopamine has incredible power when it comes to reinforcing behavior… If you feel a sense of achievement after participating in an activity, then those behaviors are more likely to be continued.
Essentially, dopamine will reinforce the behaviors that make you feel good while keeping your energy up.
This means you can “use” dopamine to fall into GOOD habits. Drawing being one of them 🙂 So not only does dopamine spark your drawing habit, but drawing also releases dopamine. They go hand in “head”! 😉
It’s pretty clear to see that when your levels of dopamine are steady, your experience of life is pretty great. You’ll feel happier, more energetic, focused, and look forward to your day.
On the other hand, when your levels of dopamine are low, your experience of life can turn gloomy.
So how do you know if your natural levels of dopamine are low?
If you identify with a lot of the following traits, it’s a sign that your dopamine levels may be low:
Struggling to get out of bed in the morning
Feeling down in the dumps
No desire to work on anything
Missing the motivation to complete projects or meet deadlines
Anxious or forgetful
Quick to anger
Or low self-esteem
The good news is that there are a LOT of ways to help bring your dopamine levels back up naturally.
Besides drawing, other ways to boost dopamine naturally include:
Get 8 hours of sleep (turn off your phone, close the blinds, listen to some white noise or calming music)
Get at least 30 – 45 minutes of movement into your routine (go for a walk, dance to some music while cooking, get a stationary bike at home)
Meditation (download some apps you’re curious to try, or reserve time for meditative drawing a few times a week)
Spend time in the sun (if it’s winter and there’s no sun to be found, click here for tips on how to manage the winter blues)
Of course, our other main recommendation is to continue with the daily drawing 🙂
The key is to re-route your focus to the joy of the process and not on the result. When the drawing itself brings you joy regardless of how “good” you think your drawing is, THAT is when dopamine levels will really start to kick in.
When you’re able to enjoy drawing for what it is, rather than the result itself – you can find ways to be inspired and gain some knowledge along the way (like looking up new info about the day’s daily prompt – you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered some new things had you not been prompted to draw something unique). Those things will still help with dopamine!
(And don’t be too hard on yourself if that takes some time! Our Facebook community group is a great support system to get yourself on track for enjoying the process of drawing).
Our brains naturally enjoy receiving new information, and your drawings are exactly that:
“It’s okay if the rewarding drawing they expected ends up looking different. They stay motivated, and dopamine continues to release because it’s still rewarding information.”
~Stephen Ware, TruScribe