12 Ways to Naturally Boost Dopamine, The Happy Hormone
vemuda.com - Do you ever feel like you just don’t have the energy to make it through the day? Is it hard for you to complete things? Are you easily distracted or find it hard to concentrate?
If you answered yes to these questions, there’s a good chance that you need to increase your dopamine levels.
Often termed the feel good chemical, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, focus, energy, and behavior. However, if your dopamine levels are low, this can cause an imbalance in your life.
Reduced dopamine production is also linked to depression, attention deficit disorder, obesity, and other medical conditions.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways to boost dopamine levels so you can stay motivated, productive, and happy.
So, let's get to it!
1. Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is an essential mineral. It plays a role in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body and is required for optimal neurotransmitter activity.
Studies show that magnesium boosts dopamine levels and produces antidepressant effects. But unfortunately, many people don't get an adequate amount of this mineral.
And if you have a poor diet high in processed foods, you’re likely to be deficient. Start by eating more magnesium-rich foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, and dark chocolate.
Taking supplements and soaking in Epsom salt baths can also increase your body's magnesium levels.
2. Cut Down on Processed Sugars
You're surely familiar with that rush you get after consuming a high amount of sugar. This is often referred to as a sugar high. It's usually temporary and is followed by a crash that leaves you feeling like crap.
Similar to alcohol and recreational drugs, processed sugars briefly boost dopamine while affecting the pace at which your body normally produces it.
The good news is that eliminating sugar from your diet for a week or two allows your dopamine production to return to normal.
And, you won't be craving sugar as intensely. In turn, this will help your body produce dopamine responses that aren't tied to sugar.
3. Move Your Body
We all know that exercise improves overall health and wellness. It particularly boosts dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin; a blend of neurotransmitters that will instantly make you feel better.
The best part? It doesn't have to be a strenuous workout. Even light physical activity activates your brain's reward center, providing a surge of pleasure, drive, and optimism.
For even better results, get outside. Exposure to sunlight can increase dopamine levels and aid in vitamin D production, which also supports dopamine regulation.
4. Eat More Foods Rich in L-Tyrosine
While many different food groups can naturally boost dopamine, eating foods high in the amino acid L-tyrosine can be particularly beneficial. It can help ensure that you acquire the basic building blocks needed for dopamine synthesis.
And while it's important to have a well-balanced diet, one that includes meals from all food groups, consuming more L-tyrosine (commonly found in protein-rich foods) can help boost dopamine production. Have some more avocados, bananas, almonds, beans, eggs, chicken and fish.
5. Take Probiotics
Because dopamine is a neurotransmitter, it’s easy to think that it’s solely found in the brain. However, your gut also plays a role in controlling dopamine levels, which is why probiotics can be beneficial.
A healthy balance of gut bacteria is shown to positively impact mood. Whereas an imbalance is frequently linked to various mood-related symptoms.
Your gut health is basically tied to your body's ability to produce and regulate dopamine levels. So it's important to take good care of it!
6. Listen to Music
Listening to music you enjoy releases dopamine in the brain and transmits pleasure signals to the rest of your body. And the more pleasing the music is to the ear, the more pleasurable the experience is for the body.
Make a playlist of some of your favorite tracks and listen to it whenever you are feeling low, unmotivated, or experiencing other symptoms that signal low dopamine levels.
7. Enjoy Some Physical Touch
Studies show that interpersonal touch can boost dopamine levels whether it's someone caressing your back or just snuggling up with your pet.
Massage therapy, in particular, has been found to increase dopamine levels by 31%. It also has other benefits, including lowering cortisol, increasing oxytocin, and stimulating the vagus nerve.
8. Take A Cold Shower
Believe it or not, showering with water that's 14 degrees Celsius or 57 degrees Fahrenheit raises dopamine levels by 250%!
You don't have to go to such lengths, though. You can start by finishing your next shower with a minute of cold water.
See how it feels, then gradually increase the amount of time. Sure, it's a bit uncomfortable, but if you can handle it, the benefits will be well worth it.
9. Focus On Something You Enjoy
Have you ever noticed that you become hyper-focused when doing something you're passionate about? During this time, you actually enter a psychological state called flow.
While in this state, your brain produces a cascade of neurochemicals including dopamine, norepinephrine, anandamide, serotonin, and endorphins.
These chemicals not only increase your enjoyment while you are doing the activity, but they also give you continued motivation.
Meditation is a technique that calms the mind, and countless studies have demonstrated its benefits and effects on mental health.
In fact, brain scan imaging studies confirmed that meditation increases dopamine release by 65%. It has also been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety by up to 50%.
If you want to be more productive and boost dopamine naturally, try to regularly take some time for meditation or silent reflection.
11. Make A List of Tasks and Then Complete Them
Whenever you achieve a goal, regardless of how big or small, your brain releases dopamine.
An easy way to boost this neurotransmitter is to jot down all the tasks you need to finish before the end of the day.
Then, as you tick them off, you'll trigger a release of dopamine in your brain. If you're working on a bigger project, just break it down into several micro-goals.
Each task you complete will help your brain recognize a micro-reward and, as a result, will trigger a future dopamine response.
This can help you get through those seemingly endless projects by providing your brain a boost to propel you from one micro-goal to the next!
12. Get More Sleep
Dopamine levels and sleep are closely tied together. You probably already know that a lack of sleep has a negative effect on your mood and productivity.
After a night of tossing and turning, you feel cranky and not very motivated. A good night's sleep, on the other hand, will increase your dopamine production and give you the drive to tackle the tasks in the day ahead.
So, it's imperative to practice good sleep hygiene. This includes keeping your room dark and quiet, putting away any electronic devices, and aiming for at least seven hours of sleep each night.
There you have it. If you just can't find the motivation to enjoy life to the fullest, know that you can train your dopamine response to help you out.
Utilize your neurological processes and assist them by engaging in activities that naturally enhance dopamine levels.
When you start working with your body and its natural processes, you’ll find that you are much happier, healthier, and more productive!
Thanks for reading!