The neurotransmitter called dopamine is released by the brain and has numerous vital functions in the human’s body.
Some of its functions are:
– To control the pleasure and reward center of the brain
– To control movement
– To regulates the secretion of prolactin
– To improve the cognitive functions (memory, knowledge, problem solving, attention, decision making, and evaluation)
Given that dopamine is crucial for our happiness and well-being, the fact that low levels of this neurotransmitter can lead to sadness, depression, negativity and many other emotional troubles doesn’t come as a surprise.
Luckily, there are 10 easy and all- natural ways to increase our dopamine levels without using medications.
1. Don’t Get Addicted
Addictions, including drug-, alcohol-, sex-, shopping-addictions and any other addictive behaviors, often develop to receive an instant gratification. But this instant fix doesn’t actually solve your problems. For a while, addictive behaviors can relieve your pain, but they don’t offer long-term solutions. Addictions lead to less-rewarding lifestyles, to lifestyles all about looking for fulfillment from the source of your addictions.
To decrease the likelihood of addictions, aim to live a more fulfilling life with more life-rewarding pleasures. Fill your day with things, activities and people that inspire or uplift you. Have fulfilling conversations, go for walks, read a good book, take a job you love (or learn to love your job), play with animals or buy yourself flowers.
Since addictions often stem from past traumas; you want to look for ways of emotional release, letting go and forgiveness. If you need to, don’t be afraid to seek help from a therapist, counselor or life coach.
2. Checklist Small Tasks
When people are organized and finish even the easiest task, their levels of dopamine are increased. Therefore, write down the things you need to do instead of worrying about them, and check them off one at a time. It has been proven that our dopamine levels raise when we check things off of our to-do list.
The Principles of Self-Management recommends doing tasks that are motivating and challenging, but no too difficult because if they are, we might feel incapable of doing them, such as the tasks that involve 25% or bigger change in our routine. On the contrary, if the tasks represent less than 10% change of our routine, we will probably not try doing them as they will look too easy and meaningless. Therefore, the best way is to do tasks that bring change between 10 and 25 % of our routine.
3. Create Something
Creative activity increases dopamine levels in your brain and makes you more focused. You don’t necessarily have to be a professional artist in order to be creative. Writing, painting, sculpturing, drawing, dancing, singing, knitting,cooking, making crafts, and auto repair, are just some of the many creative things you can do.
Every form of exercise will increase your dopamine levels as well as your endorphins and serotonins levels. Regular exercise reduces stress, creates joy and makes us stronger, which is very important for our day-to-day life. Just make sure not to become addicted to exercising.
5. Get a Streak Going
“Streak” can be defined here as a visual reminder of how many times in a row we have done some activity. This is similar to making a checklist and successfully doing our tasks. It makes us happier as it increases our dopamine levels. Take a calendar and note down the tasks or goals you like to accomplish in the next days, weeks, and even months. For instance, you can mark several days of the week on the calendar and exercise on these days that month. After exercising, mark that day off on the calendar.
This is a very useful way to increase your dopamine levels, but it has one negative aspect, and that’s creating a routine. But you can try finding new ways to change and improve your performance every time you do it.
6. Increase the Levels of Tyrosine
Tyrosine is one of the 22 key amino acids that create proteins in our body, and it’s the most crucial chemical for the dopamine production. This chemical also raises the levels of noradrenalin (norepinephrine). Some of the foods that can raise the levels of tyrosine in our body are: avocados, almonds, watermelon, dark chocolate, green tea, and bananas.
7. Listen to Music
Although temporarily, listening to music raises our dopamine levels, making us feeling happy and energetic for a certain period. But as it won’t last long, music should be only one of your sources of dopamine.
There’s a difference between using cardiovascular exercises and using meditation to raise your dopamine levels. Meditating helps you relax, feel better, and creates more mental energy, and with regular mediating you will become well-prepared to fight everyday stressful situations.
9. Take Supplements
Some of the natural supplements that will boost your dopamine levels are:
– Ginkgo Biloba is a well-known supplement to raise the dopamine levels
– Acetyl-l-tyrosine is an amino acid that produces dopamine, so a healthy dose of it will improve the ability of your brain to produce dopamine
– Green tea is an excellent source of l-theanine, which increases dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain
– The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, also raises the levels of dopamine in the brain
10. Toxic Cleansing
The accumulation of germs and contaminants in your body compromises the immune system and hinders the production of dopamine.