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5 Natural Ways to Boost Dopamine

By Paula Vargas October 02, 2020

5 Natural Ways to Boost Dopamine

Your neurons communicate with each other through neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals. Dopamine is one of these brain chemicals that has a significant impact on how you feel and behave. It influences your internal reward system, so is directly linked to functions such as motivation, pleasure, addiction, mood and memory. It also affects movement, blood flow, sleep, learning, alertness and even urine output!

With today’s stressful world, being so interlinked and yet disconnected from one another, increases in anxiety and depression are felt globally. Everyone is looking for that next dopamine hit – to shy away from pain and run towards pleasure. It’s a part of our animalistic nature to want to seek support and avoid challenges. The only problem with this is that challenge remains constant in your life – you can’t run away from your problems. Looking for a quick fix, we often turn to dopamine hits that provide short term pleasure but long term pain:

  • Fast foods and high sugar treats
  • Incessant social media scrolling
  • Abusing recreational drugs
  • Gambling
  • Addiction to video games

Fortunately, there are also healthy ways to boost your dopamine levels naturally. Focus on these actions and start reaping the feel-good benefits today:

1. Eat foods rich in Tyrosine:

Dopamine in your brain is made from the amino acid l-tyrosine, which you can find in protein-rich foods. By eating a diet with plenty of l-tyrosine, you’re getting the building bloods needed for the synthesis of dopamine.

Include in your diet:

  • Chicken
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Olive oil
  • Leafy greens

2. Turn up the music!

It's no secret that music makes us feel amazing. Part of this is due to the increase in dopamine that your brain gets - Studies that have explored this reported brain scans showing the pleasure centre in the brain lighting up in response to music. Listen to, create or play music for that natural boost of feel good motivation!

3. Get that body moving (hopefully in the sun):

You know exercise makes you feel good, but sometimes it can be hard to get started. Just tell yourself to do a few minutes of movement, and soon you’ll be on a roll! As the blood flow increases and your heart starts racing, you’ll get a flood of feel good chemicals, including dopamine.

Are you getting enough bright light lately? Even a few minutes a day can help! Get out for a brisk walk without any distractions, and feel that sunlight's power to wake you up naturally. Bright light is associated with positive mood, and this may be because it helps to stimulate dopamine. Did you know that light also promotes dopamine release in your eye's retina? It's great for the health of your vision. Of course, don't stare directly at the sun!

4. Get into Zen mode:

  • Book a Massage:

Touch, specifically pleasurable touch, has an influence on increasing dopamine. Studies on massage therapy related to dopamine have shown a significant increase in urinary dopamine levels. Another great excuse to book in a pampering session!

  • Do Yoga and Meditation:

Studies have shown that meditation promotes the release of dopamine, one study even showing an astonishing increase of 65%. The positive effects of meditation are extensively studied and well-known - it's a matter of prioritising it and making sure you stick to it. Combine it with yoga practise for extra goodness; men studied over three months of yoga practise were shown to have higher dopamine levels. Furthermore, yoga was found to increase dopamine levels over treadmill running. Yoga is an all-round wellness boost to help you age healthily and boost your feel good chemicals at the same time!

5. Find Dopamine related Supplements:

As always, you should focus on maintaining a healthy diet, and getting regular check ups you’re your GP, to make sure you are steering clear of deficiencies. Supplementation can be of assistance in conjunction with your healthy diet and lifestyle.

Make sure you have your bases covered with these:

For an extra level of dopamine support:

What Dopamine Fix Will You Choose? 

The choice is always yours - whether you continue to indulge in addictive behaviours, or find positive ways for increasing your mood naturally. By taking a break from the addictive behaviours you're drawn to (you know the ones!), you can find time and space to cultivate new practices that will help you feel great over the long run.

References:

  • Blood AJ, Zatorre RJ. Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001;98(20):11818-11823. doi:10.1073/pnas.191355898
  • Enzolifesciences.com. 2020. The Role Of Dopamine As A Neurotransmitter In The Human Brain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 October 2020].
  • Patrick Alban, D., 2020. How To Increase Dopamine Naturally (Comprehensive Review). [online] Be Brain Fit. Available at: [Accessed 1 October 2020].
  • ScienceDaily. 2020. Scientists Identify Connection Between Dopamine And Behavior Related To Pain And Fear: New Research Illuminates Crucial Links Between Avoidance Behavior And Key Brain Chemicals. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 October 2020].
  • SelfHacked. 2020. 54 Factors That May Increase Dopamine - Selfhacked. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 October 2020].

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