Dopamine is a molecule that our bodies naturally produce and it’s related to many of the pleasures in life. Dopamine is connected to love, lust, addiction, attention and a whole host of other things between and beyond.
The boosted feelings of pleasure you feel from the release of dopamine can be a great way to help overcome depression, anxiety and other mental struggles. However, the benefits of dopamine aren’t simply limited to a better mood. It’s involved in the regulation of our muscle movement, improving cognitive function and aiding us in staying focused.
Although spikes in dopamine can be achieved through things like drugs, the negative consequences like addiction can make this a far from desirable option. Instead, here are 5 completely natural and effective ways to increase your dopamine levels:
1. Listen To Music
Putting on some music that you enjoy is a tested and proven way to increase your dopamine levels. Music has been helping us to feel better for as long as 2.6 million years ago in the Paleolithic Era.
Even the anticipation of listening to music that you love can cause dopamine spikes. Browsing through a great playlist or the anticipation before a concert are examples of this.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to simply do nothing and be entirely present. I strongly believe that meditation is one of the best ways to improve almost every aspect of your life, particularly overcoming things like depression and anxiety. Whether you decide to meditate, pray or do some yoga, these activities are all linked to increased levels of dopamine.
In fact, one of the reasons that people who meditate consistently are more productive and handle stress better is due to higher levels of dopamine. By breaking free of the stresses of our world and becoming fully present in the moment, we release a whole host of feel good chemicals including dopamine to make ourselves feel better.
If you haven’t tried meditation before or want to get back into it, here’s an article on How to Get Started with Meditation
3. Set Some Small Goals
The brain releases dopamine every time you achieve a small goal, particularly if you’ve made a list or written it down somewhere. To maximise this effect, break down big jobs into small tasks so that every time you work through a task, you’ll achieve a dopamine spike and be even more motivated to keep going.
Another reason to break down your larger tasks into smaller ones is because you’ll be more likely to complete them. Setting a goal that involves big changes in your daily routine will be more likely to be compromised by self-sabotage and procrastination than if you chip away and make small changes.
4. Adapt Your Diet
A protein called Tyrosine is an essential building block for dopamine and it’s important that you have the necessary foods in your diet that supplement this. By eating foods that contain Tyrosine, you can naturally increase the dopamine levels in your body. Some foods that contain Tyrosine are:
- Green Tea
These are not particularly rare foods and you may already have a few of these in your diet, but it’s good to be aware that this can be a factor.
Just like meditation, exercise has an abundance of positive effects on many aspects of your life. Regular exercise is just as beneficial for your mental health as it is for your physical health.
Exercise not only elevates dopamine levels but also serotonin and other endorphins, all of which can be useful in battling depression and anxiety. This does not have to be particularly strenuous exercise, even taking a walk will do the trick. If you want to hit 2 birds with 1 stone, here’s a guide on A Way To Meditate While You Walk.
There is no doubt that dopamine is an addictive and hugely beneficial chemical for us. It can motivate us to be productive and have a more positive view on life. These 5 ways to naturally spike your dopamine will help you when you need it most.