According to Psychology Today, “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional response, and enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.”
If this is the role dopamine plays in our system, it’s important to note why we have low levels of it and how to boost its production.
The following tips give us more information about the effects of dopamine in our mood, body, and behaviors as well as the ways to boost it.
10 Ways You Can Boost Your Dopamine Levels:
1. Be not addicted.
People having low dopamine levels get easily addicted to something that gives them instant gratification, such as addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, shopping, etc.
By craving for the things that give them a ‘quick fix’, they’re kicking into overdrive their brain’s rewards circuitry. This won’t work in the long run.
Dopamine is released after we received a reward, which ultimately leads to learning. We learn that the more we are rewarded, the more we keep doing the things that give us the reward.
Low dopamine levels could be a result of a trauma or a lifestyle that promises no reward for the person living it.
To protect yourself from getting addicted, resolve past issues if there are any, then go for rewarding activities and lifestyle.
Let the high dopamine levels be rooted within yourself and not an escape for something you don’t want to face.
2. Checklist the small tasks.
Create a checklist for your task and check each one of them after they’ve been done.
When you’re organized and finish each task, your dopamine levels will increase regardless of the size of your tasks.
Avoid writing tasks that are too big for you to handle. This makes you feel defeated once you fail to do them, causing your dopamine levels to drop.
Instead, see to it that your tasks are aligned with your highest values. This way, you’re more motivated to fulfill the things that are most important to you.
Every time you finish a task and feel accomplished, your brain produces more dopamine.
3. Get creative.
When artists are truly focused, they are able to enter into a state of flow. This ‘flow state’ is achieved through the workings of dopamine in the brain.
Increase your dopamine levels by finding an activity or hobby that inspires your creative juices to flow. You can try arts, crafts, auto repair, drawing, photography, or anything that truly interests you.
Just don’t compare your work with that of others as this will hinder your creative genius to reveal itself. Do something that makes you feel fulfilled after seeing your finished project.
4. Move your body.
Physical exercise has tons of benefits like relieving stress, achieving better physical health, and making you more productive. It can also boost your dopamine levels because it increases multiple neurotransmitters: serotonin and endorphin.
The coolest thing is, you don’t need to go to the gym to keep your body moving. Taking a stroll or climbing some stairs will do.
You also don’t need to spend hours for physical exercise, unless you have a specific goal like toning your muscles. Exercise is easier when you include it in your daily task.
5. Get a streak going.
A streak is a visual reminder of how many days in a row you’ve achieved something. This is done by writing down your goals including the days of the week or months when they are scheduled.
Let’s say, your art class is every Saturday and Sunday of the week. Mark these days on the calendar for the month. Mark off the days you finished each scheduled art class.
While the streak keeps you going, keeping track of your progress inspires you in the process.
You can compare your performance from the day you start to where you are at the moment.
The more you’re happy with your performance, the more you feel rewarded.
6. Increase your Tyrosine
Considered as the building block of dopamine, tyrosine is the most important chemical that make up dopamine.
Tyrosine is one of the 22 key amino acids used for building proteins around the body and is found in almonds, avocados, bananas, beef, chicken, chocolate, coffee, eggs, green tea, watermelon, and yogurt.
Tyrosine also raises the levels of specific neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine and norepinephrine, the ‘feel good’ chemicals that help boost mood and elevate concentration.
However, tyrosine alone is incapable of passing the BBB. It needs to be bonded with another molecule to make it past the blood-brain barrier.
Through natural digestion and regulating healthy bodily function, tyrosine is able to assist the brain in having to work less on fixing an unhealthy system. This increases the potential for dopamine and the good feelings associated with dopamine.
7. Listen to music.
If you notice, good music gives you a good feeling. It’s because listening to music that you enjoy increases your dopamine levels.
Scientists even say that listening to music provides the same effect as eating your favorite food or watching your favorite TV show. Thus, listening to music when you’re feeling down is a good way to boost your mood again.
But then, make sure it’s not your only source of dopamine.
8. Practice meditation.
Scientists are starting to embrace meditation and mindfulness as essentials to having a healthy mind. Meditation clears our mind away of clutter and calms our overthinking mind.
If left unchecked, overthinking can hinder your spiritual development. When done properly, meditation can be effective in increasing your dopamine levels because it weeds out the negative influences in the mind.
As the mental clutter is being cleared, you will feel a sense of presence and fulfillment for just being alive. This increases your awareness of the things that make you feel good.
9. Take supplements.
Aside from the great ways you can follow to increase your dopamine levels, taking natural supplements also helps.
Some of these are the following: Acetyl-l-tyrosine, another building block of dopamine that makes it easier for the brain to produce dopamine; Curcumin, an active ingredient common in curry spices and turmeric; Ginkgo Biloba, a supplement believed to boost dopamine levels and extends its circulation in the brain longer; L-theanine, increases multiple neurotransmitters in the brain including dopamine, and; Green Tea.
But then again, relying solely on these supplements isn’t helpful in your own inner potential for fulfillment. You need to do the inner work and facilitate change in your life so that feeling good is truly fulfilling.
10. Cleanse yourself from toxins.
Being totally free of toxins and bacteria is not one hundred percent possible. No matter how much we try to avoid them, they can be accumulated from the food that we eat.
Endotoxins can cause imbalance to our immune system and constrains the production of dopamine.
We can get rid of endotoxins from our gut by eating fermented foods, getting enough sleep, and resisting to indulge in fatty or sugary foods.
If ever you find yourself craving for a candy bar, determine what may have caused the desire. It might be stress or simply feeling unfulfilled in something that you do.
Make sure you align yourself to your highest values by doing things that gives you more fulfillment.
The more you feel fulfilled, the more inspired you become in actively seeking ways to improve your health.