Dopamine is the all-powerful, unwilling-to-take-no-for-an-answer hormone that makes us want more. It’s the brain chemical responsible for motivating you to do things like make a career change, save money, or hit the gym. It’s what keeps us striving for goals, big and small.
But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. When dopamine is out of balance, it can lead to addiction, mental health issues, or major depression. It’s important to understand how dopamine works in the body so that you can better manage your own dopamine levels—and stay healthy and happy doing it.
Our first blog post on the series covered the basics of the four brain chemicals that contribute to happiness, and our last post took a deeper dive into serotonin. This time around, we’ll be focusing on dopamine—the hormone that governs pleasure and reward.
To start off, let’s look at what is dopamine in the brain, and what increases dopamine levels naturally.
What is Dopamine in the Brain?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter—a brain chemical messenger—that helps regulate reward-motivated behaviour and motivation. It’s commonly referred to as the “pleasure hormone” because it plays an important role in our ability to find pleasure in everyday activities, from eating or drinking something we enjoy to feeling a sense of accomplishment from completing a difficult task.
The brain’s release of dopamine elicits feelings of joy, focus, and inspiration—all indispensable traits for maintaining motivation. Without the presence of dopamine in our lives, nothing would be fun or fulfilling anymore; we wouldn’t have that internal push to strive towards success.
In the most basic terms, dopamine is what makes us feel good and what helps keep us motivated to do what we need to do. It’s an important part of our emotional wellbeing—and it can have a huge impact on our mental health when it’s out of balance.
What Increases Dopamine Levels?
So many of us are looking for ways to increase our dopamine levels—but what are some of the best natural methods?
● Exercise: Exercise is perhaps one of the most important and effective methods for upping your dopamine. Working out releases endorphins, providing an uplifting feeling in the body that can raise dopamine levels naturally.
● Healthy Eating: Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains can help increase dopamine levels. Eating foods like fish and dark chocolate can also give your dopamine a boost.
● Spend Time in Nature: Spending time outdoors has been linked to higher dopamine levels. Not only does the fresh air provide a refreshing break from daily life, but it also helps stimulate our senses and increase dopamine production.
● Meditation: Taking a few minutes to slow down and be mindful can help your body produce more dopamine. The calm, relaxed state of meditation helps stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers and release dopamine in the process.
● Get Enough Sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to decreased levels of dopamine production. When you get enough sleep, your body is better able to produce the dopamine you need.
● Build Good Habits: Developing good habits and routines can help increase dopamine levels—and that includes things like taking time for yourself, writing in a journal, or meditating.
● Reduce Stress: Reducing stress can also be an effective way to naturally boost dopamine levels. Regular breaks during the day and engaging in enjoyable activities (such as exercise, reading, or listening to music) can help reduce stress and increase dopamine production.
When it comes to dopamine, a healthy balance of this important neurotransmitter can make a big difference in your overall wellbeing and quality of life.
At Calm Store, we offer products that are designed to help you boost dopamine function naturally, so you can experience more happiness and contentment in your day-to-day life. Shop our online store today to find the perfect product for you.