Before diving into how you can naturally increase your body’s Dopamine levels, let’s define exactly what Dopamine is and why it is important. Dopamine, often referred to as a chemical messenger, is a type of neurotransmitter, meaning it sends messages between your nerve cells. Dopamine plays a lot of big roles, including effecting how we all feel pleasure, our ability to focus, our ability to think and plan, and even our ability to find things interesting.
If your body is deficient in dopamine levels, this can cause in imbalance in your life. A lack of Dopamine can be associated with the following concerns:
As with many things, too much or too little of Dopamine can leads to a vast range of health issues. Often times, too much or too little Dopamine in varying areas of the brain is often linked to mental health disorders – which affect many of those who struggle with addiction.
Dopamine also plays a key role in the lives of those who struggle with addiction. When someone misuses or abuses drugs it has a big effect on your body’s ability to produce Dopamine. For instance, if someone is using cocaine, it can cause a large and quick increase of Dopamine to your brain. Repeated use of this drug would raise your threshold for pleasure, meaning you would need to take a larger amount of the drug each time in order to receive the same amount of pleasure (or high). At the same time, the drug use is making your body less capable of producing Dopamine naturally, leading to emotional lows when you are not using the drug.
If you’re someone who simply feels like you don’t have enough energy to get through the day or you simply get easily distracted, it may be a sign that your Dopamine levels are too low. Thankfully, there are some natural ways that you can work to improve and increase your body’s Dopamine levels.
Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. Physical exercise increases your body’s production of new brain cells, reduces cell aging and increases your body’s Dopamine levels. Physical Exercise has also been proven to improve your mood. It is recommended that in order to see an effect, you need to be getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day, but 30 minutes per day is always a good goal to have. Even doing something as calm as yoga six days per week can significantly increase your body’s Dopamine levels.
Lack of sleep can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms. Your body naturally releases large amounts of Dopamine in the morning when it is time for you to wake up and lets your levels naturally decrease in the evening when it is typically time to go to sleep. If you’re forcing yourself to stay away or going to sleep at inconsistent times, you’re throwing off this natural rhythm in your body. You should be getting high quality, regular sleep in order to ensure your Dopamine levels are balanced.
Probiotics, aka good
gut bacteria, are live microorganisms that line your digestive tract and allow
your body/digestive system to function properly. Some people may not realize
that your gut and your bran are closely linked. In recent years, it has become
clear that some species of bacteria that reside in your gut are capable of
producing Dopamine. Therefore, when these healthy bacteria are consumed, it can
reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Believe it or not, listening to calming music can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress, increase pleasure, and assist in concentration. By increasing the activity in the reward and pleasure areas of the brain, listening to music is actually assisting to increase your body’s Dopamine levels in a natural way.
Meditating is the
practice of clearing one’s mind and focusing inward – allowing your thoughts to
be released. There have been hundreds of studies that point to meditations
effectiveness on improving overall health. Meditation increases your Dopamine
levels and helps to improve focus and concentration throughout the day. If
you’re someone who has never attempted meditation before, there are so many
free apps and online guides that can help walk you through a guided meditation
and make the process that much simpler. It doesn’t hurt to give it a shot for
Overall, Dopamine is something that is key to our overall mental health, influencing our mood and feelings of motivation. Typically, your body is pretty good about regulating Dopamine levels on its own, but diet and lifestyle changes such as the ones we discussed can help boost these levels naturally.