The main chemical of the brain is dopamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for many mental and physical processes. In fact, if you know how to stimulate the dopamine levels naturally, you will be able to overcome depression, anxiety, apathy, and fear, while at the same time you will boost feelings of pleasure.
Dopamine usually rewards some behaviors in us so we want to do them again. This is why some drugs are very addictive. For instance, cocaine, heroin, and other opiates can cause a reward of dopamine and this is why we like to try them again. Well, that is until you get a crash when the drug is absent from the physiology.
Opiates usually bind to the opiate receptors in the brain and these increase the release of dopamine. However, when this is gone, then there comes the need for more drugs to have the same high. This is why drug addicts usually would do anything to get their fix.
Studies on Dopamine
For instance, there have been some experiments done on mice and it was realized that when the same nerve bundle that usually causes an opiate release was stimulated when pressed a lever, the mice would press the lever thousands of times in an hour. This was all because of increased levels of dopamine. Then, after another experiment on human beings, they came to the similar conclusion. The person, after 3 hours, would press a button which triggered a dopamine dump thousands of times just to get an emotional boost.
What we get is some dumps in the brain with less destructive behaviors, like making money, having sex, and winning a video game. However, there are boosting activities that can actually boost the levels without addiction.
There are dopamine neurons in the brain that are smaller than other neurons and they form less than 0.0006% of the neurons in the brain. However, we can stimulate the nerve bundle that links the dopamine neurons with the targets in the forebrain.
This chemical is also responsible for regulating the muscle movement, improving cognitive function, keeping us focused, it helps us make decisions, evaluate problems and solve them, plus secreting prolactin among many things.
It is obvious that dopamine is very important for our well-being and happiness. Without high levels of it, we will experience depression, sadness, confusion, fear, negative thinking, rumination, and other emotional obstacles.
Natural Ways to Increase the Dopamine Levels
Some exercise will help you elevate the dopamine D2 receptors in the brain. Moreover, it will increase the serotonin and other endorphins in the body too. Also, it can prevent depression, reduce stress and strengthen the mind and the body.
2. Make a list and Cross Off the Things You Accomplish
Whenever we finish a task successfully, our brain usually gets filled with this chemical. If you want to get more hits of it, then you need to break your bigger tasks into smaller ones and check them off. This habit can help you with your goals and it will clear the mental clutter. The Principles of Self-Management claim that one task is 25% of a bigger change in your routine, so, you often end up not finishing it. However, if you make small changes of 10% then you will go in the right direction.
3. Eat Dopamine-Increasing Foods
Tyrosine is the precursor for dopamine. So, if you consume foods that have it, you can boost the dopamine levels naturally. You can find it in:
- Green tea
- Dark Chocolate
4. Reduce Your Lipopolysaccharides
This one is an endotoxin will make the immune system go crazy.Lipopolysaccharides also inhibit the production of dopamine. So, if you eat foods that protect the gut, like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and if you take probiotics, you can lower the lipopolysaccharides and create the chemical easily.
While we are talking about toxins, you need to know that you need to detox regularly. If toxins accumulate in your body, this will prevent the production of this chemical. You can detox in many different ways, from green juicing, taking activated charcoal, doing a yogic master cleanse. Thus, the less toxic you are, the more your dopamine levels can increase.
6. Listen to Uplifting Music
The easiest and fastest way to get a dopamine hit in the brain is from listening to music. Music creates moments that make our brain sing. It has helped people get uplifted for a long time now.
7. Get Creative
It does not matter if you do crafts and arts or write a piece of music, everything creative will boost the dopamine levels. Therefore, dance, take a drawing class, write a poem or just cook something, the chemical’s levels will be boosted.
8. Start a Postive Streak
If you do this, it will increase the dopamine levels and create positive habits. Thus, try to do as many new things as you possibly can and see if you can make a winning streak last.
You can also raise the levels with supplementation, for instance:
- L-theanine can increase many neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine. One of the natural sources of it is green tea.
- The curcumin in the turmeric can also increase this chemical in the brain.
- Ginkgo Biloba can also raise the levels.
- A healthy dose of acetyl-l-tyrosine can support the production of the chemical in the brain.
10. Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga can also help with increasing of dopamine levels. This is why people who meditate can handle stress more easily and this is due to an increase in GABA and this chemical. Moreover, meditation will also release us from conditioned neural pathways which are blocking the release of dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters.