12 Science-Backed Ways to Naturally Increase Dopamine, the “Feel Good” Brain Chemical

Do you lack motivation, feel down, or struggle to concentrate? Low dopamine could be to blame. We need to naturally increase dopamine levels.

Dubbed the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine plays a vital role in mood, focus, energy levels, and more. When your brain doesn’t produce enough dopamine, it can negatively impact your mental health and everyday functioning.

Fortunately, you can give your dopamine levels a boost through natural means. In this article, we’ll explore 12 science-backed techniques to increase dopamine and improve happiness, drive, and well-being.

What is Dopamine and Why is it Important?

Dopamine is a chemical messenger that helps nerve cells communicate. It’s critical for both mental and physical health. Dopamine affects numerous functions, including:

  • Mood – Dopamine promotes feelings of pleasure and happiness. Low levels are linked to depression.
  • Motivation – Dopamine provides the drive to work toward both long-term and short-term goals.
  • Focus – Dopamine helps you concentrate by filtering out distractions.
  • Movement – Dopamine aids muscle control and coordination. Low dopamine leads to tremors or rigid muscles.
  • Learning – The neurotransmitter facilitates connections between brain cells to support memory, problem-solving and more.
  • Digestion – Dopamine in the gut regulates intestinal movements.

Boosting dopamine can enhance motivation, mood, productivity, learning, and general wellness. Let’s explore 12 proven ways to increase dopamine naturally.

12 Ways to Naturally Increase Dopamine Levels

  1. Get More Magnesium Magnesium plays over 300 roles in your body, including supporting dopamine production. Many people don’t get enough magnesium. Consume magnesium-rich foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, avocados, and almonds. Magnesium supplements or Epsom salt baths also increase levels.
  2. Cut Back on Sugar Sugar provides a temporary dopamine spike and crash. Quit sugar for 1-2 weeks so your dopamine production normalizes. Then the neurotransmitter won’t rely on sugar boosts.
  3. Exercise Any movement triggers dopamine and other “feel good” brain chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. Aim for at least 30 minutes daily. For extra benefits, exercise outdoors for some mood-boosting sunlight.
  4. Eat More L-Tyrosine This amino acid is a dopamine building block. Foods high in L-tyrosine include eggs, chicken, fish, avocados, almonds, and bananas.
  5. Take Probiotics Your gut health affects dopamine regulation. Imbalanced gut bacteria is linked to mood issues. Take probiotics and nurture healthy gut flora.
  6. Listen to Music Music you enjoy releases dopamine and triggers pleasure signals. Make upbeat playlists for instant mood lifts.
  7. Get Physical Touch Human and animal touch sparks dopamine release. Try massage, petting your dog, or non-sexual physical affection with your partner.
  8. Take Cold Showers Just one minute of chilly water spikes dopamine 250%! Gradually work up to longer cold showers for an invigorating dopamine boost.
  9. Enter “Flow State” Through Enjoyable Activities When hyper-focused on a fun task, your brain produces dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and other uplifting chemicals. Carve out more time for hobbies, passions, sports, crafts, or creative pursuits.
  10. Meditate Brain scans confirm meditation substantially increases dopamine. Less stress means more of the “feel good” neurotransmitter.
  11. Make and Complete Task Lists Achieving goals triggers rewarding dopamine bursts, however small the task. List your daily to-dos. Cross them off as you finish each one.
  12. Prioritize Sleep
    Dopamine relies on adequate sleep. Without it, you wake up tired, grumpy, and unmotivated. Support healthy dopamine function and mood by getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep nightly.

The Bottom Line

Dopamine deficiency can hamper enjoyment of life. Rebalance your dopamine levels through diet, lifestyle hacks, stress relief, and other natural tactics. Soon you’ll feel more driven, focused, optimistic and content.