What are the best natural ways to get dopamine? That’s the all-important question I’m going to be looking at today.
If you have good control of your dopamine levels you will know it. You’ll have high levels of motivation, you’ll feel energy coursing through your body, you’ll have a healthy sexual appetite, and you’ll have high levels of confidence.
Those are the benefits of managing your dopamine levels.
And when you fail to manage your dopamine levels? Then you’ll notice these symptoms:
- Low libido
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Lack of motivation
- memory loss
All of that and simply because you are not correctly controlling your dopamine levels.
I created this dopamine infographic to illustrate the most important facts about dopamine.
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But just what is dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls communication in the brain. Dopamine is so universal you can even find it in lizards, but humans have very high levels of dopamine, and many believe that it’s the dopamine that’s responsible for making us more intelligent than other animals—which also explains why you might seem to lack intelligence if you don’t control your dopamine levels.
We get dopamine from the food we eat. We ingest tyrosine, an amino acid, that becomes dopa, and that dopa then becomes dopamine. That dopamine is then passed through the brain via dopamine machinery. If that dopamine machinery is impaired, a variety of complications can arise, including: Parkinson’s, ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s.
What this all means is that we need the right amount of dopamine in the right place at the right time.
When you control your dopamine levels you become your strongest self. With the right levels of dopamine you will be motivated, competitive, confident, and energised.
And as well as managing dopamine you might like to:
Use these techniques to increase confidence
Get motivation through meditation (which will also help you balance your dopamine)
Too much or not enough dopamine in any part of the brain leads to impairment. So you can imagine how very important it is to get the right amounts of dopamine from the right sources and at the right time.
The dopamine problem becomes more complex when you consider how it affects your life
Your brain uses dopamine to regulate itself. You’ve seen those horrible experiments performed on lab rats, right? They work like this. The scientist teaches the rat how to get a piece of cheese by performing a specific action. The cheese is nice. The rat learns that if it does that action and gets the cheese it will feel good. So the rat keeps on repeating the exact same action over and over.
Your brain is that lab rat.
Your brain wants dopamine. The natural, healthy situation is for the brain to release dopamine when a positive action is performed. You learn something new, you get a hit of dopamine, it feels good, so you continue to learn new things.
But then here comes Mr. Cigarette. Mr. Cigarette gives you a huge hit of dopamine. Your brain, essentially, says “My God that felt good. Look at the amount of dopamine I got from smoking that thing! That must be good. I’ll keep doing that until I die of ling cancer.”
Lab rat. Brain. Same deal.
And it’s here that the dopamine problem comes into play.
Many people suffer from addictions because they’ve learnt to get dopamine hits either in the wrong quantities or from the wrong sources
You will not be surprised when I say that many of the world’s largest manufacturers have succeeded precisely because they have deliberately impaired your dopamine control.
For starters, all foods that contain lots of sugar lead to a dopamine hit. Are you addicted to Coke? That’s because of the amount of sugar it contains. The sugar gives your brain a dopamine hit. Your brain says, “Wow I must have done something right here because I’m drowning in dopamine now”. You’ve trained your brain that Coke = dopamine. You’re addicted.
Smoking cigarettes? Same deal. Nicotine gives you the largest dopamine release on Earth (except for sex). You get that dopamine hit one time you’re addicted.
Those adult videos you watch when no one’s home? Yeah. Same deal. Especially if you indulge in them.
Thankfully, there are some powerful ways that you can overcome these addictions.
When you use drugs or sugar to get a huge dopamine hit, your brain then wants more dopamine, and it’s not happy with the amount it gets doing healthy activities.
If we were all perfect, we would satiate ourselves by getting healthy levels of dopamine from performing natural activities that give us dopamine. That’d be lovely.
But uh-oh, thanks to corrupt manufacturers who have intentionally given us gargantuan dopamine hits in order to make us addicted, our brains are no longer satisfied with the right amount of dopamine.
If you’ve been smoking, eating lots of sugar, watching adult videos, or taking in other huge hits of dopamine, your brain has learnt to take more dopamine than it naturally should.
That means that your brain is now not satisfied with the normal levels of dopamine. It wants the big hits. It wants the sugar, the cigarettes, etc.
So now you’ve got a brain that only feels satisfied if it’s given unhealthy levels of dopamine from unhealthy sources.
Problem. Because now you’re left two choices. Choice one: continue to perform the unhealthy action to get the unhealthy hit of dopamine, which will make you happy for a bit but ultimately kill you. Choice two: do not perform the unhealthy action, feel lousy for a while, but ultimately feel better.
Obviously the right choice here is choice two: do not do the unhealthy thing, let the brain return to its healthy state, and feel crap for a bit but ultimately get healthy.
Problem is it’s not that easy. Because your previous dopamine addiction has hijacked your brain.
Your brain wants very high levels of dopamine.
It’s learnt to get that dopamine from unhealthy actions.
If it doesn’t get those high levels of dopamine you’ll feel crappy.
When you feel crappy you will develop the symptoms of low self esteem.
When you lose self esteem you’ll start to think “Do I deserve to be happy / healthy anyway?” (if this is true for you, by the way, please use these 10 exercises for self esteem. They will combat the problem).
And when you think you don’t deserve happiness and health, well, then sod it, where are my cigarettes?
And so because of all this, it is very hard to get motivated and healthy.
So what is the solution? How do you balance your dopamine?
Truth is, while you return your brain to natural dopamine control, you will feel less than perfect. However, and this is a big however, you can make the situation so much easier on yourself. How? Give yourself high levels of dopamine from performing healthy actions.
While your brain returns to natural dopamine levels, bolster it with positive, natural, healthy activities.
You can quit smoking, give up sugar, get through your diet, stop watching adult films, and stop all those other unhealthy actions by replacing them with healthy actions. You’re killing the “bad dopamine” and replacing it with “good dopamine”.
So how do you do that? How do you get dopamine from the right sources?
In a moment I will share with you the best natural ways to get dopamine.
But first a warning. You are going to think that all these activities are bullshit.
You’re going to think “These activities won’t help me and won’t give me what I want.”
Why would you think that?
Remember, dopamine is what your brain wants. But your brain has learnt to get dopamine from the wrong places. So when I tell you “Go and exercise.” Your brain will say “Exercise doesn’t give me what I want. Smoking does”.
You see my point?
Because your brain has learnt the wrong thing you will think the right think is bullshit.
Which is fine.
So long as you understand that your current perception of the “right think” is fudged, then you can counterattack your intuitive response. Let yourself say “That’s bullshit.” Then say “That seems like bullshit because I have learnt to think the wrong way.” Then say “I’m learning to do this the right way now, so I have to just put my thoughts behind me for a second”. Then go and do the right thing even though you will not feel like doing it.
This is a challenge, by the way. And I very highly recommend that before you do this you try some beginners meditations. Why? Because they will give you the peace of mind and insight that you need in order to see through your thoughts, so when your brain kicks up a stink you can stop. And you can tell yourself, “I am reacting this way because I trained my brain to react in the wrong way“. So, try some beginners meditations. They will make a big difference.
Hope that clarifies that. The wrong thing feels right. The right thing feels wrong. Do the thing that feels wrong, which the following activities will.
Okay. So here is what you are about to do. Here is where you’ll start to get your new fix. Here are the best ways to get dopamine naturally.
The best ways to get dopamine naturally
One of the best ways to get dopamine naturally is through your diet.
Foods that increase dopamine include:
- Animal products
- Fruits (apples, bananas, avocados, watermelon)
- Vegetables (beets, fava beans, leafy greens, lima beans, sea vegetables)
- Nuts (almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Green tea
- Foods containing probiotics
There are many natural health supplements that provide dopamine. The best supplements are Curcumin (found in turmeric), Gingko Biloba, L-theanine (contained in green tea), and Acetyl-l-tyrosine
You can find all the best dopamine supplements here: Dopamine
Another of the best natural ways to get dopamine is with exercise
You already know that exercise is the best thing you can do to improve your brain functioning.
Exercise is also one of the best natural ways to get dopamine.
The effects of exercise on the brain have been studied by Dr. John Ratey, psychiatrist and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Dr. Ratey’s research shows that exercise promotes the grown of new brain receptors, thereby raising baseline levels of dopamine.
Have you ever been out running when you’ve felt “Runner’s High”? That’s because you had a dopamine release caused by the physical exercise.
Importantly, you don’t need to do extraneous exercise to get a dopamine release. Even more gentle exercises like tai chi, yoga, and qi gong will provide a release of dopamine.
My personal favorite way to get dopamine is through meditation
Meditation is known to produce more than 100 health benefits. Those benefits include relaxation, increase insight, improved respiratory functioning, and heightened levels of happiness.
Recent scientific research has also shown that meditation improves dopamine levels. Given that it also helps eliminate cravings, this makes meditation one of the best things you can do to overcome addictions.
Creative hobbies also improve dopamine levels. Activities such as painting, drawing, dancing, photography, and woodworking all help to put your mind into a meditative state, which in turn improves dopamine levels.
Somewhat surprisingly, music is also a great way to improve dopamine levels. Dopamine levels improve during moments of anticipation (which is the main reason why anticipation is often better than the real thing). When you listen to your favorite song, your brain is anticipating the parts your particularly like (such as the chorus). The releases dopamine.
Learn new things: Learning something new increases dopamine production. This is mostly due to ancestry. Your ancestors needed to learn things like how to make a wheel in order to survive. Nature motivated them to do so by providing them with dopamine. Now, whenever you learn something new you get a release of dopamine and you can feel your connection to your ancestors too. Try reading a random Wiki or watching an instructional video.
Finish jobs: Another of the best ways to get dopamine naturally is to finish tasks. Every time you finish a task you get a release of dopamine, a natural incentive for finishing what you start. If you want more dopamine (and also more motivation) break a big task into a series of smaller tasks. You’ll get a dopamine hit every time you finish one of those smaller tasks. This is also why it’s often hard and intimidating to take on longer tasks, because your brain will be saying “This will take forever. When’s my next hit of dopamine?”
Go on a streak
Your brain really likes going on streaks. Maybe that’s why sports are so obsessed with win streaks. Every time you add another success to a win streak you get a hit of dopamine.
To get a win streak going, start one habit today, for instance meditate. Put an X down in a calendar saying you successfully meditated. Do it every day. Before long you’ll have a streak, which will provide you with dopamine, and that dopamine will motivate you to keep going.
Note that this is also a good way to break a habit. Every time you don’t do your habit (for instance, you have a cigarette but don’t have one) mark it down. Before long you’ll get a streak. That streak will give you dopamine (making you less inclined to need the dopamine you would get from smoking) and it will also motivate you to keep going.
And there you are, the absolute best natural ways to get dopamine.