6 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Dopamine: The Mood & Motivation Neurochemical
Our bodies produce chemicals that help to regulate our mood and helps with increase in motivation. One such chemical in our body is a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
Dopamine is also referred to as the "feel good" neurotransmitter. It plays a role in the bodies reward system when we eat food, have sex, and aids in the feelings of pleasure.
It is also the "teaching chemical" as is plays a role in the reward circuit in our brain. When we engage in an activity that we find enjoyable, dopamine is released which helps us to feel good and teaches us that that activity is an enjoyable activity. We are then more likely to engage in that activity.
There are healthy activities and then there are not so healthy activities. Enjoying the football game with the guys can release that feel good chemical as you are engaging in a fun activity.
Drugs can also release large amounts of dopamine that can teach us that drugs feel good. But this can become addicting and result in disastrous life consequences including death. Probably some healthier activities we could engage in to get that dopamine hit.
Dopamine also plays a role in other important aspects of our life such as:
Increases our motivation and drive,
Improves our attention,
Helps regulate movement,
Aids in learning, and
Assists in our emotional responses.
There are other neurotransmitters that play similar roles. And if you are finding that you are struggling with your mood and your motivation and drive have taken a dive, you may be low on dopamine.
6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Dopamine
There are a variety of ways that you can boost your dopamine naturally. Of course, there are psychotropic medications that can do so quicker. But these often come with unpleasant side effects.
And it's always important to consult your doctor before you start adding supplements or making major life changes. The following are some natural ways that you can use to help boost dopamine production in your brain.
1. Exercise Daily
Exercising helps produce dopamine in the brain along with other neurochemicals. You've heard of the runners high? When you exercise daily, these chemicals are released in your brain and can give a boost to your mood and motivation.
2. Adequate Sleep
When you are able to get the recommended amount of sleep for your age, this helps fuel dopamine production. When we get too little sleep or we are not sleeping though the night, this can interfere with the production of dopamine.
There are sleep hygiene techniques that can help improve the time it takes to get to sleep and the overall quality of sleep. Not looking at a screen for 60 minutes before bedtime, playing white noise in the background, using your bedroom for sleep and not tv, and other suggestions can help with sleep.
3. Up Your Magnesium Intake
Low levels of magnesium in our bodies have been attributed to low levels of dopamine. Magnesium interacts with the dopamine receptors in the brain.
Magnesium can also have an anti-depressant effect as increasing your magnesium intake can increase dopamine production.
Some foods that are high in magnesium include:
Green Leafy Vegetables,
Dark Chocolate Containing 70% cocoa,
Fish Like Salmon, Mackerel, and Halibut.
You can also get magnesium supplements at your local pharmacy or grocery store. But before starting a supplement, be sure to check in with your doctor.
4. Up Your Tyrosine Intake
Tyrosine is a part of creating dopamine in our bodies. Eating foods rich in tyrosine can help increase the amount of tyrosine hence increasing our dopamine production.
Some foods rich in tyrosine include:
You can also get tyrosine supplements from your local pharmacy or grocery store. And again, before starting any supplements, make sure to check with your doctor.
5. Listen to Music
There are studies that show that listening to music helps produce dopamine. Find a group that you enjoy or a genre of music you'd like to explore and take some time enjoying some good music.
Daily meditation has also shown to help produce dopamine. You can combine meditation with listening to music of you can give other meditation practices a try like mindfulness meditation.
You may find it difficult to sit still in the beginning. Thoughts will enter in and that is typical and normal. Just simply focus on your breathing and start with 5 minutes a day. You can work your way up to 30 minutes a day where meditation has shown that it can be as effective as an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
If You Continue to Struggle With Your Mood & Motivation: Men's Counseling or Neurofeedback Can Help
You don't need to struggle through life with low mood and lack of drive and motivation. As men, we try to suck it up and just move on with life. But that does not contribute to a fulfilling and rewarding life.
At Katy Counseling for Men, we have counselors who specialize in men's counseling. We also have a variety of therapy approaches that can meet your personality style and preference.
We have talk therapy approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. And we have non-talk therapy approaches like Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), and neurofeedback.
Each of our approaches are supported by research and are shown to be effective. You may be thinking that therapy is for other people but not for you?
Those other people who are walking around and who look happy, fulfilled, and have drive and motivation? Those other people may be people who went to therapy and overcame their obstacles. Ya never know . . .
If you are ready to start, we are ready to help.
Katy Counseling for Men: Counselors Who Specialize in Men's Counseling Katy, TX & Houston
If you have found that your mood and motivation have dropped and you can't seem to get your mojo back, Katy Counseling for Men is ready to help. Talking with a specialist in men's counseling, together we can work toward helping you regain that positive mood and drive and motivation.
And when it comes to things like depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, panic attacks, anger. trauma, PTSD, and other challenges, having a coach, or a counselor who specializes in counseling men may be the best answer.
At Katy Counseling for Men, our men's counselors specialize in therapy for men. We have both traditional talk therapy options and non-talk therapy options like EMDR, ART, and the very effective neurofeedback.
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we are ready to help. If you are ready to start, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Counseling for Men
Meet with one of our men's counselors
Start your journey in building a stronger future today!
Other Support Services Offered at Katy Counseling for Men: Katy, TX & Houston
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we have a variety of both talk therapy and non-talk therapy approaches in counseling for men. Below are a few of what we have to offer:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (Talk Therapy)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) (Not Talk Therapy)
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) (Not Talk Therapy)
Counseling for anxiety
Counseling for social anxiety
Board Certified Neurofeedback (Brain Training)
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy
Differences in financial budgeting approaches or other financial stress
About the Author
Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics.
Jason is the owner of Katy Counseling Specialists, PLLC (KCS). KCS is the parent company for Katy Teen & Family Counseling and Katy Counseling for Men.