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It should not be a secret that altering your dopamine levels can directly affect your mood, behavior, and energy. However, did you know that dopamine levels can also be altered by your perception? A simple change on your outlook, can have profound effects on your day-to-day happiness. Here are some ways you can increase dopamine levels, without needing pills:
First, and foremost, don’t get addicted. Upon inspection of addictive behavior, studies show an underlying cause of low dopamine levels. The “addiction” whether it be food, drugs, etc… presents a quick-hit to correct your dopamine levels and provides your brain with a sense of “reward”. So, to put it simply, don’t use addictive behavior to obtain that rewarding level of dopamine. Instead, find activities, events, lifestyle changes, and a future goal to work towards, which would provide you with a more constant reward system to power you throughout the day. The idea is to maintain and sustain an overall higher-level of dopamine.
Create small tasks that you can scratch-off your list. A Checklist! Referencing the book, Principles of Self-Motivation, we feel a great sense of accomplishment and thus, a surge of dopamine when we complete tasks. It is important to set tasks that are within your appropriate range. From the book, we should set tasks that are within a 10% - 25% change in our current routine, to provide that sense of accomplishment, instead of feeling bored or overwhelmed.
Make something your own. Try something like arts, crafts, auto repair, drawing, photography, or something else that sounds interesting. Sparking your creative drive is an effective way to increase your potential for feeling great, achieving goals and inspiring yourself through your accomplishments. Once you recognize that your creative endeavors can exist on the level of those you admire, you’ll increase your ability to see your own creations as meaningful and rewarding.
Go outside and exercise. Simply taking a stroll or climbing some stairs will achieve a good dopamine increase. Remember, exercise is important, but it can also become an addiction if it’s not properly integrated into your daily routine.
Eat food high in Tyrosine. Tyrosine is an important building-block of life, being one of the essential amino-acids for building proteins. Tyrosine is also a key chemical in the making of Dopamine. There are many foods that are high in tyrosine, including: almonds, avocados, bananas, beef, chicken, chocolate, coffee, eggs, green tea, watermelon, and yogurt. However, just like exercise, food can become an addiction as well. So, it’s important to integrate these healthy food options consistently in your diet.