Dopamine is one of the most important hormones (or chemical messengers) in the brain that is involved in functions such as memory, motivation, happiness and reward. It is often called the happy or ‘feel good‘ hormone as production or release brings about feelings of happiness and pleasure which further motivates you to do certain actions for longer periods.
High levels of dopamine bring about positive emotions while low levels of dopamine bring about a lack of enthusiasm or excitement. Although the level of dopamine is regulated in the nervous system with the use of neuromodulators, certain foods and activities can boost the level of dopamine in your body. They include;
Like all hormones, dopamine is also a protein. Proteins are a class of food that is made up of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. These combined forms amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Some amino acids can be synthesized by the body (non-essential amino acids) while others cannot (essential amino acids). Although the non-essential amino acids are present in the body, consumption of foods rich in protein such as beans and eggs proliferates their quantity.
Tyrosine for example is one of the non-essential amino acids because it is present in the body and utilized by cells in the synthesis of protein. One of the proteins tyrosine synthesizes is dopamine. Along with phenylalanine, the presence of high levels of tyrosine increases dopamine levels in the body. You can use protein shakes or protein bars, whatever you prefer, but a little supplementation always helps.
According to research, regular exercise is essential for balanced mental and physical health which improves the quality of life. Exercise brings about a rush of excitement and adrenaline. The excitement and pleasure are because of the increase in the production of dopamine by the brain.
Notice the difference in your mood before and after exercising, there is a considerable change and a feeling of elation. This is why for many, exercise is a form of therapy.
Not many may love the sport, but gaming is an effective way of elevating your mood. You can game indoors or outdoors. There are varieties of online games that you can enjoy if you don’t feel the need to go out in the middle of a pandemic.
According to research, gaming triggers the production and release of dopamine, but be careful and play in moderation so that it doesn’t become an addiction that could affect your daily productivity level.
Spending quiet time alone is never a bad idea. Meditation allows you to clear your mind and focus on your inner emotions. It makes your thoughts clearer, sharper and more fluid. You can meditate during the daytime or at night; while sitting, standing, lying or walking.
When you meditate, you get a feeling of peace and calmness. The state of your mind at the time allows for the upsurge of dopamine in your brain.
Always remember that a healthy lifestyle is the key to living a quality and peaceful life. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and prioritize your happiness.