10 Proven Ways to Boost Dopamine and Serotonin Levels Naturally

How to boost dopamine and serotonin?

Understanding how neurotransmitters function in our brains can help us unlock a world of potential. Dopamine, commonly called the “motivation hormone,” is vital in regulating various aspects of cognitive function, physical health, and emotional well-being.

If your dopamine levels are low, you may lack motivation, be tired, feel hopeless, moody, or anxious, have trouble sleeping, or have disturbed sleep.

As science dives deeper into unraveling its mysteries, you may be curious about how to use this powerful neurochemical to improve your life. We’ll get there soon.

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter through which brain and nervous system cells communicate with one another. It’s a hormone that maintains our mood and overall well-being while also regulating several brain functions like sleep, learning, appetite, cognition, and memory.

If your serotonin levels are low, you may be more prone to depressive moods.

This being said, both neurotransmitters are vital for your mental and physical health. But how can you boost dopamine and serotonin naturally? Here are 10 ways to do that!

boost dopamine and serotonin
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1. Improve your diet

Serotonin is derived from a vital amino acid known as tryptophan. Because your body doesn’t naturally produce it, you must get tryptophan from your diet.

Consuming foods that contain high amounts of tryptophan can boost dopamine and serotonin. Some foods you can incorporate into your meals to increase the levels of these two neurotransmitters include eggs, salmon, poultry like chicken and turkey, corn, soy products like soy sauce and tofu, seeds, and nuts like walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

2. Move your body every day

Another way to boost dopamine and serotonin naturally is through exercise. Regular physical activity has been consistently linked to increased dopamine levels and enhanced motivation. Moreover, according to a 2016 review, exercise can boost serotonin levels as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity.

Experts note that the BDNF gene makes a protein that stimulates nerve cells and is found in parts of the brain that control eating, drinking, and body weight. BDNF and serotonin levels are believed to be related to regulating mood. To put it simply, BDNF is the reason why exercising makes you feel better.

Any kind of exercise that you enjoy, be it walking, cycling, or yoga, can help you boost dopamine and serotonin naturally. Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week.

3. Increase time spent in natural light

If you’ve ever heard of seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), then you probably know how important sunlight can be to your well-being and happiness. As winter approaches, it begins getting darker much earlier in the day, which can have an impact on your mood and make you more prone to sadness.

Incorporating natural light into your daily routine can bring substantial benefits to your neurochemistry and help you boost dopamine and serotonin naturally. According to researchers, the brain produces these two neurotransmitters in response to the sun and daylight.

On the other hand, a lack of exposure to the sun and daylight can cause seasonal depression, which resembles depression in its clinical picture. If you’re prone to depression, getting out once a day at midday to take a short walk can be helpful.

4. Maximize time spent in nature

Experts express concern about the negative effects of accelerated urbanization on mental health. Constantly being overstimulated in urban settings causes stress and cognitive fatigue, which is why some people seek to escape into natural environments.

Being surrounded by greenery and diverse ecosystems can provide many benefits that extend beyond the realm of mere exposure to sunlight. Maximizing your time spent in nature has been shown to further boost dopamine and serotonin naturally, thus driving motivation and mood regulation.

Research indicates that engaging with natural environments helps reduce anxiety, depression, and stress through multiple pathways, including enhanced secretion of feel-good hormones.

Moreover, outdoor activities like hiking or walking stimulate endorphin release alongside increased cognitive function due to an enriched sensory experience from varied landscapes and terrains.

Keep reading to discover other ways to boost dopamine and serotonin naturally!

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5. Practice gratitude

The study of gratitude as correlated to serotonin and dopamine is an ongoing research topic. Experts know that practicing gratitude boosts the release of mood neurotransmitters like serotonin.

Gratitude is when you appreciate the good and positive aspects of life. It has far-reaching benefits for your self-esteem, happiness, mood, and physical health. Expressing gratitude in a meaningful way is different for everyone. For instance, you can record visual or written reminders for yourself or someone else.

You can also practice gratitude through journaling, meditation, or telling loved ones what you are grateful for. As a daily practice, gratitude may boost dopamine and serotonin.

6. Try something new every day

Imagine waking up one morning and choosing a different route on your way to work or on your daily jog. You discover that this new path takes you through a lovely, picturesque park filled with birdsong and the peaceful rustle of leaves in the wind.

This apparently small change has incorporated novelty into your routine, which can help you boost dopamine and serotonin release in your brain, therefore increasing motivation and overall well-being.

Since new experiences can considerably stimulate your dopamine levels, they enhance your ability to learn from them and motivate you to seek further rewarding activities. A few ways to integrate new experiences into your daily life include cooking a meal using ingredients or techniques that are new to you, visiting a place you’ve never been to before, or engaging in recreational activities that are unfamiliar.

So go ahead; step into uncharted territory now and then—it may just be the spark you need to ignite lasting positive changes in your mind and body.

7. Spend time with loved ones

For decades, researchers have debated the role of dopamine and serotonin in mood, aggression, and social interactions. Current neuroscientific research indicates that deficiencies in the brain’s amygdala could be associated with low levels of serotonin and dopamine.

As the brain’s emotional processing center, amygdala dysfunction, among other factors, is linked to increased irritability, aggression, and antisocial traits.

Since anxiety and depression can impact a person’s mood and desire to be around others, having strong relationships with people you can rely on can boost dopamine and serotonin, helping you feel less alone.

8. Laugh

Scientifically, the old saying “laughter is medicine” is attributed to the brain’s release of oxytocin, serotonin, and other feel-good chemicals. That’s why, when you’re feeling down, a good idea would be to watch a funny video or call a friend who makes you laugh.

Due to its effect on serotonin brain activity, laughter has been shown to have therapeutic benefits. Laughing also produces a natural release of endorphins, which can help boost dopamine and serotonin.

By the way, if you want to learn more about dopamine, here’s a best-selling book that will give you a better understanding of how much dopamine affects us.

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9. Create and achieve small and big goals

Setting and achieving goals can boost dopamine and serotonin. The process of setting and accomplishing goals, whether they are small or big, is a crucial factor in stimulating the release of serotonin and dopamine within the brain. Moreover, goal-directed behavior is considered to be closely linked with dopaminergic activity.

Research showed that when people were faced with the prospect of achieving a certain goal, there was a spike in dopamine release proportional to their level of motivation.

This being said, incorporating both short-term and long-term objectives into your daily life can boost dopamine and serotonin levels, resulting in improved cognitive function and overall well-being.

10. Support your gut bacteria

You may be surprised to learn that the good bacteria present in your gastrointestinal tract play a key role in your mood. Experts are starting to dive deeper into the body-mind connection through what they call the gut-brain axis.

This axis is basically a two-way communication network, meaning that what occurs in the central nervous system has an effect on the gastrointestinal tract and vice versa.

Studies on mice—and humans, to a certain extent—indicate that balancing gut bacteria may boost dopamine and serotonin. Some experts believe this may be one part of the missing puzzle in treating anxiety and depression.

Introducing good bacteria found in probiotic foods and supplements could potentially increase serotonin levels, which in turn improves gut function. The influence of increased serotonin and dopamine from the gut has also been associated with reduced inflammation, indicating a strong connection between the body and mind.

Foods like yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut are natural sources of probiotics. You can also try taking over-the-counter supplements.

If you liked our article on ways to boost dopamine and serotonin, you may also want to read Aging Alone: 8 Tips for a Happy Ever After on Your Own.




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