The reason you may be interested in regulating dopamine levels is that this reward chemical boosts motivation and drive.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter linked to achievement and accomplishments.
Balanced dopamine levels make you creative, focused, energetic, productive, and social.
Dopamine also helps you learn fast and be better at solving problems.
Entrepreneurs have higher dopamine levels than other people.
These are crucial leadership traits you need in your arsenal to be a go-getter.
Learn more about why feeling good and paying attention to mental health are crucial to achieving your business goals:
Can You Have Too Much Dopamine?
Is too much dopamine a bad thing?
Great question! It can be.
Too much dopamine can produce low impulse control, aggression, and a propensity to unhealthy risks. Gambling is one example. So, you may want to strike that golden balance instead of striving to increase dopamine levels at all costs.
Some of the best ways to increase dopamine levels naturally are free and come with staying disciplined and building healthy habits.
Although there are some people who naturally have higher dopamine, it is not all about “nature”. There is something about “nurture”, too.
How to Regulate Dopamine Levels Naturally
The thing about dopamine is it needs to be balanced. Fatigue, for example, can result from either too low or too high dopamine.
You can test dopamine levels but the results won’t give you information on how your brain responds.
Feeling unmotivated, forgetful, low on energy, or impulsive are good indicators that it is time to regulate dopamine levels. Here are ten free ways to do that:
1. Take notice of positive feedback.
Positive feedback can be self-made, such as ticking off “to-do” items on a work checklist.
Now you know why seemingly unimportant tasks, i.e. “done” check marks make you feel good!
Tracking incremental progress on goals increases dopamine levels. Whether you do it on a team level or personally, tracking progress on small goals is a great and simple dopamine booster.
Social feedback, i.e. celebrating success for an achieved goal helps you wrap up the hard work on an important project.
When you reach an important goal, make sure your team is aware of it.
Small wins can be a part of everyone’s progress tracking schedule. But it’s the big wins that spur dopamine on a team level.
3. Build healthy eating habits.
Foods that help with dopamine regulation include probiotics, for instance, sauerkraut or kimchi (Korean takeaway, anyone?).
Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits increase glucose levels naturally and may help with dopamine, as can magnesium-rich dark chocolate.
More dopamine is why you love your morning cup of coffee so much.
Aim for a greater protein intake and less saturated fats and plain sugars in your diet.
4. Create healthy stress to stay on your toes.
Getting out of your comfort zone by setting ambitious but achievable goals is a surefire way to pump up your dopamine muscle.
The point is to exceed expectations by going above and beyond what you’re used to achieving.
Remember not to let stress guide you. Understanding stress in your life allows you to use it to your advantage.
5. Exercise regularly.
Find a strenuous activity you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.
Every time you sweat, you increase naturally circulating dopamine and the number of available dopamine receptors.
More exercise strengthens the dopamine reward pathways that make you feel good, hopeful (positive), and motivated.
That is why the more you exercise, the more you want to exercise!
6. Get enough sleep.
Dopamine can increase when you struggle to stay awake because it has a role in maintaining wakefulness.
However, the interaction between sleep deprivation and dopamine levels is not fully clear (Something else may contribute to the equation).
But what we all know for sure is that a poor night’s sleep makes you irritated and exhausted, and triggers bad impulses.
Prioritize sleep and try to go to bed at the same time every day to balance your dopamine.
7. Listen to music.
Good music can increase dopamine and make you feel good. But music taste is highly individual. What is enjoyable for you can torture your colleagues.
So, headphones on, and get in your good mojo! If you want to use the loudspeakers, here is a list of five songs scientists say trigger dopamine release.
The brighter mood that ensues after mindfulness meditation keeps up after you finish your meditation session.
Besides dopamine levels, meditation regulates melatonin, a hormone responsible for a good night’s sleep. Meditation improves the connection between the frontal cortex and dopamine pathways.
If you want a natural dopamine high, do a 10-minute meditation every morning.
9. Add enjoyable activities to your schedule.
You may think of adding other pleasurable activities to your day. This can mean leaving work aside for a while and doing something else, such as gardening, hiking, or hanging out with pets. The choice is personal.
Social media is one of those dopamine havoc wreakers because it is highly addictive.
Treat it like a drug that causes cravings. Apart from consciously limiting notifications and screen time on certain apps, ensure you don’t waste your time on social apps you don’t need.
Leave your phone out of sight, don’t take it to the bedroom, and set up a rule to not reach out for it during shared meals.
A great way to reduce screen time is to replace it with something else that does not require an electronic device.
As you eliminate activities that don’t help you regulate your dopamine levels, the dopamine receptors become more sensitive and you need less of what you previously craved.
It is important to understand what takes place to easily glide through the discomfort and the “low” you may feel as you train dopamine receptors.
Being motivated, driven, and a high achiever is half-built outside main work activities.
If you want to build focus, discipline, and a schedule that supports goal setting and tracking progress, get your free virtual team starter pack below!