Natural Ways to Release Dopamine

Updated March 29, 2017

Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, which is often referred to as "the happy hormone". It is responsible for feelings pleasure we experience during activities such as exercise or eating food. It is important we have the correct amount of dopamine released into the brain, too much or too little can lead to problems such as anxiety. Although you may increase your dopamine levels through taking supplements, it is actually simple to increase your levels naturally by undertaking certain activities.


Diet plays a crucial part in affecting your mood. Poor nutrition, including a high intake of junk foods, often leads to moodiness, sluggish behaviour and lethargy. However, eating the correct foods can seriously boost your mood by naturally increasing our dopamine levels. notes that proteins such as milk, eggs, cheese and fish are all dopamine-increasing foods. Consuming a healthy diet can significantly affect the way you feel and boost your energy levels. Certain fad-diets such as low carbohydrate diets can also lead to depleted dopamine levels. Reduce your intake of foods high in sugar and saturated fats, as these will deplete dopamine levels.


One of the easiest and quickest ways to increase your dopamine levels is through exercise. Those who suffer from anxiety or depression are often advised to exercise because of the "natural high" it produces. Even low to moderate intensity exercise such as hiking, swimming or yoga can elevate dopamine levels according to Claire Dorotik, a physical health and wellness specialist. Choose an exercise that you can enjoy and do it regularly to lift your mood. Try to exercise at least four times per week for 30 to 40 minutes at a time.

Game Playing

Increase the amount of competitive and playful activities in to your life. According to researchers at the University of Southern California, playing video games in moderation can elevate your dopamine levels. "Discover Magazine" reports that dopamine plays a significant role in how the brain handles both reward and exploration. Playing games and engaging in "fun" activities can enable you to create and explore new characters and environments, thus influencing our dopamine levels.

Happy Relationships

Nurturing relationships with friends, family and loved ones can boost dopamine levels. Cultivating relationships is a positive way to boost self-confidence and avoid feelings of isolation. Engaging in group activities and enjoying a balanced social life is an important part of feeling good.

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About the Author

Based in Manchester, U.K., Natalie Baker has been a freelance beauty and fashion writer since 2009. Her work appears in the beauty pages of "The Detour Magazine" and online at Just Makeup Artists. Baker is experienced in both television and print journalism, and holds a Bachelor of Arts broadcast journalism from Salford University.