What’s the key to happiness?
Some of your friends might say it’s healthy relationships or doing a job you love. Spiritual gurus might say it’s living in the moment or positive thinking.
But isn’t it more interesting to find out what neuroscientists say? After all, they’re the ones studying our brains.
And despite what you’re led to believe, neuroscience has many things to say about happiness.
According to countless research studies, there’s one particular element to happiness that you might not be aware of.
It’s called Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood, focus, energy and behaviour.
Here’s Psychology Today’s definition of dopamine:
Research has found that dopamine could be the most significant factor in positive emotions.
So, how can you increase your levels of dopamine in the brain?
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways.
Here are 7 of them:
1) Checklist small tasks
Research has shown that dopamine is released whenever we complete a goal.
The best bit?
It doesn’t matter how big or small that goal was!
So, write down all the tasks that you need to complete by the end of day, no matter how small. Every time you check them off, you’ll trigger a release of dopamine in the brain.
Research has shown that more dopamine is released when we physically check a task off our to-do list.
2) Get focused on something you enjoy
Have you ever noticed that you become hyper-focused when you’re doing something you’re passionate about? Psychologists say that during these times we enter a psychological state called “flow”.
So go ahead and get passionate and focused on something you enjoy. Your brain will thank you for it.
We’ve all heard this. Not only can exercise help you lose weight, but it can make you less stressed and more productive. Specifically, it boosts dopamine, endorphins and serontonin – a beautiful cocktail of neurotransmitters that will make you feel a lot better.
The best bit?
The exercise doesn’t need to be streneous. Simply taking a walk or climbing some stairs will achieve a good dopamine hit.
4) Get a streak going
In this case, a streak means a visual reminder of how many days in a row you’ve achieved something.
Simply get a calendar and mark down when everything in your life that is scheduled. It could be gym on Thursday and Friday and yoga on Saturday etc…
Whenever you actually follow your schedule, tick it off and dopamine will be released.
5) Increase Tyrosine
Of all the chemicals that make up dopamine, the most important is tyrosine. Tyrosine is considered the building block of dopamine.
Fortunately, there are a long list of foods that increase Tyrosine, including: Bananas, Beef, Chicken, Green Tea, Watermelon, Yogurt, Coffee, Almonds…
6) Listen to music
There’s a scientific reason music makes us feel so good! Research has shown that music actually increases our levels of dopamine.
So when you’re feeling down and out, crank on your favorite tune and let the music do its thing.
Plenty of research studies are finding benefits to meditation.
One of the worst ways to get yourself down and reduce your dopamine levels is by overthinking.
Meditation helps you quiet your mind so you can relax and let life be.