6 Everyday Activities That Naturally Release Dopamine In Your Brain

Dopamine is one of four feel-good hormones within the mind. Essentially, it makes you cheerful. And your physique releases it with sure actions and behaviors ― lots of which you already do each single day.

“Whenever we participate in activities that are considered essential from our body’s point of view, our brain releases a large amount of dopamine,” which is supposed to encourage you to do that exercise extra, in line with Dr. Kiran F. Rajneesh, the director of the neurological ache division and affiliate professor of neurology on the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Throughout evolution, dopamine’s process was to “sense reward, learn the place and activity that leads to reward and also motivate you to go to those places to obtain [a] reward,” stated Dr. Hitoshi Morikawa, an affiliate professor within the departments of neuroscience and psychiatry on the University of Texas at Austin. And that’s nonetheless the case at present. In essence, “dopamine is a reward sensor,” Morikawa stated.

While this reward sensor was and is crucial to human survival, evolution has made it so maladaptive behaviors additionally outcome within the launch of dopamine in people, each consultants stated.

“Generally, when neuroscientists talk about dopamine, we think about addiction because it is an addiction driver,” Morikawa defined.

The hormone makes you need to repeat sure behaviors, turning them into habits ― whether or not they’re wholesome or not. (Like substance misuse or smoking, for instance.)

However, that’s not at all times the case. The launch of this hormone can be a part of your physique’s day by day operate. While this isn’t a treatment for any illness or situation, it may be useful to know when dopamine is launched — and when you’ll be able to count on to really feel a little bit temper increase because of this. Here are a couple of instances when your physique releases dopamine:


Our prehistoric ancestors knew that meals was mandatory for survival, partly due to the reward sensor that dopamine activated. This continues to be true at present.

In truth, Rajneesh stated that any exercise that’s “evolutionarily protective and essential for our well-being and survival” releases dopamine. Being capable of finding meals and eat that meals definitely falls into this class.

Some studies even say that consuming leads to a dopamine launch twice: first when the meals is eaten and once more when the meals is within the abdomen.

Drinking Water

Think about it: When you’re parched, a glass of water definitely appears like a reward, so it’s no surprise it additionally triggers the discharge of dopamine in your mind.

But not all sips of water will launch dopamine, Morikawa famous. Instead, it’s important to really need or want the water — like after a tricky exercise or on a scorching day.

“In the middle of summer in Austin, and you’re really thirsty, then drinking water should increase dopamine levels in the brain — that should be one of the most effective ways to increase them,” he stated.

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A glass of water on a scorching day can launch dopamine in your physique.

Receiving Praise

One actually frequent method that dopamine is launched is when praising kids for good behaviors, Rajneesh stated. Praise triggers a launch of dopamine in youngsters’ brains — and the identical goes for praising pets. In these conditions, their good behaviors are bolstered by the feel-good nature of that dopamine launch, he stated.

The similar is true when adults obtain reward, Rajneesh added. So sending a congratulatory e-mail to your colleague or a celebratory textual content to a pal is definitely doing extra good than you assume.

This is very essential for individuals with sure situations which can be a results of low dopamine ranges, like ADHD, according to ADDitude Magazine, an ADHD-focused publication.

Playing Video Games

Many studies have measured and located that enjoying video video games leads to the discharge of dopamine within the mind for some individuals, Morikawa famous.

While this in itself shouldn’t be a nasty factor, it could possibly grow to be adverse if the sensation of enjoying video video games is simply too optimistic or too enjoyable, he added. When “elevating dopamine levels, sometimes you get really hooked [onto] certain activities,” Morikawa stated.

In this case, that exercise might be video video games, which might result in issues for individuals who aren’t skilled players, he added. (For instance, college students who ought to be doing homework as a substitute of enjoying.)

Having Sex

Sex causes a launch of endorphins, as Dr. Elizabeth C. Gardner, an orthopedics sports activities medication surgeon at Yale Medicine, previously told HuffPost. And studies show it additionally causes a launch of dopamine.

During evolution, the dopaminergic system developed to advertise the “survival and maintenance of our species,” Morikawa stated. In different phrases, there’s an instinctual motive intercourse feels so attractive. Our brains are wired to know that intercourse is essential for survival, and the neurons that launch dopamine achieve this once they sense the reward related to the act.

Activities That Enhance Your Well-Being

Meditating and different actions may result in a launch of dopamine, Rajneesh stated.

“Engaging in activities that enhance your well-being such as yoga, exercise, hobbies [and] games … can help release dopamine in the brain and further enhance your sense of well-being and health as nature intended it to be,” Rajneesh stated.


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