Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in your brain that is responsible for influencing a number of behaviors, including pleasure, cognition and motivation. The feelings associated with increased dopamine levels can also be euphoric, creating a desire to release dopamine naturally in the body. You can release dopamine in your brain through a number of methods — from the foods you eat, to the exercise you perform — without the need of supplements.
Eat foods that contain significant amounts of the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. The two amino acids facilitate the development of dopamine, and are found in a variety of foods. Examples include cottage cheese, soy, yogurt, dark chocolate, and turkey meat.
Exercise with weights and cardiovascular activities to naturally increase the production of dopamine in your body. According to the University of California, exercise, to a certain extent, increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. There is a point, however, that dopamine levels plateau, and no amount of additional exercise will incur gains. You can achieve optimum dopamine release by running 30 to 45 minutes, or exercising with weights for the same amount of time.
Play games that are challenging or provide a competitive atmosphere during play. You do not have to play football to increase dopamine production; video games, card games, competitive chess, and games of chance may, according to the University of Southern California, increase dopamine levels.
References and ResourcesBryn Mawr: Dopamine Effects on the Brain
Science News: Excercise Increases Dopamine
Natural Health: Balancing Dopamine Levels
Discovery Magazine: Video Games and Dopamine Levels