The little things go a long way! It’s easy to overlook small pleasures in the hustle and bustle of your daily life. But treating yourself to a good, old-fashioned dopamine release can make you happier and healthier. This chemical messenger plays a pivotal role in mood and motivation. It’s often called the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, and for valid reasons. It’s a crucial part of mental and emotional health— warm, fuzzy feelings are real, after all!
Dopamine accompanies a host of activities, from spending time with friends to enjoying a delicious dinner. Explore these seven easy and accessible activities to enhance your quality of life.
Getting out and about is one of the most potent ways to release dopamine, so elevate your mood through regular exercise. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a regular Pilates practice, or a heart-pounding, high-intensity interval session, physical activity triggers the brain to release dopamine. The result? You’ll feel like a million bucks!
The work is always worth it for its lasting sense of accomplishment. Not to mention, regular exercise is good for you. It releases stress, makes you stronger, boosts your self-esteem, helps you sleep better, and improves your overall mindset.
If going to the gym seems like a chore, find another activity that brings you that daily dose of happiness. It could be a bike ride, an open water swim, or even just a stroll around your neighborhood. Make moving a habit, and your brain and body will thank you for it.
Eat up! You obviously need food to live, but it’s so much more than that. Savoring a delicious and well-balanced meal with your family or friends can be a cornerstone of your day. A satisfying culinary experience rewards you with a surge of dopamine that lasts. It doesn’t have to be perfect, either. If you want to indulge in a decadent dish occasionally, you should! You deserve it.
Your food choices satisfy your taste buds, fuel your body with essential nutrients, support your physical health, and keep your energy levels high. There’s the immediate joy of eating a great meal followed by the lasting benefits of a dopamine release, so please dig in! Good food should be celebrated one bite at a time.
Listening to Music
Music brings much color to our lives and is a powerful tool for nurturing our well-being. Immerse yourself in your favorite melodies for an instant mood enhancer that reduces stress and soothes anxiety.
Music also promotes cognitive function and sparks creativity. It can help boost your memory, hone your concentration, and elicit healthy emotional responses to whatever is going on in your life. Turn on, tune in, and drop out for a harmony of body and soul.
Adults often forget the joy of play, but don’t let your youth escape you! Incorporate having fun just for the sake of it, and you’ll receive a significant dopamine release. This can be everything from a casual game of pickleball or playing music with a group of friends to a fun evening of gambling. Whether you like to bet on sports or play slots like the Egyptian themed game Mega Moolah, these activities release dopamine—especially when you win big!
Watching sports can also be an excellent dopamine release. These occasions are often accompanied by many other feel-good elements, such as a nice food spread, friends, happy music, and great conversation. Don’t forget about the joy of play just because you’re all grown up. There is plenty of fun to go around!
Completing a Task
While doing the dishes might seem pretty blah, it makes you feel better to accomplish something. The same goes for paying your bills, folding your laundry, and running errands you’ve been putting off—all of which can give you a solid dopamine hit.
Oftentimes, we put off the small things and then agonize over them. Instead of spending the next week worrying about the email you didn’t send, take ten minutes now to type it out. The sleepless nights and pit in your stomach will quickly dissipate once you do what needs to be done! Completing tasks can be daunting, but it’s well worth it.
Reach out to your friends or loved ones and organize an outing or visit. We’re inherently social creatures, and our brains reward us for positive social interactions. Even if you’re an introvert, the right social experience can recharge your personal battery.
Quality time, good laughs, bonding, and connection all trigger the neurochemical response that elevates your mood and soothes any feelings of stress or loneliness.
So much of people’s time is spent online these days. Connect face-to-face and nurture your relationships in person every once in a while. There are plenty of great things to do together—go to the aquarium, grab a cup of coffee, take a walk, catch a movie, and more! Your grey matter will be happier and healthier.
Someone break out the glue gun! Making something means dopamine. Try a new craft or cook a fresh dish for a feel-good moment. It doesn’t have to be a whole ordeal. Find fun crafts online that are easy and approachable if you feel intimidated by the idea of creating something.
Then, visit the dollar store or another discount outlet to pick up supplies. Saving money also releases dopamine! Whether it’s a seasonal tablescape or something more involved like a quilt, making and creating can be a remarkably satisfying experience.