Certain everyday activities naturally release dopamine, one of four feel-good hormones in the brain. It’s a “reward sensor” that makes you want to repeat those behaviors, turning them into habits. Dopamine also gives you a little mood boost - basically, it makes you happy - and the best part? You may already be doing these things on a daily basis.
These are some of the daily habits that can help you experience the feel-good hormone:
- Eating - Our ancient ancestors knew they needed food to survive, in part because of the reward sensor that dopamine triggered. Research has found that eating results in two dopamine releases: first when the food is eaten and again when the food is in the stomach.
- Drinking water - When you’re really thirsty on a hot day, a glass of water can feel like a reward, and that’s because it triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. The thing is, not all sips of water give you a hit of the feel-good hormone. You have to really want or need the water, like after a workout or parched in the middle of summer to increase dopamine levels.
- Getting praise - When we praise kids or pets for their good behavior, dopamine is released, reinforcing those good behaviors with the good feelings. It’s true for adults as well when they receive praise, so go ahead and send that congratulatory email or celebratory text to make someone feel really good.
- Playing video games - Several studies have measured and found that playing video games releases dopamine in the brain for some people. The downside with this is that the elevated dopamine levels can get you hooked on an activity, which could be a problem if a kid should be doing homework but doesn't want to stop gaming because it feels too good.
- Activities that enhance well-being - Engaging in practices that are good for your health and well-being, like yoga, meditation, hobbies and exercise can all give you more of the feel-good hormone and help boost your mood.
Source: Huff Post