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  • Alyssa Abrahamson

Dopamine: Happiness Hormones Part 1

Welcome to the “Happiness Hormones” 4-part series here and on my podcast, Positively Anti-Inflammatory. We're kicking off the series with Dopamine.

What is dopamine and what does it do?

Dopamine, known as the “reward chemical,” is a neurotransmitter that acts as a hormone and is released when you do something enjoyable or beneficial. Dopamine plays an essential motivational role in the brain's reward system. For example, when you feel good about something you achieved, you’ve had a surge of dopamine. Dopamine also gives you the determination to accomplish your goals.

Dopamine deficiency symptoms include

  • Anger problems

  • Low self-esteem

  • Unmotivated

  • Fatigue

  • Lack of focus

  • GI issues such as chronic constipation

  • Moodiness

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Uninterested in sex

Low dopamine levels are linked to

  • Depression

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Schizophrenia

  • ADHD

  • Parkinson's disease

What causes dopamine deficiency?

A number of factors such as underlying medical conditions, poor diet, obesity, substance abuse, and lack of sleep.

How to boost dopamine naturally

  • Engage in daily self-care activities

  • Good, consistent sleep

  • Exercise regularly

  • Eat foods rich in tyrosine such as poultry, lamb, beef, eggs, salmon, sardines, mackerel, avocados, bananas, pumpkin & sesame seeds

  • Apply stress relief techniques such as meditation, visualization, and intentional breathing

  • Listen to music

  • Do something creative

  • Achieve a goal or complete a task

  • Celebrate little wins

  • Feel gratitude for small moments

  • Perform acts of kindness

What’s the takeaway?

Dopamine drives your brain’s reward chemical and is released every time you do something pleasurable and after you reach a goal, no matter how small.

When you achieve goals on a regular basis, the neural pathways in your brain strengthen and that dopamine hit becomes stronger.

So, the key is to set small achievable daily goals.

This is what I help my clients do: set realistic, achievable goals and then follow-through to see progress and results.

It’s about progress over perfection, and recognizing that baby steps support long-term behavior change, steadily bringing you closer to your bigger life goals.

What’s one thing you can do this week to boost your dopamine?

Love, Your Wellness Coach,


P.S.Listen to podcast episode 124, “Dopamine: Happiness Hormones Part 1.”

May 10, 2023



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