7 Ways to Boost Serotonin and Dopamine Without Drugs

If you’re wondering how to increase serotonin and dopamine without drugs, there are plenty of natural ways to do so. Before we dive into how to increase serotonin and dopamine naturally, let’s first learn more about what these two chemicals are.

What is Serotonin?

Learning how to increase serotonin begins with understanding what it is. Serotonin is a chemical communicator that carries signals from one part of the brain to another. Serotonin plays a major role in consciousness, attention, cognition, and emotion.

Serotonin is generally best-known as a neurotransmitter because it works as a messenger of information between neurons. However, it also doubles down as a hormone. Hormones are chemicals released into the bloodstream that send messages to various body parts, such as the immune system.

Serotonin mainly impacts:

  • Cognition: Studies have shown that high levels of serotonin increase cognitive abilities such as memory and learning speed.
  • Autonomic nervous system function: Serotonin can also increase autonomic nervous system function, as well as the fight-or-flight response.
  • Mood: Serotonin in the brain can also decrease levels of anxiety, stress and depression. This chemical works to regulate our emotions, and contribute to a positive state of well-being.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that lives in the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the “motivation molecule.” This neurotransmitter provides motivation and focus, and is directly associated with attention span, ability to follow-through, and experiencing pleasure.

If you’ve struggled with being able to feel good naturally, there are many ways to increase levels of dopamine without drugs.

A lack of dopamine is often linked to:

  • Apathy
  • Lack of focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Moodiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cravings
  • Low levels of motivation

How to Increase Serotonin 

There are many natural ways to increase serotonin without drugs. Fortunately, not only do these methods help increase serotonin; they are also great habits to include in your life. Keep reading to learn more about how to increase serotonin without drugs.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise have long been talked about and proven. Exercise increases the level of endorphins in your body which causes a natural mood boost. Evidence shows that muscle activation during exercise allows more tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, to cross the blood-brain barrier. 

Besides, exercise is a great way to strengthen the mind and character. The benefits are far more versatile than merely getting in shape or feeling better. Exercise can even help decrease levels of anxiety and depression. 

One of the best parts about exercise is that there are many different types of ways to get it. Not a fan of running? Try out Zumba classes or yoga. Do you want to start lifting but feel intimidated? Try out cross fit. 

In particular, martial arts can be an incredible way to increase levels of serotonin without drugs. Martial arts, including anything from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to kickboxing, serve as effective ways to increase confidence and discipline. You’ll find fulfillment in learning a new set of skills that makes you feel stronger and more confident than you’ve ever been. 

Nutrition 

Nutrition is a major component of our overall well being. If you’re wondering how to increase serotonin, your diet is another great place to start. Foods that contain tryptophan could increase serotonin production in the body. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. 

It can be found in foods such as:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Seeds
  • Milk
  • Nuts

There are also natural supplements that contain tryptophan, but we strictly advise speaking to a medical professional before purchasing any vitamins or supplements. Boosting your mood through diet and exercise are two fantastic, natural ways to increase serotonin without drugs. 

Meditation

An hour-long meditation session can lead to roughly a 65% increase in dopamine levels according to one particular study. Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression while inducing an overall state of calm. 

Some people may feel intimidated by mediation, but we assure you that anyone can do it! You can even begin noticing the benefits of meditation with a simple five-minute daily practice.

Getting Zzzs

Increasing levels of dopamine without drugs can also be done with adequate sleep. Dopamine levels will naturally rise in the morning and fall in the evening when you fall asleep. 

Staying up late into the night and sleeping in can interrupt your body’s natural rhythm. If you have trouble sleeping, it may help to avoid any screen time an hour before you’d like to go to bed.

Turn Your Phone Off

You may have found yourself feeling oddly empty after scrolling through Instagram or binging a Netflix series. It’s not uncommon to feel low after spending time with your electronics. Research has recently shown that the electromagnetic radiation from your cell phone can interrupt and inhibit dopamine production.

You can increase levels of dopamine without drugs by spending less time on your phone. Instead, go for a brisk walk outside, pick up a book, or listen to some music!

Exposure to Natural Light

Sunlight has been shown to naturally increase levels of dopamine. Going for a light jog or brisk walk outside can help you boost your mood. A study was done on sunlight and dopamine production with 68 healthy individuals.

It was concluded that those with the most sunlight exposure had the highest density of dopamine receptors in both the reward and movement regions of their brains.

Naturally Increasing Levels of Serotonin and Dopamine with Mental Health Treatment Resources

Are you wondering how to increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin? Drug-free therapy may be just what you need! At our recovery center, we offer a plethora of mental health treatment resources such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. 

But…Do I Need to Seek Help?

If you feel like your mental health is affecting your ability to function daily, it may be time to get help. It’s natural for mental health to vary through a person’s lifetime. After all, we’re all human and can find ourselves in challenging situations. 

However, when mental health begins to seriously interfere with your life, it’s time to take a step back and check-in with yourself.

Some tell-tale signs of mental health issues include:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Mental fatigue
  • Physical fatigue 
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Aggression
  • Irritability 
  • Suicidal thoughts

Mental Health Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Each person’s needs are unique. We consider this for each mental health treatment plan that we create. After a thorough evaluation, we’ll walk you through the best options based on your needs. This is a process that we do together – transparent all the way through.

Although treatment will vary, our core parts of treatment include:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, otherwise known as residential treatment, is the most intensive level of care that we offer. You’ll reside at our beautiful recovery center full-time with daily treatment and access to amenities. Daily treatment will include a combination of therapies and holistic treatment methods. Our inpatient recovery plans generally last anywhere from 28 to 90 days. 

It’s worth noting that cleanliness and sanitization is a top priority of ours. We take the health of our members very seriously, always, but especially during these times.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is best suited for individuals with serious obligations outside of treatment, or individuals that require a lot of flexibility in treatment. Our members can expect to receive anywhere from one treatment session a week to five sessions if that’s what’s necessary. 

Rather than live at our recovery center, individuals will travel to us to receive treatment and then return home after. Outpatient programs are also used as a step-down form of treatment after completing residential treatment. Similarly to inpatient care, treatment will include a variety of therapies and top-of-the-line community care.

Feeling Blue? Sana Lake Offers the Highest Quality of Mental Health Treatment Resources 

Treatment plans at our recovery center are based on the combination of evidence-based therapies and methods. We offer many different therapies such as individual counseling and group therapy. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach.

A handful of therapies that we offer, here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT uses different behavioral approaches to discuss thoughts and feelings. The goal of CBT is to replace negative thinking patterns with more positive and productive ways to think. In CBT, you’ll unravel any limiting beliefs that you may have.
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) – TF-CBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps individuals work through the effects of trauma. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy uses a variety of methods to resolve trauma as a result of abuse, violence, grief, and many more traumatizing events. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT helps educate individuals on how to live in the present, form healthy coping mechanisms, stabilize emotions, and improve relationships with those around them.

Reach Out to Our Licensed Professionals Today for More Information

If you’re looking for mental health treatment resources or simply want to learn more about how to increase serotonin and dopamine levels without drugs, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to answer all your questions. You can contact us at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center. 

Resources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23852905/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20875835/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11958969/