Here's a Simple Way to Increase Dopamine Every Day, According to a Longevity Expert


According to a longevity expert, there’s an incredibly simple way to increase dopamine every day. And good thing—because our mental health is something we work on from the moment we wake up, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Optimism to some extent too.

But first: What is dopamine, exactly? It’s a hormone and neurotransmitter in your brain that acts as your “reward center,” giving you feelings of pleasure, motivation, and more things associated with your mental well-being. And you can generate more of it yourself—something Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins, director of the Clarins group and an expert on healthy aging, breaks down in his book Guess My Age If You Can.

With the help of several specialists in longevity, Dr. Courtin-Clarins shares things we can do (that aren’t genetically predetermined) in order to age well, less quickly, and with a better quality of life. In his analysis, several lines are dedicated to how positive emotions create a “virtuous circle” that stimulates the body’s ability to repair itself, relax, and generate hormones of well-being like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. (More on those in a minute.)

One of Courtin-Clarins’s easiest recommendations for cultivating that optimism? “Being optimistic is something you have to work at every day,” he says. And to do that, “give yourself something good three times a day.”

These can be simple things that nonetheless tremendously help with our well-being: cooking, journaling, giving a loved one a hug for 30 seconds, a bath, enjoying a coffee without doing anything else (in solitude or practicing fika, the Swedish custom of stopping for coffee in the company of friends or family).

Or maybe it’s dancing “for three minutes to your favorite song,” a Courtin-Clarins recommendation based on the philosophy of Florence Servan-Schreiber and her book 3 Buzzes a Day: How to Activate Your Optimism to Be Happier. He sums her method up as this: “Write down, think about, and remember three things that happened during the day. This brightens your thoughts and encourages you to see the glass as half full. It changes the way you see things from day to day and stimulates the secretion of feel-good molecules.”

How to cultivate optimism (and secrete dopamine and other feel-good hormones)

So there you have it: A simple way to generate dopamine is to give yourself something good three times a day; then, before you go to bed, write, think about, and remember what those three things were.

Easy, but something you must consistently work at. This important detail in the book comes from one of the interviews Cortin-Clarins has with Catherine Testa, founder of L’Optimisme.com. “All studies agree that between 30% and 50% of personality traits are biologically determined,” says Testa. “This means that 50% to 70% of these traits can be acquired and worked on throughout our lives.”

So while our environment and the people around us have an influence, Testa argues that we can also take measures to be more optimistic. And in doing so, our gestures and habits can stimulate hormones like oxytocin (related to feelings of security and confidence in social relationships), serotonin (linked to emotions and mood), endorphins (which causes feelings of euphoria and prevents stress and pain), and dopamine. The latter “is responsible for feelings of motivation and reward. It promotes a feeling of pleasure,” Courtin-Clarins explains. We often call them the feel-good hormones, though experts say they’re really neurotransmitters associated with mood regulation, a sense of well-being, and reduced anxiety. In the specific case of dopamine, it’s a neurotransmitter that provokes a quick sensation of pleasure that’s energizing and stimulating.



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