Here is How Humans Experience Feelings of Happiness

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen continue their discussion on inspiration by giving you tons of simple and effective tips to increase that “dopamine drip,” leaving you feeling healthy and positive. You can find plenty more examples of these feel-good techniques in Dr. Amen’s brand new book, Feel Better Fast and Make it Last, out now at book retailers everywhere.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain, to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment, and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're so grateful that you are with us. And gratitude drips dopamine. So we're talking about feel better fast and make it last. You can go to and get all sorts of free gifts when you pre-order or order the book out November 13th. We're so excited. And we're in the middle of our Brain XL Formula. So we've talked about optimizing your brain, your rational mind, your attachment, and we're now doing the I part of Brain XL, which is inspiration. And your inspiration for us are the reviews that you write. You have another one?
Tana Amen: Yeah, this one's really short, but I really like it because it's just, it's so good. So, even though I'm self-aware and psychologically minded that I figured this one out on my own, it felt good to hear you talk about it. I like that I have power over my mind and what I'm holding onto. Because being a victim sucks. I love that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That was actually dripping dopamine.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: By feeling empowered.
Tana Amen: So, here's what I like, is that this person sort of figured some of this out and has done the work, but they're aware enough to know what they listen to, and what they do matters. So whether you know it or not, and you already have known it, you need to keep doing it. It's like, I already have a black belt, I still go to karate all the time. Because it's like you need to stay in it. You need to keep doing it if you want to think that way, move that way, and it's just something you do. If you're a warrior, you keep doing it. So I like that. That's good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. So we're talking about, how do you keep your pleasure centers healthy? You stop activities that dump dopamine. Whether it's cigarettes, or excessive caffeine, scary movies, jumping out of airplanes, things that dull your pleasure centers that ultimately lead you to feel sad and dissatisfied. But rather, because dopamine is very important, you drip it.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: You find, what are the small ways I can activate my pleasure centers? So, let's see. I almost got to work, and I was thinking about you, and I called you.
Tana Amen: You called me. It was so sweet.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I just told you, you were my best friend.
Tana Amen: And when you do that, it makes me happy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I dripped dopamine for us both.
Tana Amen: Yeah. And I'll now and then just text you out of the blue.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You do.
Tana Amen: Yeah, it's fun.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So we have a lot of drippings going on here. Interestingly, sunlight drips dopamine.
Tana Amen: Interesting.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Vitamin D.
Tana Amen: But I mean, people don't get enough sunlight get depressed. So, that makes sense.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's right.
Tana Amen: So I figured the next one out on my own when I was very young.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Exercise.
Tana Amen: Because I had a tendency to not to feel a little blue, and fuzzy, and not feel that great. And I figured out, man, I became, I think it almost dumped dopamine for me.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, when you over exercise it can dump dopamine.
Tana Amen: I didn't feel normal without it. Exercise is one of those things, I've never felt normal without exercise.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It also boosts serotonin and dopamine and at the same time. It's sort of like the perfect anti-depressant.
Tana Amen: Yeah, and it really is.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Meditation and yoga does it.
Tana Amen: Yep. Absolutely.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Massage therapy. Pleasurable music.
Tana Amen: Yep.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Green tea. We talked about green tea. Oregano, of all things. And Magnesium.
Tana Amen: And if you haven't listened to our other podcasts with Barry Goldstein, they're so good. Because he has studied what kinds of music work. Not all music ... Meditative music doesn't work for everybody. Different types of music work for different people. So for me, I've never understood why rock music makes me feel good. And you don't like my kind of music. And I don't like a lot of the music you listen to from the 70s.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because of what it's attached to in your head.
Tana Amen: Right. But on top of that, base for some people is what makes them feel grounded and good. And then for other people they like a more treble, more light, airy kind of music. It's fascinating. I love listening to his studies on music. So, really good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah. I liked A Star Is Born.
Tana Amen: Oh. That's one we all agree on.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you haven't seen that movie, we're huge fans.
Tana Amen: And our dear friend was Bradley Cooper's coach.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Which we did a podcast with.
Tana Amen: We did a podcast with him.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Roger Love.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Also trained Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born.
Tana Amen: So good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So it's better to drip dopamine to keep your pleasure centers healthy. Purpose drips dopamine. Volunteering drips dopamine.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You took our niece yesterday to Disneyland. You surprised her.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Took her out of school.
Tana Amen: Shh. You can't say that out loud.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But you spent the day just doing something nice for someone you love.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: Prayer. Lasting love, like ours. You mentioned looking at a baby. We have a brand new granddaughter.
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh, she's so cute.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I texted Caitlin yesterday. I need new Haven pictures. And she's like, the city? I'm like, no.
Tana Amen: That's hilarious.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Holding hands.
Tana Amen: Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Drips dopamine, as long as you hold the hand of somebody really like. Teamwork, gratitude. I mean, we're so grateful to the people that listen. Traveling. Actually, looking at your photo album.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: Of places that you've been.
Tana Amen: Yeah, the memories, the good memories.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Like us when we went to Venice.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Pumpkin seeds help drip dopamine.
Tana Amen: Really? That's weird.
Dr. Daniel Amen: They boost dopamine.
Tana Amen: Oh, interesting.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Fish oil.
Tana Amen: That was one I didn't know about.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Sammy, the supplement, Sammy tyrosine. So Omega-3 fatty acid, Sammy, tyrosine, all available from Brain MD. So, I just want you to be thinking about, am I dumping dopamine with ... Am I overdoing it with the pleasure things that wear out my pleasure centers? That mean I'm more likely to do those things just so I don't feel depressed. Or, am I getting into the habit of dripping dopamine?
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The next thing I want to talk about. So, we've talked about four ways to create lasting joy. Know what you want.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: Avoid things that dump dopamine. Do things that drip dopamine. And the fourth one is to focus on living each moment with passion and purpose. So, does the food you are eating, the conversations you are having, your exercise, your activities, your friendships, fit the reason you are on this planet?
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Do they fit your purpose? So, under rational mind, I like, is it true? I love these three word questions. And under inspiration, does it fit?
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: Does it fit the goals I have for my life?
Tana Amen: Well, and if you're doing something that you know doesn't, then I really like the one that you taught me, which is, then what?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Then what?
Tana Amen: Do this, then what?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Then what happens?
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right, if I dump dopamine then what happens? And one of my favorite all time books ever-
Tana Amen: Me too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Is Victor Frankel's Man Search For Meaning.
Tana Amen: I haven't read it, you should read it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And he is a psychiatrist during World War II who was a prisoner of the Nazi concentration camps. And he wrote about his experience on people who survive and people who didn't.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: And he said it basically came down to meaning and purpose.
Tana Amen: It's a powerful book.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And he says, if it's meaningful, I'll do it. If it's not meaningful, I don't have time for it.
Tana Amen: We did an amazing podcast with, he's not only a dear friend of yours, but he was on Victor Frankel's ... Was the on his board, or he worked with him?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yes, and he helped distribute his materials worldwide.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Dr. Joesite. So, Frankel says there's three ways to create meaning. One, purposeful work, or being productive. So you and I do that all the time. Asking questions such as, why is the world a better place because I am here? Or, what do I contribute?
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Daniel Amen: The second one, we also do, is love. Loving the people who are central in your life. So the purpose you have with your mom, the purpose you have with Chloe, the purpose you have with me.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The purpose you have with our nieces, and your sisters. And then the third one is courage in the face of difficulty. Shouldering whatever difficult fate we have and helping others shoulder theirs.
Tana Amen: One thing that ... And I actually learned this from our other friend, Tony Robbins, he had come here, and he just taught me a couple of strategies at a time when I was really struggling. And I really like this, because it's always easy to say to do these things, but at the time that you actually need to do them, it's not always easy to do them, if you're not in the right frame of mind. So, putting yourself, how you look at ... Okay, I need to do a loving thing for this person, but I'm really busy, and I have stuff to do, and I don't have time. So, if you go down that road that makes loving, doing a loving thing for that person really hard. And what I really like about some of the strategies I learned through his work was, it's how you ... And we do the same thing in our own way, but how you ... This loving thing that I'm doing for that person, how you say it, how you position it makes such a powerful difference. By doing this thing, my life is better too. And if you just flip that really quickly, it just makes it easier. How you write it down, how you think about doing that thing for that person makes a difference in the amount of stress in your life, and whether you get that dopamine drip or not.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, we've talked about knowing what you want. One page miracle. Avoiding behaviors that dump dopamine. Doing things that drip dopamine. And focus on living each moment with passion and purpose. When we come back, we're going to talk about two more ways to create joy every day in your life. Stay with us. Or on our supplements at Thank you for listening to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review, and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of the Brain Warrior's Way and the Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook we give away every month.