You’ve probably heard of dopamine detox already. You might even have a rough idea of what it is. Still, do you know how to dopamine detox? Or does it work in the first place? If you know the answers, I suggest you skip this article. If not, let’s find out together!
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for reward and motivation. It’s also known as the chemical of wants and desire. it is released by our brains to regulate our reward system & behaviors. Also, it is a key factor that directly influences our decision-making. More than that, it has a vital impact on our attention, mood, sleep, and learning quality.
Dopamine is significant for our survival. If sex doesn’t feel so good, we wouldn’t have sex or reproduce. Thus, hindering the continuity of our species. Also, if the food doesn’t taste good or satisfy our hunger, we’d starve to death.
In a nutshell, dopamine is released by our brains to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Thus, it conditions us to always choose the most pleasurable option while ignoring any other situations that might cause discomfort or pain.
It is a fundamental mechanism that ensures that we survive. We pursue pleasurable practices to preserve ourselves. Whereas we prevent pain to protect our comfort & survival.
However, too much dopamine and instant gratification aren’t always good for us. In fact, it has a serious downside that can destroy the quality of our life & health.
The downside of dopamine
Seeking pleasure all the time means more dopamine release, which leads to more pleasure. In turn, this cycle leads to addiction and dopamine dependency. That is why you choose junk food over healthy food. Why you cannot stop scrolling on social media; why you binge-watch a whole season of your favorite TV show. And the reason why you cannot quit drugs.
Moreover, most companies worldwide take advantage of dopamine to make us dependent on their products. That’s because they are purposefully designed to stimulate our brains in releasing more dopamine. In other words, they’re made to make us feel good; thus, becoming addicted consumers just to maximize their profits.
Every product is carefully manufactured to make us come back again and again. And, to get constant hits of thrilling dopamine. Now, we all live in a world only to consume more of what the global market offers. As long as we feel good and avoid pain, everything is fine!
In the end, we realize that our entire existence is wasted in consuming pleasures. Instead, of producing something that matters.
In order to make the image clearer, we’ve selected the following quotes:
“There are few things ever dreamed of, smoked, or injected that have as addictive an effect on our brains as technology. This is how our devices keep us captive and always coming back for more. The definitive Internet act of our times is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward: we search. And we search. And we search some more, clicking that mouse like a rat in a cage seeking another “hit”, looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough.” Kelly McGonigal
“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, . . . was all about: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit occasionally, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.” Cal Newport
Nonetheless, detox dopamine can be a great solution to have a better lifestyle. It can be a good start to detach ourselves from pleasure overdose. A chance to start producing instead of only consuming.
What is dopamine detox?
Simply, dopamine detox is refraining from any practices & activities that trigger dopamine release within a period of time. It’s a form of fasting from different stimuli that provide instant gratification. Usually, people try dopamine detoxification to alleviate reward dependence & addiction to feel-good pleasures. It’s an attempt to cut off bad habits and destructive lifestyles.
There are several activities & habits that trigger dopamine release & dependency such as:
- Gaming & social media
- Watching porn & musterbation
- Sugar & junk food
- Smoking & drugs
- Shopping & overspending
When we refrain from the above activities & practices, we reduce dopamine production. Thus, we become less dependent and distracted by instantaneous pleasures in our daily life. So, it’s like taking a deep rest away from all distractions that disconnect us from life’s serenity. It is an opportunity to experience inner peace away from the hustle and reconnect with oneself.
Quick note: Dopamine detox can be practiced within a few hours a day, and it can last for days.
Does dopamine detox work?
First off, it’s pivotal to note that dopamine detox isn’t a scientifically proven method. It means it has no scientific basis, and its alleged benefits are debatable and not 100% attainable. However, you might reap some benefits out of it thanks to abstaining from addictive habits & practices.
For instance, when sticking to a dopamine detoxification routine, you abstain from negative habits like smoking and porn. Therefore, it naturally improves your health, decisions, and lifestyle quality as a whole. It also boosts your concentration, performance, and time management. That’s because our perception of time is influenced by whether our brains are stimulated or not. As an example, spending hours binge-watching TV isn’t as hard as reading for 30 minutes a day.
If we’re having fun, we tend to lose track of time easily. Still, when we’re not overstimulated, our perception of time improves, and we feel present in the moment. This teaches us to precious our time and to make good use of it. Instead of wasting a lifetime running after endless pleasures that will never be gratified.
A side note: The term dopamine detox or fasting isn’t scientifically correct. Detoxing means cleansing your body from something toxic. However, it’s impossible to stop your body from producing dopamine, for it’s produced naturally every day. Even if you avoid triggering stimuli, dopamine will still be released by the brain.
The bright side is the more you abstain from addictive & pleasurable habits, the less dependent you become. So, although dopamine fasting might have no direct or clear benefits, it improves your health & the quality of your life.
Learn how to dopamine detox
Following a strict dopamine detox can be hard and unappealing. But you know the old cliche “no pain, no gain”. That’s why we brought up a few tips to help you stick to the unpleasant DD routine. Hopefully, you achieve the best results.
Avoid dopamine stimulation
The simplest way to achieve successful detoxification is abstaining from stimulating activities. However, it is hard to deprive yourself of everything you enjoy at once. So, the trick is to gradually decrease the time you spend on dopamine-triggering habits. For example, you can start by decreasing the amount of time you spend on your phone. That’s because the less you engage in such activities the less you’re dependent on dopamine hits.
Mobile phones systems can actually help you track how long you spend on each app. This will help you track apps that you use a lot (let’s pretend you don’t know them), and then you can put restrictions on these apps via the ‘Apps Restrictions’ option.
Follow a ‘how to dopamine detox program’ tailored to your needs
Also, you should choose a convenient dopamine fasting program that suits your personal needs. Meaning, you can follow a program for a few hours daily wherein you cut off any stimulation. As an example, you may replace hours of social media & gaming by reading, exercising, or meditating. Or, you can follow a strict program by avoiding any sort of stimulation for a few days. Both ways are efficient, and they have great benefits for you.
Productivity & reward
Another effective tip about how to dopamine detox is to start by getting your priorities done. Then, you can reward yourself by doing something you enjoy. For instance, try beginning your day by cleaning your room, exercising, or reading. Instead of checking your phone the moment you wake up. Then, After doing something constructive or getting a priority done, you reward yourself any way you enjoy.
This trick can help condition your brain to like doing hard stuff in exchange for a reward. Luckily, with time it becomes a habit, which means you’re less addicted to dopamine rushes. In return, you become more focused, more productive, and not a time-waster. It also helps you resonate with your inner thoughts where you connect with yourself. It’s almost a form of meditation that cleanses both body and mind.
Cleanse your environment
Moreover, you can ease the process of dopamine fasting by cleaning your environment. In other words, try to eliminate any objects that might potentially cause distractions or dopamine cravings. For example, instead of taking your phone everywhere, leave it home and have a nice walk. Or, grab a book and try reading for 30 minutes away from notifications, video games, TV series, etc.
To sum up, dopamine detox might not be proven scientifically. However, it is a great opportunity to reconsider the way we live our lives, and what needs to be changed. It is an escape to stop escaping from our fears, discomfort, pain, and problems. This will help us confront life when things are too tough. Instead of escaping them by consuming dopamine-related pleasures that provide short-term comfort.
All in all, we hope this article has been useful to you and has answered your questions. Please! If you want to share your experience with dopamine detox, the comment section is yours. You can share your how-to detox dopamine or any tips to improve our content.