Dopamine Fasting: Treat to Your Brain or Maladaptive Fad
Silicon Valley isn’t only famous for technological changes and innovations that it brings to human society, but it is also known for setting lifestyle and behavior standards. Now that if you are monitoring happenings in Silicon Valley, then you might have heard of Dopamine Fasting lately.
The dopamine fast first cited by California psychiatrist Dr. Cameron Sepah, is not directly connected to either dopamine or fasting. Instead, it is a mechanism that tells you how “addiction could become reinforced”.
Now people from Valley are trying to abstain themselves from the most addictive things in life be it tech, food, human contact, or even sex. The whole practice is done to rejuvenate their mind & body and reset their mental state for a good.
So, is Dopamine Fasting a way to fix your brain or just a maladaptive fad from Silicon Valley? Let’s discuss.
First understand, what is dopamine?
Well, dopamine also called a chemical messenger is a type of neurotransmitter that your body generates naturally. This naturally occurring brain chemical uses your nervous system to send messages between nerve cells. It plays a crucial role in how we feel pleasure.
What is Dopamine Fasting?
Dopamine fasting is a new type of fast, but it surely has nothing to do with diet. With Dopamine Fasting you abstain from pleasurable interactions that could change your dopamine levels. The whole idea behind it is to better address compulsive behaviors that could interfere with your happiness. With dopamine fasting, one can try to control the dominance of technology in the day to day life. With this, you expect less notifications, beeps, and rings.
It is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and better addresses compulsive behaviors. Now that six important compulsive behaviors that could directly relate to dopamine fasting are emotional eating, shopping and gambling, Internet & gaming addiction, recreational drugs, novelty-seeking, and porn. So, the idea is to control these compulsive behaviors that might cause stress or affect your life negatively.
Is it possible to control naturally occurring brain chemicals?
In the events of pleasure, motivation, reward, and learning the dopamine does rise. But, when you are trying to avoid compulsive behaviors to control dopamine, it doesn’t actually lower the dopamine levels. Some people take it as a “tolerance break” by depriving themselves of pleasure, but when you consume it again, it will be more intense. So, it is hard to say if dopamine fast could help control dopamine levels.
Does dopamine fasting help relax the mind?
Yes, you can try dopamine fast for short durations from one hour to four hours at the end of the day to take a much-needed break to calm your mind and relax your body. While it is nothing new as fasting is in practice for hundreds of years, it is another method of mindfulness practice. But, if you completely refrain yourself from eating for long hours, or avoid socializing, or listening to music, or engaging yourself to pleasurable tasks, then it is not going to do any good to you. In fact, misunderstanding the very idea of dopamine fasting could create maladaptive behavior affecting your day to day life.
Does dopamine fasting help cure technology addiction?
When it comes to the original intent behind the dopamine fasting, it was disconnecting you from tech-frenzy activities and spare time for yourself. The idea was to reconnect with oneself and others, doing small important things in life and to stay happy. While the idea is worthwhile, healthy, and noble, it is not the complete solution. At the same time, it gives you a direction to lead a stress-free life where technology isn’t following you. At least for a few hours a day!
Is dopamine fasting going to stay longer?
As we said it isn’t a new trend, instead people are fasting for long, the only difference is dopamine fasting is related to curb screen-time. So, technically yes, dopamine fasting is going to stay longer. As people are more dependent on tech-devices, they would definitely need a break from it at least for some time.
Being the latest solution to the problems of our current generation, dopamine fasting is a great way to curb screen time. You can practice short duration dopamine fasting to control use of tech-devices and spend time for more important things in life. If you have tried dopamine fasting before or want to share something about it, then feel free to share in the comments below.
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