Lives these days are filled with modern technology and entertainment, which can cause the brain to constantly be stimulated with dopamine. It can cause us to feel distracted, anxious, or unmotivated. There are 210 million people in the world who struggle with social media and internet addictions, and this can negatively affect multiple brain regions.
Moving away from technology can be a step towards improvement, and doing so with dopamine fasting is a way to save us from our addictions along with other impulsive and damaging behavior.
What Is Dopamine Fasting?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with reward, pleasure, and motivation. Dopamine fasting is the process of avoiding activities that you may find either pleasurable or distracting, or a combination of the two. These activities include scrolling social media news feeds, watching Netflix, eating processed foods, engaging in sexual activities, listening to music, exercising, and more.
This kind of pleasure or distraction-void can limit one’s exposure to quick bursts of dopamine so they can feel more pleasure later, and they can take care of their responsibilities with newfound motivation and energy.
The Science Behind the Trend
Frequent releases of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, through pleasurable activities, can overload the dopamine receptors in your brain. This can cause the brain to reduce the number of receptors — and in turn — make you less sensitive to the neurotransmitter. This means that you will need more stimulation to get the same pleasurable reward — think more puppy videos, more candy, more social media likes.
Taking part in dopamine fasting can bring up the number of dopamine receptors in your brain. This explanation comes from neuroscience concepts that were discovered in drug addiction research. However, it’s not entirely the same. We can’t fast from dopamine since we need it for everyday bodily functions.
Experts believe that cutting out certain behaviors that are impulsive or addictive can result in a great benefit to your dopamine levels.