Does your brain need a dopamine fast? The Doctors welcome neuroscientist Don Vaughn to discuss how allowing our brains a break from highly stimulating activities may be good for our health.
Things like social media, online shopping, pleasure eating, sex, drugs, and technology are delivering unprecedented amounts of dopamine to our brains and some worry this can create an addiction to the neurotransmitter. Proponents of the dopamine fast suggest going without these pleasurable activities for a few hours a day (or even up to a week), might be the only way to avoid becoming dependent.
"Our dopamine system is being overstimulated and desensitized," Don says, explaining it can affect someone's quality of life and our performance at work or in school. He says a dopminae fast can allow your system to recover.
To fast, he suggests reading, going for a walk, or socializing with people face to face -- or anything that gets you away from the activities that you find compelling and constantly drawn to... like your smartphone!
He believes too much dopamine can be an issue if you find yourself compelled to do something, but can't explain why or you realize that you have no real reason for coming back to it. For example, logging on to social media and repeatedly checking your content or someone else's posts.
"It's only a problem if you say it is," Don says of how you can determine if you need to fast or not. He explains a dopamine fast can range from just unplugging for an hour a day, or a more extreme version of the fast would include cutting out technology, coffee, sex, and even talking! He advocates starting with a small fast, and then extend longer if needed.