A few years ago, most of us had to adjust to the new normal with the nationwide quarantines coming into action.
We spent more time at home, and this gave us time to slow down and analyze different aspects of our lives.
While working from home, you may have found that your motivation was not as consistent as before, and you struggled to finish tasks that previously came easily.
In some cases, you may have been able to push through the slump. However, there may have been times when the more you pushed, the more you dreaded the task.
So how do you work around this issue? How do you make sure your motivation levels are consistent?
Experts recommend going on a dopamine detox.
What Is Dopamine?
Dopamine is typically referred to as a feel-good chemical. It’s a neurotransmitter released by the brain and works by sending signals between the brain and your nerves. The perfect balance of dopamine is critical for your mental and physical well-being.
How Do We Seek It Out On A Day To Day?
The brain naturally produces dopamine. However, different activities will lead to the release of varying amounts of the chemical.
Doing things like, snacking, going shopping, taking recreational drugs, or even scrolling through social media. Sound familiar?
This becomes problematic because when you do an activity, and the brain does give the ‘reward,’ you essentially lack the motivation to do it again, and procrastination starts becoming a regular thing.
What Is A Dopamine Detox?
When detoxing is mentioned, you may immediately think about a systemic flush of toxins. But a dopamine detox is more about rewiring your brain by changing your habits.
Essentially, you cannot go about flushing dopamine from the body because your brain naturally produces this chemical. This would not even be advisable.
However, changing certain habits in your day-to-day life will allow your brain to produce the reward chemical even after finishing mundane tasks.
The dopamine detox/ fast will give you the kick of motivation you need to complete tasks like laundry and work assignments.
How Does The Detox Work?
This detox is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy and is especially vital for people trying to break free of addictive behaviors.
However, although the term detox is used, the process should not involve restricting activities and things that give you joy; unless they are harmful to your health.
According to Dr. Cameron Sepah, the creator of the dopamine fast, the primary purpose of this detox is to allow people to learn how to engage in simple activities which can still give them joy and boost their motivation – as opposed to the reliance on activities like emotional eating, gambling, shopping, recreational drugs, mindless internet scrolling, gaming, porn, and masturbation; which tend to lead to the release of significant dopamine hits.
Tips to Help You Detox from Dopamine
Create Healthy Barriers
As with any fast, you need to start by identifying the undesirable habits you want to let go of. You can ease into this stage because, in most cases, your mind and body may put up resistance.
You can do this by:
- Make the activity inconvenient,
- Limit the time you spend around people who also engage in the activity,
- Install blocking software on your devices,
- Involve an outsider or an accountability partner
Opt For Beneficial Alternatives
One of the most successful ways of abandoning a bad habit is by replacing it with a good one. This is because you will need something to fill the time; otherwise, you can easily relapse into the bad habit.
Some activities associated with healthy dopamine releases are exercise, engaging in art, talking to loved ones, volunteering, or playing with a pet.
However, it would be best not to lean on these too heavily as a crutch. You might still end up relapsing into old habits in their absence.
Seek Professional Guidance
If you are having trouble breaking free from some habits on your own, there is no shame in seeking professional help.
Working with a professional can help you better understand the patterns you rely on and choose healthier and more motivational options that will suit your lifestyle. Additionally, this detox can lead to some withdrawal symptoms, which may be challenging to manage alone.
How Long Does It Take To Detox From Dopamine?
The entire detox process can take anywhere from two – twelve weeks. The time frame depends on the person and why they need the detox.
Scientifically, it has been noted that it takes a minimum of two weeks to rewire your brain to start noticing any changes. This is why most challenges go for about 30 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do You Need A Dopamine Detox?
You may need a dopamine detox if you begin to notice that some of the activities and habits you regularly engage in negatively impact your life. It can be very beneficial in managing behaviors that lead to cravings, impulsive behaviors, and addictions.
How Do You Detox Dopamine For ADHD?
Essentially, the detox aims to identify and replace behaviors that lead to releasing a high amount of dopamine at a time. For people diagnosed with ADHD, while the dopamine detox may be helpful, you may still need some professional help to give you the adequate skills to manage this condition.
Can You Listen To Music During A Dopamine Detox?
During this detox, you can still engage in activities that bring you joy as long as they do not affect your health, physically or mentally. However, you may want to engage in one activity at a time, for example, watching a movie without scrolling through your social media.
What To Avoid During Dopamine Detox?
Essentially, during this period, you should abstain from any activities which are addictive to you and that you formally relied on to cause extreme dopamine highs.
If you want a more visual approach, here’s a video to help you out in your dopamine detox/motivation journey:
or try this one: