The modern devil is cheap dopamine.
These are words of Naval Ravikant, the CEO and co-founder of AngelList, and one of the brightest, most profound thought leaders of our generation. And if you look around, you will realize how ubiquitous it is. Think about how uncomfortable people get these days when they have to spend a few hours without staring at their phones, binging on a show, stuffing their face with junk food, buying things online or having music blasting in their ears. They struggle to do it for a few minutes, let alone a few hours.
Humanity has reached a point where we compulsively scroll through our Instagram feeds to avoid talking to the stranger standing next to us in a queue. We’d rather read one more episode of the latest TV show than read one more page of a book. We eat our way out of boredom than embrace and enjoy solitude. We drink and smoke our loneliness away than learn to deal with it. We’re stimulated, in some way or the other, every waking moment of our lives. Stillness has become elusive, but it is only in stillness that great ideas can come to us, that the creative juices of our brain can start flowing and that breakthroughs can be achieved.
If you want to do something substantial with your life in the modern age - write a book, start a business, learn a new skill - anything that requires hard work, focus, patience and perseverance - you need to learn to be still. Dopamine fasting is an effective way to do that. It’s essentially the practice of restraining yourself from anything that gives you a kick of dopamine without you having earned it. Instead, you shift your focus to activities which increase your dopamine levels naturally - like eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep. Here are 10 habits that will help make dopamine fasting a way of life:
Don’t Bring Your Phone To Bed
Compulsive social media use is one of the leading causes of sleep deprivation. Not only does this debilitate you physically, but also adversely impacts your mental, emotional and cognitive abilities over time. To avoid this, keep your phone away an hour before your bedtime.
Watching porn has many dangers. It distorts your understanding of intimacy and sex in and lowers your libido, hence ruining your relationship in real life. Abstain from it and reclaim your life.
Earn Your Entertainment
Nowadays, there is enough content out there to last an entire lifetime. Trying to keep up with it will drive you insane. You can’t possibly consume all of it. Even if you do consume content voraciously, make sure it’s only after you’ve put in a substantial number of hours of a day working on your personal and professional goals. Let education precede entertainment.
Eat Only Home-Cooked Meals
Eating out often is not only unhealthy for you, but also burns a hole in your pocket. Cook your own meals or get your food cooked by someone at home, so you have control over what you put into your body. Treat yourself to restaurant meals, takeaways and drive-through food only once in a while.
Make A Shopping Budget
Put a cap on the amount you spend on shopping in a month and stick to it. Don’t shop out of boredom. Once the dopamine rush fades away, you will be left feeling guilty and ashamed of yourself for having wasted your money. A borderline shopping addiction can also leave you broke.
Limit Social Media Use
Social media is one of the main culprits for our dwindling attention span. Without self restraint, you will get sucked in the rabbit hole and neglect your career, relationships, health, finance and everything important in your life. Get out of the rut before it’s too late.
Read Physical Books
Reading is a dying hobby. All the reading one does these days on their electronic screens, and that is nowhere close to the experience of reading a physical book. If you read a lot and often, you train your mind to stay focused on one task at a time, which is a quality that’s helpful in every area of life. Moreover, reading sharpens your communication skills and makes you smart.
Meditation is no longer a hobby. It’s a necessity in modern society. It gives your mind a chance to pause and reflect on everything that’s happening in your life, in a world where we’re so used to constantly doing things and keeping ourselves busy. It eliminates compulsive tendencies and makes you more mindful of your thoughts and actions.
Exercising releases endorphins in your body, which elevates your mood and improves your health. When you earn your feel-good hormones, you train your mind to resist short-cuts.
Go For Long Walks
Walking without music and other kinds of stimulation, can be a form of meditation. It clears your mind and brings you fresh ideas.
Also read: 5 Experimental Dishes Every Vegan Will Love