Having a good feeling about something is never bad. Getting pleasure from activities such as tinkering with gadgets, reading a book penned by your favourite author, tasting mouth-watering kebabs, listening to a rock anthem, sipping a hot tea, or talking and laughing with your high school buddy is always welcome. But if you do them too often, would you be considered addicted?
What actually goes up in your brain when you are happy? As per neurobiology, there is a hormone called dopamine that is released by dopaminergic nerve cells (neurons) when you feel nice about something. Dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter in the body or a chemical messenger between brain cells that helps increase the serotonin level in the brain and produce oxytocin, thereby reducing the pain perception.
A certain level of dopamine is never harmful. However, feeling too much good about something releases a lot of reward chemicals such as dopamine in your body. That could be detrimental, particularly when it is caused by a few hedonic feelings such as gadgets, social media, or junk foods that distract us from our personal goals, daily work, and other essential things in life.
All these hedonic feelings and pleasure lead to dopamine spike. Your brain loves that instant dose of dopamine so much that it forces you to repeat the activity that caused the dopamine spike even when you are supposed to do something else that matches your personal goals. For example, when you need to go to tuition to study your brain signals you to sit down with your gadget for a Facebook ‘like’ in anticipation of an instant hit of dopamine.
In order to save yourself from the constant abuse of your dopamine system, you could resort to dopamine fasting for one day. In order to do that, you need to follow certain rules about doing something for 24 hours and not doing something for the same time. If you fail to maintain the rules of dopamine fasting, you would be considered addicted.
The not-to-do list of dopamine fasting includes no food (or simply plain non-junk foods), no music, no internet browsing, no phone, no talking or laughing with friends, no television, and even, no book reading. Instead, you would simply spend your time drinking water, meditating, writing, walking around, and doing some little workout.
If you successfully follow the rules of dopamine fasting for one day, you might be surprised to know how motivated you feel and how much valuable insight you gain about yourself for achieving your personal goals.
However, too much dopamine fasting could be harmful as well because the hormone also controls voluntary muscle movements, speech, blood pressure, digestion, and the immune system. Detoxification of dopamine could also lead to serious ailments such as Parkinson’s disease.