NoFap and dopamine detox are two habits that will radically change your life.
But before we get into what dopamine detox is, you need to know some important things about the science of dopamine.
In 1953, two young researchers, James Olds and Peter Milner at McGill University in Montreal wanted to stimulate the fear center of a rat’s brain.
So, they implanted an electrode deep into the rat’s brain and started giving painful shocks to this rat.
The surprising thing was that the more they shocked this rat, the more the rat seemed to enjoy these painful shocks.
Even after they starved the rat for 24 hours, it chose shock over food.
And when they attached the shocking mechanism to a lever that the rat could press by itself, the rat kept pressing the lever over and over again, till it died of exhaustion.
What the two researchers later found out was that instead of attaching the electrode to the fear center of the rat’s brain, they’d mistakenly attached it to the part of the brain that will later be known as the reward center.
What you will learn
Dopamine and our reward center
When it comes to stimulating our reward center, dopamine plays a key role.
Dopamine is the chemical that’s secreted in our brain when there’s a promise of a reward for doing a certain thing.
The more the perceived reward, the more dopamine is secreted.
And the more dopamine secreted, the more pleasure, motivation, and focus to get that thing done!
Since it’s the promise of reward that secretes dopamine, you should know that rewards are of two types;
Delayed rewards, and Instant rewards.
The things we do that are most satisfying, fulfilling, and can remotely give us a shot at long-term happiness are almost always associated with delayed rewards.
For instance, if you start working out today, you won’t get the six packs instantly.
If you study for hours today, it’s later in the future when you graduate that you get your final cumulative grade.
If you start a business today, you might not turn a profit in the next six months, or even this year.
If you meditate today, you won’t get to nirvana tomorrow.
But doing and sticking to any of these activities will eventually reward you down the line.
A natural, earned, and satisfying dopamine will later be secreted.
But since doing any of these things won’t reward you at the moment, the anticipation of doing them won’t secrete much dopamine.
Hence, you might not be highly motivated to do them!!
Instant rewards on the other hand are satisfying at the moment, but feel empty in the long term.
For instance, if you keep watching porn, playing video games, scrolling through social media like a mindless zombie, consuming food high in sugar, drinking alcohol, and abusing drugs, and you’re consequently getting instantly rewarded with the orgasm, the false sense of adventure, the novelty, the likes, the validations, very soon, these rewards start feeling empty because you’re doing nothing to earn them.
Where it gets really dark is you’ll start binging on these false rewards because they’re literally available at the click of a button.
And since evolution hasn’t prepared your brain for this level of unnatural dopamine, your brain protects itself by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in your brain.
And this leads to reduced dopamine sensitivity in your reward center, which results in high tolerance to dopamine.
The higher your tolerance to dopamine, the more you need to get the unearned dopamine.
Very soon, you’re like the rat that’s stuck on your own lever. And you keep pressing the lever, even if the shock is killing you.
As you’re already on NoFap, it means you’ve started taking back control of your reward center.
And I highly recommend doing a form of dopamine detox together with your NoFap to avoid substituting porn for another bad dopamine habit like binging on sugar, alcohol, video games, or Netflix shows.
The science of NoFap and Dopamine detox
In this post, I talk about how I usually go about doing my NoFap and dopamine detox.
When I think of dopamine detox, I think of it in two parts;
The first part of my dopamine detox is to stay away from the INSTANTLY rewarding, unnatural, and unearned type of dopamine for a certain period.
This is where I choose a weekend to do a hardcore dopamine reset.
On this particular weekend, I don’t check in to any of my social media accounts.
I reduce my total screen time to just one hour each day.
I don’t consume any sugar or any food high in sugar.
I don’t play any video games.
I don’t watch TV at all.
I just allow myself to be bored out of my mind.
I only read a physical non-fiction book and have conversations with the people around me when I can.
I aim to do this type of hardcore dopamine detox for 3 to 4 days a month.
The second part of my dopamine detox is that I get as much natural dopamine as I possibly can, on any day I can.
The aim of this 2nd part is to help me rebuild my dopamine receptors, to increase my dopamine sensitivity.
This second part is a set of habits that I do as much as I can.
These natural dopamine habits that I practice regularly are;
- working out,
- reading, and
And to even double the effects of my hardcore dopamine detox days, I like to sit in on a meditation retreat in the waking-up app.
The meditation retreat can take up to 6 hours.
But please know that I’ve been meditating for 20 minutes almost every day with the app for more than 2 years.
So, you might want to build up as I did before sitting in on a retreat.
If you made it to the end of this post, I appreciate you!
Please, if you have any questions, or have any remarks, please use the comment section below!