published on in rants

Dopamine fasting

Have you ever heard of dopamine fasting? Apparently, it’s a “thing” now. It even has its own Wikipedia page, so you know it’s legit.

But for me, dopamine fasting is an annual tradition that I’ve been doing for about 10 years leading up to Easter. It’s not like I’m particularly religious, but the 40-day period seems like a good time to cut back or quit something that I thought brought me happiness but wasn’t entirely sure.

In the past, I’ve tried fasting from social media, computer games, caffeine, and probably some other stuff that I can’t remember. This year, I’m calling it a dopamine fast because let’s face it, there is a lot of people trying to push down quick dopamine kicks on us.

Now, why do it? Well, for me, it’s about breaking bad habits and focusing on things that truly bring me joy, like binging on Netflix or spending time with my cats. And how do I do it? Simple, just give up something that you enjoy but aren’t sure is actually bringing you happiness.

Now, as for whether it “works” or not, who knows? A professor of neuroscience, Ciara McCabe, says that it doesn’t necessarily affect dopamine levels. But hey, I’ve found it enjoyable and helpful in breaking some bad habits, so I’m going to keep doing it. And I recommend you give it a try too, unless you really enjoy mindlessly scrolling through social media or chugging caffeine like it’s water.

As I said, this year I’m doing a more general dopamine fast. I’m not entirely sure which parts I’ll cut out, but I know I can’t completely cut out social media or email since I use it to stay up to date on news, but I will limit my usage to one specific hour a day. And to avoid mindlessly checking my email or social media, I’ll be using NextDNS to disable some things on the DNS level. Check out my post if you’re interested in how that works.

So, give it a try and see what you think. And at the end of it all, reward yourself with something delicious like a real Finnish Mignon.