What is dopamine fasting and should you try it?

“Dopamine fasting “ is avoiding things that are pleasurable in an addictive way, with the aim to break addictive behaviour – we’re talking compulsively checking your phone, or mindlessly scrolling despite the fact you’re at dinner with friends.

How do you do dopamine fasting?

Dopamine fasting is essentially a digital detox, where you avoid phones, TV, gaming and social media, but in addition, you also resist replacing your smartphones with alternative stimulants such as sugar, alcohol or sex.

Don’t feel like you have to meditate or do nothing at all during your fast, though;  the suggestion is to  engage in exercise or cooking, chatting to loved ones, learning by reading books or listening to the radio or getting creative with writing or painting.

What are the benefits of dopamine fasting?

Dopamine fasting may help us escape habits that can result in responses that don’t feel good such as loneliness or binge eating. For example, it may help using a smartphone too much, the urge to keep scrolling on social media, or checking your phone immediately upon waking or before bed.

Not everyone needs to dopamine fast – if your phone is confined to your bag most of the day, there’s probably no need to detox from it. But if your screen time reports are sending you into despair or your Instagram addiction is impairing your social life or work performance, it might be for you.

If you feel you have difficulty concentrating, poor motivation and reduced alertness then it could worth a try.

How long should a dopamine fast last?

There are no set rules when it comes to how long you should dopamine fast for; the suggestions is to increase your fasting steadily, beginning with one to four hours of dopamine fasting at the end of the day, building up to one day per weekend, then one weekend per quarter, and finally one week per year – perhaps while on holiday.

Better still “Limit using digital devices to one hour per day or turn off for a weekend.” …….but probably less realistic 🙂