July 26, 2020

I didn’t abandon dopamine altogether: Dopamine detox Konmari style

Last time we discussed how corporations have rewired our brains for their benefit using dopamine, the chemical which was supposed to motivate humans to have better future but they have exploited it. Let's reset our brains.

I didn’t abandon dopamine altogether: Dopamine detox Konmari style

In the modern world, things like pornography, junk food and social media are introduced to us when we've not even reached the stage of adolescence. For years these activities rewire our brain in such a manner that we don't even recognise that there is something wrong. Let me tell you what's wrong and how I reset my brain Konmari style.

Few years ago, even before when I knew about dopamine, stoicism or anything about self improvement, I started practicing minimalism because of listening to the podcasts like The Minimalists Podcast and The Ground Up Show by Matt D'Avella and eventually I discovered about Konmari via Marie Kondo. I'll talk about Minimalism in detail in some other blogpost but for those who don't know about Minimalism, let me tell you that the underlying principle of both minimalism and Konmari is that stuff does not equal happiness. As a matter of fact, you may be trading a great deal of happiness to own all that stuff in the currency of time spent to organize and maintain it, as well as actual money spent doing the same. So, only keep the things that "spark joy" or in this case, avoid dopamine, the chemical that companies use to control you.

The question of what you want to own, is actually the question of how you want to live your life. – Marie Kondo

How to use Konmari to do dopamine detox?

Generally, in Konmari or minimalism you pack all of your stuff in boxes and you only take out stuff that you really need or cherish and after 90 days whatever stuff is left in the boxes, except a few seasonal clothing and gear, you giveaway or sell the rest and all you're left is with stuff which sparks joy.

Dopamine detox will be hard to do in that exact manner because the next day you'll be relapsing because excessive dopamine dosage has wired your mind to think that you cherish all of your habits like playing video games, scrolling through social media or brainlessly binging YouTube videos. So, what are we gonna do?

Declutter mind

Follow 3X detox rule

No, there is no such rule. It's my personal rule for doing any kind of detox and for dopamine detox, it works every time and it's simple to understand.

Start detox with 1 day as a target then multiply it by 3. Once you accomplish 1 day target, now you've to target 3 days then 9 days(rounding it to 10 for easy understanding), then 30 days and then 90 days. And once you accomplish a 90 day detox, you'll have way more mental clarity about your activity and in a lot of cases you would realise that you didn't even objectively liked that activity that much or that activity was hindering your potential to become a great future self. Now, you would have ability to make a choice, whether to sacrifice that activity or sacrifice your to-be great future just for the cheap pleasure. But why do detox in such a manner? Well, it starts gradually and let's you move things slowly.

Two essentials of 3X detox rule

Forgiveness and replacement.

By forgiveness I mean, let's say you've accomplished 1 day and 3 day detox and then, you were targeting 10 day detox but you relapsed because of whatever reason, it'll be natural to start feeling guilty, bad about yourself and sometimes I even lost trust in myself which can be highly discouraging. That is when you need to condemn your action but forgive yourself because there's a new day tomorrow. And you don't have to target 1 and 3 day again, just start targetting 10 day detox again. It's ok to relapse, I've relapsed so many times during 30 day period. Generally things get way easier and life gets better during 90 day detox. So, forgive yourself and start with a new day.

But to reduce the tendency to relapse, second essential of 3X rule is crucial which is replacement. By replacement I mean that whenever you start a dopamine detox, you create a void in your daily routine which needs to be replaced with some other better quality activity like reading books when doing social media detox or even during sugar detox, placing healthier foods in the containers where you expected all of your sugar loaded junk food to be or you'll end up relapsing frequently. Keep it in mind that whenever you go through a dopamine detox, your mind has been wired to do certain things at certain times, and every one of those optimised dopamine inducing activties have been habitised so you need to make the stuff, that enables you to perform the activity, unreachable and replace it with healthier options and make the replacement activity easier to perform.

You don't have to get rid of dopamine

You read that right. You don't have to get rid of dopamine. Dopamine is essential because it makes you focus and makes you want to progress in life. It's the reason that motivated us and our hunter gatherer ancestors to find food and reproduce. It's just that it has also been exploited by large corporations. So, after going through 90 days of dopamine detox carefully and intentionally bring back the activities. Find the right balance, weigh all the pros and cons after going through detox and if you really think that some amount of playing video games make you happy or little bit of junk food in a month won't hurt because now majority of your diet is very healthy and you workout regularly then go do that.

That's it for this blogpost and if you feel that there are some of your habits that are highly optimised to intoxicate you with dopamine and you want to go through the detox, then I want you to participate in Stoic Human community. Go to the reddit discussion post for this blog post linked down below and comment there which detox are you going through or willing to go through and regularly share the updates. Let's help each other to stay on track.

Stay healthy, Stay safe.

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