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Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released between neurons in the brain. There is a brain reward pathway known as the mesolimbic dopamine system which gets triggered and releases dopamine when an unexpected reward is anticipated. Once the award or the outcome is achieved, the dopamine eases and comes back to its average level. So, dopamine is a chemical of motivation and desire, which is released in the brain whenever there is the anticipation of reward and pleasure.
Psychologically, our brain is devised as a survival mechanism, since evolution. When we interact with resources we have, we conduct consummatory behaviour of pure feeling of satisfaction like while eating or drinking. When we interact with resources which we do not have but desire to have, we hold appetitive behaviour which are like motivation, drive, passion, hard work. The dopamine chemical is released and peaked when a reward or outcome is expected. Its primary purpose is to maximize future resources.
The rest of the time, the brain is more engaged with other chemicals like serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin, which gives the sense of satisfaction of the present moment of here and now. So, like all chemicals in the body, in the brain, too there is a need for chemical homeostasis. As long as the homeostasis is there, things are in harmony.
But in today’s time, our life is filled with lots of things and means which greatly overstimulate this reward pathway. These stimulants greatly multiply the dopaminergic drive, and the tolerance level develops faster and easier. People chase for money, success, technology gadgets, cars, fame, drugs, sex, alcohol and a lot more. Our society is filled with compelling things all around. We look around for something that would give us dopamine hits in terms of pleasure and reward like chasing for a sugar rush, binging junk food, shopping, smartphones, video gaming, drinking alcohol or doing drugs.
Developing addiction for TV shows, Netflix, video games, social media like facebook, Instagram, WhatsUp, internet surfing and the list goes on and on. Many of us are not even aware of the fact that it’s this dopamine drive of pleasure and reward that keep us chasing for these stimulants.
As a result of this over-exhaustion of dopamine release, we fail to live life in the present moments; we fail to make one to one connections, spend time with family and loved ones and doing meditation, yoga or practising mindfulness. All these steps give us clarity of mind and also satisfaction and contentment. Psychologically, developing social connections, compassions, mindfulness helps the release of chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins, which causes to restore the chemical haemostasis in the brain.
Dopamine Detox or Dopamine Fasting has been doing so much around as a strategy to antidote this dopamine overexhaustion. It’s a strategy of completely withdrawing from all the pleasurable activities for a specific period, say a day in the week to reset the brain from this imbalance. But, scientific studies show that it is not possible to reset this dopaminergic pathway completely. There is no total solution in dopamine fasting.
But yes, withdrawing for a while, or controlling and reducing the stimulants routinely can help our brain to balance and restore the chemical haemostasis. The critical solution is maintaining a balance in life.
It’s essential to get motivated and thrive for success, money, fame, pleasure. Still, at the same time, it’s also crucial sometimes to slow down a while, relax, spend time with loved ones, meditate and be mindful to remain contentment.
Thanks for reading.
Blessings and much love to all 💐