Dopamine Fasting: What Is It (And Is It Worth It?)

Big news: dopamine fasting is the latest and greatest trend coming out of Silicon Valley right now. But why would anyone want to starve themselves from feelings of happiness?

Be honest – most of us live for the dopamine rush you get when your crush likes your latest photo or you grab a cold drink after a hot workout. So, why turn it off? Find out what dopamine fasting is and if it’s worth it below!

What Is Dopamine Fasting?

Believe it or not, dopamine fasting is all about blocking the pleasurable activities that make your brain produce dopamine. Naturally, dopamine is known as the brain’s “pleasure center.” But how do you block dopamine when everything gives you a pleasure rush?

From binging on junk food to playing your favorite video games, dopamine is literally everywhere. Despite this fact, venture capitalist and UCSF professor Cameron Sepah believes that turning down your dopamine levels can help you focus better, work better, and live better.

Here’s how it all got started. In 2016, Sepah told Business Insider that he was “was looking for a way for himself and his clients to better maintain focus, disconnect from their devices, regulate emotions, and not get swept up into a culture of constant notifications, arousal, and bingeing.”

Of course, dopamine fasting sounds like a great idea in theory.  However, does this type of fast even work?

Does Dopamine Fasting Work?

Even though it’s already super popular in Silicon Valley, skeptics are wondering if dopamine fasting truly works. At first, it might seem easy to get rid of the following activities:

  • Instagram likes
  • Phone games
  • Happy hour cocktails
  • Online shopping

But what you may not realize is that dopamine is actually good for you. In fact, dopamine can inspire and motivate us to reach our highest potential. That sense of pleasure that you get when you receive an award or a pat on the back at work is essential for success.

And even if you can erase your brain’s pleasure center, that won’t stop your mind from wanting to experience more…well, pleasure, later on. Is the mental reset really worth it?

Should You Try Dopamine Fasting?

Now know that you know what dopamine fasting is, should you try it yourself? We highly recommend that you try out dopamine fasting in a healthy way. For example, spending a few days away from your Instagram app isn’t such a bad idea.

Also, ditching alcohol or junk food for a while could have a positive effect on your productivity, sleep, and energy. Plus, cutting down your online shopping habits is a smart financial move too.

But since neurologists don’t think that “total dopamine fasting” is possible, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about having a bowl of ice cream after a long day of work. Better yet, spend some time scrolling online after studying for a big test. Life is all about balance, right?

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