Dopamine Detox: How to effectively reset your brain to enjoy the simple things

Over the years, I have always shared a keen interest in psychology and how our minds work. In fact, if it weren’t for my father, who urged me to go to business school and only agreed to support me in my studies if I did so (thanks, Dad, I guess), I would have pursued a major in psychology (maybe someday still…).

Things have turned out as they have, and I’m content and happy with where my life is today. Regardless, the interest still remains. Admittedly, being addicted to video games as a teenager and most likely alcohol while at uni (who wasn’t, really? ;)), I have always striven to understand how addiction works.

As we already know, addiction does not necessarily need to stem from substance use or abuse. Social media, games, phone addiction, and binge eating are all forms of addiction as well.

So, what is addiction really? In essence, it’s any activity or substance that leads to large releases of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter most associated with the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

Being able to pinpoint the root cause of addiction led me to explore further and come across the idea of a dopamine detox. A dopamine detox is the practice of abstaining from any and possibly all activities that lead to substantial releases of dopamine.

So I’ve decided to give it a go… The effects? The first week was literally nothing short of dying of boredom, taken to the next level. When you cut away all stimulation, it becomes really difficult to do anything at all - you just don’t feel like it.

What saved me was the ability to go outside and take a walk, or rather walk and keep walking because there’s nothing else to do :joy:.

Over time, after about 2-3 weeks, I noticed that I started to derive more pleasure from each walk. At times, I began to just stop and enjoy the moment, enjoy what’s in front of me, enjoy life (being mindful?).

Like with anything, the practice became easier over time, and I noticed that things I usually found boring started to become much more alive and interesting. After about a month, I found myself being able to focus much more and for extended periods of time, without feeling bored. My productivity at work increased, and I actually started to enjoy my work more!

I think the idea of a dopamine detox, however merciless it can prove to be at the beginning, is something that everyone should try at least once in their life. If you do try, don’t give up, it gets easier over time, and it’s well worth the effort!

How about your experiences? Have you tried this practice? How did you find it?


Digital detoxes can be really hard. I know because when I first tried it, it was just immposible. It is something you should do very slowly and not all of a sudden. You can really feel withdrawls, like from drugs. Especially if you’re always on social media. I needed to start with a few hours here and a few hours there. Evening time is probably the safest, because then you don’t feel like you can miss much.


It’s a bit like daily exercising or healthy sleep, right? Feels so good to not use social media or have times apart from technology, but we tend to give up and then only remember the feeling when we return to our healthy ways.
How to return - that seems to be the question!


I must admit that near-impossible accurately describes my initial experience when I tried it, especially during the first few days. It ultimately boils down to finding ways to effectively occupy the newfound surplus of time.

I was determined not to give up, however, and once I rediscovered the simple art of taking a walk, it became easier from there. In fact, it helped me develop healthy habits like home workouts, meditation and reading. The results were very rewarding too, an overall better sense of well being and the ability to focus for extended periods of time.

I’ve only tried it once so far, but I would be willing to do it again, now that I have familiarized myself with the process :slight_smile:


I am big fan of this ‘resetting’. It does get easier over time. The first time I attempted to detox from my smartphone and social media, it took about 3-4 weeks. I felt discouraged, and kept reminding myself not to let perfect be the enemy of the good. Any decrease is positive, right? 3 hours/day cut to 2, then 1… It is so worth it, I tell people about it (no takers yet, lol).

The next time I decided to stop using a smartphone, It only took a few days to stop the habit of checking. The brain remembers how good it feels to be free from this stimulation!

I also think spending more time in nature promotes a sense of calmness and peace that we inherently seek, and thus makes it easier to deal with something like over using technology/screens, to handle this feeling of being bored. I have found being in nature reestablishes connection and eases restlessness. It is more appealing to me than social media. It is very liberating.


@catan, in terms of being out in nature, I couldn’t agree more! It does cultivate a sense of tranquility and undeniably reestablishes a sense of connection, while also easing restlessness. I can definitely confirm this to be true for me as well.

Moreover, regarding the dopamine detox, yes, it does get easier with time. The first week is the most challenging. I also recall reading that it takes about three weeks to develop a new habit or break free from an existing one. Once again, I can confirm this to be true based on my own experience.


Here is a seven-day iPhone/Google-Android detox program from a company that sells Faraday bags:

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Thanks for sharing

This is actually pretty cool. It approaches phone addiction the way detox centers approach any other addition- with a structured program to help individuals disconnect from their phones and experience the benefits of digital minimalism - which is how it really should be handled.

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