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Dopamine Fasting (nytimes.com)
190 points by sajid 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 129 comments



Reading through this, it identifies something that I've seen a lot of people say is a problem, and suggests that the way to solve the problem is simply don't do it sometimes, on a schedule.

While that may help, you've basically dedicated a portion of your life to not enjoying your life.

Instead, I've taken a different tack. I've chosen to do those addictive things less, but instead of not-doing-fun-things, I do fun things that are at least somewhat productive.

For me, that's making something or learning a new skill, usually in order to make something. Programming, woodworking, drawing, etc. Even just putting together Lego or Metal Earth figurines, though it's harder to justify them as "productive" rather than just fun.

I still play video games. But I don't play those mobile games with the "gacha" mechanics. It's not that I don't enjoy them, but that I realize they take over my life and are not productive at all. At all.

It's not at all easy to kick these bad habits this way, but it's way better than "dopamine fasting", IMO.


You expect too much from the same people that complains about the simplest of things.

Yours is the most down to earth approach to these issues. No need to look for an extreme, or fast solution (which I think is what drives these things; no data to back it up). Just some dedication and moderation.

I don’t really like exercising, yet I try to find excuses to walk to the supermarket or to work (half an hour). I don’t really like drinking, much less destroying myself in the process, yet I enjoy the moments I share with my friends and drink in moderation... but very few times there is no moderation, which is the beauty of it! (Please don’t drink too much, it’s quite stupid)

People these days it seems cannot live without being in an extreme. There is no middle ground; no possibility of it either.

Keep it up. Nothing like a good balanced approach to enjoying life.


If you find it easy to live a moderate life, good for you. Many others don't find it easy at all.


It's hard when so much of commerce is conspiring against us. I truly enjoy using Facebook (in the absence of a non-evil alternative) to interact with family and friends, but every time I do so I have to fight the platform's design that optimizes for quantity of interactions.

I have tried doing a bit of woodworking when I need a break (I work from home), and I've found it's much better for my mental, emotional, and physical well-being compared to going down a social media rabbit hole (like I'm doing presently). Not only do I feel like I've accomplished something and have gotten some exercise, but it also doesn't usually suck me in for hours at a time—especially since I mostly use hand tools that tire me out fairly quickly.

tl;dr: rabbets instead of rabbit holes


Cooking and baking are my big ones. It’s tactile. There’s an end to each session (as opposed to most side projects which have a nigh on infinite set of potential tasks, or work which is much the same).

I’m on my feet. I usually don’t have music or TV on so my brain gets a nice bit of breathing time and original thoughts bubble up.

And then if I’m doing dishes maybe I will turn music on, get a bit of dance on.

I love the smells of things as they sauté, or roast, or bake. And the sounds of the knife hitting the chopping board, or the water coming from the faucet, or the coffee grinding and gurgling (especially in the mornings).

And then I get to eat something delicious (the vast majority of the time). And I love learning about new flavors, and how I can combine them and using new techniques with high quality ingredients.

Very pleasant. My Pops does woodworking and stained glass making and photography and cooks and bakes and I imagine it’s much the same. Tactile, not a lot of screens, on the feet, keeps the brain energized and making new neural connections.

Definitely better than looking at page 12 of Reddit (for me, although I do that sometimes too).


>It's hard when so much of commerce is conspiring against us.

It's true. I'm no health nut but I can't even consider a sugar-free lifestyle without going very much out of my way since everything has some sort of added sugar or sweetener.


Honestly, staying away from "gacha" (and most, if not all, kinds of microtransactions) is just common sense at this point.

I also try to do interesting things that are productive (studying certain topics, writing code, etc). I'd like to think that anyone can find a hobby like that (playing a musical instrument looks like could work for a lot of people, for example), although judging from some people I've met, maybe I'm wrong. What I'm pretty sure of is that discipline can be learned, and that certain level of discipline is needed at least to kickstart a hobby.


Gachas at least always contain an item, and a real one at that - not to mention they always list all the possible contents ahead of time. Quite a bit better than microtransactions on most platforms.


I share a similar perspective. I often wonder how much more creative and productive we'd be if video games suddenly disappeared, or if by magic, the internet shut off at 8pm every night.

I've observed that when the internet has gone down, or I've been unable to play videogames, I'm more likely to fill the downtime with building things.


The internet is crucial for many people to be productive.

If by "internet" you meant "fscebook, twitter, Instagram and the like", you already see the problem.

I'd say that delaying gratification somewhat is key. If you stop the internal monkey from getting its immediate hit of dopamine, and get the conscious part of you involved, you can be productive and enjoy it.


Maybe we assume that the internet is crucial to be productive (personally), but it might not be necessary. Productivity isn't just about checking tasks.

I mean, how mAny individual creative action require to be online once you chose tools that don't require it?


I've suddenly found myself very much in favor of the reinstitution of blue laws... and sort of observing Sabbath. Shut down all the machinery once a week.


When I need to take a break, I try to do things that are different from my norm. Instead of coding all day and working with electronics, I might go for a nice hike and spend some time camping or in a cabin.

The goal maybe shouldn't be to have a day of isolation and no enjoyment, but instead taking time to find enjoyment in different ways.

(Though, this raises the question - is there some woodsman out there who might take a vacation from hiking and outdoors-ing by hiding inside with a laptop and some videogames?)


Who said you should spend a portion of your life not enjoying it? Engaging in a problematic behavior is sometimes enjoyable in the short-term, and usually not in the long. In my dopamine fasting 2.0 approach, I share suggestions of what to do during that time that is deeply satisfying:

"You don't need to “do nothing” or meditate during a dopamine fast (unless you’d like to). Just engage in regular activities that reflect your values:

- Health-Promoting (exercise, cooking) - Leading (helping, serving others) - Relating (talking, bonding over activities) - Learning (reading, listening) - Creating (writing, art)

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dopamine-fasting-new-silicon-...


Terribly biased hit piece on Silicon Valley, here is my rebuttal: https://medium.com/@DrSepah/why-the-media-lies-to-you-about-...


Sorry, what? That Medium article can't be taken seriously, especially when it veers off the rails into moaning about people speaking out about toxic masculinity and complaining about an opinion piece in The Washington Post from over a year ago!

If you want to seriously rebut the New York Times piece, find a serious article.


yes they are violating the recommendation of Dr. Sepah's proposal and make it into a purity trip, a meditation retreat in daily life.

"You don't need to “do nothing” or meditate during a dopamine fast (unless you’d like to). Just engage in regular activities that reflect your values:

- Health-Promoting (exercise, cooking)

- Leading (helping, serving others)

- Relating (talking, bonding over activities)

- Learning (reading, listening)

- Creating (writing, art)"

-- https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dopamine-fasting-new-silicon-...


This is something I came to slowly realize in the search for repairing my attention/depression issues. So far I've been getting good results. It started with giving up amphetamines (adderall, vyvanse), when that didn't do the trick, I removed alcohol and caffiene from my diet. The benefits I experienced led to stop smoking marijuana as well. That one was the toughest to give up, the anhedonia was torturous. It was like my brain forgot how to make dopamine. I couldn't enjoy any activity.

It's been 38 days since I stopped smoking, and it seems that things are starting to improve. I'm able to work on my creative endeavors again in multiple short bursts. I've also massively cut down on porn consumption (from daily to biweekly on average, but trying to get rid of it all). As well as halved my newsmedia consumption (an avg of 10 hours a week down to 5, another thing I want to get close to zero).

I've been reading a lot more, mostly philosophy (stoicism, daoism), but also worked through some other self help books as well as some science fiction. Still playing lots of games but, Im using it as my support system for the time being. Eventually I want to get even games down to just a very select few titles.

It's am ongoing process, tempting to want to rid myself of everything but that would be setting myself up for failure, too overwhelming. Must ease into things. the benefits have been manifold, discipline, concentration, memory, emotional control have all improved, which cascade into fitness, eating better, getting work done, less procrastination, and my favorite: more time. Bill Burr said "a year sober is the longest year of your life" and it's true, the clock passes so much slower, which is great, life is starting to feel plentiful again.

Anyway, I digress. But what I did notice is that is all comes back to dopamine. Some activities seem to give it more sustainably, others supernormally. And by limiting supernormal stimuli, we should expect to see positive effects.


Do intense physical exercise, that’s the missing link in your plan. You’ve got basically all the other key parts in place.


Some martial art (a real one) like muay-thai (no need for fights) works really good for this.


Martial arts are really hard to get into as a beginner. I'm physically fit and fairly flexible, but the dogmatism of many martial arts and the high barrier to entry (extreme strength and flexibility seem to be required even to start) made me really uncomfortable with a wide variety of martial arts. I've tried aikido, capoeira, kung fu muay-thai, boxing — but they all seemed to required beginners to immediately be able to do side-splits, acrobatic flips (I'm in NYC, so maybe the quality of beginners was much higher).

I'd recommend yoga in combination with weightlifting or HIIT training.


It's not a gatekeep. It's just easier to do in group by following the teacher/group.

The "have to be fit to join" is a myth. You can go whatever your fit/fat levels are.

The mindset is "do what you can" and improve step by step.


BJJ could be one to try if you have patience left?


I don't think there's a need to gate-keep exercise.


Start with walking and fast-walking in bursts.

This is an impressive change you are making, congratulations!

If you're not already doing this, I'd like to suggest journaling this effort in detail. This will be an amazing journey to look back on. And in the mean time, when things are tough it's always nice to be able to see all your accomplishments thus far.


Good on you brother. I underwent a similar effort recently. Cutting back or eliminating adderall/coffee/alcohol/marijuana/twitter/facebook/reddit/instagram/bullet chess ( my addictive game of choice )/more I'm probably missing.

I made it about a month clean before I had a drink which pulled me back into everything else. I'm trying to clean up again. I want to re claim my attention and be able to mindfully focus my time on more productive and helpful things.

One day at a time, I guess.


Read Hesse and discover moderation, it sounds like your personality seeks extremes.


I don't know you, but I'm so happy for you. You have done such incredible work.


Lol I have a new food fast, but you don't have to stop eating.

You can:

* eat your normal breakfast while fasting from food

* engage in your normal lunch routines with friends while fasting from food

* have a hearty, family style dinner with your loved ones while fasting from food.

Why does this person require abuse of the term "fast"? Fast means to abstain, but the entire list includes point for point the opposite of "abstaining" from dopamine. Exercise releases dopamine. Learning and creativity release it. Helping others release it. It's not a fast, and anyone who calls it that is just lying (or abusing our language in a very doublespeak 1984 kind of way, "eating is fasting" kind of way)

This comes across as a ridiculous fad with better branding than substance.


Yeah, this whole notion of a "fast" seems like it's based on the usual one-dimensional view of dopamine as synonymous with excitement and pleasure. There's a lot of evidence that dopamine is far more subtle than that; it seems to play a huge role in anticipation and sensory gating, for example.


Perhaps dieting would be a better term - it's most similar to a whole foods/avoid simple carbs diet.


> Leading (helping, serving others)

Helping and serving others is not leading at all. And leading is not helping and serving others.


If you're ever in a management position, I hope for your sake -- and your subordinates' -- you outgrow that notion.


You can be helping and serving without having any leadership impact or role. Completely. Overwhelming majority of people who help others or server others are not leaders. Helping and serving others will not put you into leadership position nor proves you are capable of leadership.

And while good leaders help on occasions, they are not serving not the bulk of that role does not consists of helping and serving.


The concept you are looking to read up on is servant leadership. It's entire thesis is that a leader serves those "below" them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership


Necessary but insufficient.


at a minimum, a nice jewish boy from a podunk town in a roman backwater province vehemently disagrees with you. He went pretty far, too!


Cam, I say this as a fellow Psych PhD: shame on you. Your approach is not evidence-based and apparently has little or nothing to do with your publication history, which from what I can tell largely consists of studying behavioral interventions for diabetes prevention (which is an important area!). You are abusing your credentials in order to sell snake oil, and there's no way you're not aware that you're engaging in quackery.

To the rest of you: beware the PhD who insists that everyone call him "doctor". It's a huge red flag.


Beside the personal attack, could you elaborate on your rebuttal? Here's an excerpt from his original article: Dopamine fasting is based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the gold standard treatment for compulsive behaviors like internet addiction. Specifically, it uses the behavioral technique of 'stimulus control' to restrict use to specific time periods, because abstinence models are not practical with the internet. Researchers generally agree; in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, they state: "Clinicians have generally agreed that moderated and controlled used of the Internet is most appropriate to treat the problem"

Is he being misleading?


Shame on you for making baseless accusations while hiding behind your pseudoynm. If you have an issue with CBT for behavioral addictions, then criticize the approach, not make ad hominem personal attacks.

For the record, I have all my clients call me Cam and only use the honorific online and when being introduced to speak. Step up and tell us your name, instead of being an anonymous coward.


CBT is great. It’s a broad therapeutic framework that can be applied to address a wide spectrum of mental illnesses. Unfortunately, you are using both “CBT” and especially “dopamine” as meaningless buzzwords. One could just as easily substitute in Willhelm Reich's "orgones" wherever you mention "dopamine" and the substance of the article would be essentially unchanged. Pro tip, Cam: science is conducted in peer reviewed journals, not on LinkedIn and Medium.com


Thanks. I needed something that addresses the weird end of the NY Times article when he refuses to speak to someone - I thought that the goal is the exact opposite - more "real" human contact and experiences and less of things that directly push your addiction circuits.


No, it's so that they can work even more, because "they can't allow themselves NOT to work on weekends".


That's my point - the reasoning in Sepah's article (comment above) is very different from what's portrayed in the NY times article (OP).



The bar chart in the rebuttal is pretty damning, though - just look at the gigantic confidence intervals. The real effects can plausibly be negative for all factors but "Healthy Daily Activities".

Note that I neither defend the news media here, nor argue against news fasting. This particular study just isn't the final argument in the matter, in my opinion.


The 17% reduction in depression was statistically significant. Healthy daily activities was p = 0.057. I agree it's not the be-all & end-all study, but its promising.


Statistical significance is almost meaningless in this case (or necessesary, but not sufficient). One can calculate the necessary sample size to guarantee stasticial significance before the study even starts.

I just calculated it for this study: With an estimated small effect size (0.1), 95% confidence (α=0,05) und 1 degree of freedom you have guaranteed significance at n=197. Phase 2 of the study at hand had n=167, so almost guaranteed significance from the sample size alone.

The problem is that the confidence intervals are huge and their range covers the negative space, too. In other words: It is quite possible that a reproduction of the study would show negative results.


I find that graph of media consumption outrageously hard to believe. The average person spends 11 out of 24 hours every day consuming media? People average 4 hours a day watching TV and 1.75 hours a day listening to the radio?


Well, something like 20% of the population are in the transport sector, and many of those probably listen to radio 8 h a day while driving.


Instagram/reddit/Snapchat/tik tok/forwarded whatsapp videos/hacker news/audio books/music are all media. And with a device that enables 24/7 consumption literally on a person 24/7, I don’t doubt it.


If you look at the graph, internet usage is a relatively small percentage of media usage. TV + Radio have roughly 2x the consumption of internet based media according to that graph. Which strikes me as odd, although the idea of people in transportation skewing the radio numbers is interesting


It's on the upper end of estimates I've seen. Other sources say 2-2.5 hours of social media for the average American. It think it's because that source used all kinds of different media sources like radio. That definitely increases my "screentime" hours when I leave Spotify/YouTube music on my phone.


I suspect that may be device level consumption accounting as opposed to actual focus (which is hard to measure) at best. At worst it is human memory which is even worse.


Seems absolutely plausible.


Your advice seems sensible, but I don't see anything revolutionary about it. It's basic common sense, but I believe that your "sin" was your attempt at rebranding a simple concept, a framework to moderation and withdrawal, into a click-baity term: "dopamine fasting 2.0". It makes it look like yaf (yet another fad) and yaf is tiresome. Yaf is also easy target and an opportunity to sell paper.


I don't claim it's revolutionary. CBT is a lot of common sense--but as I like to say, "common sense ain't so common."

The original sin of the controversial title is what made it go viral, so it's the price to pay to get it to help more people.


Yeah... but I can see how the name "Dopamine fasting" can get people confused


Read the original guide, it's pretty clear: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dopamine-fasting-new-silicon-...


Just FYI, mocking the term "Toxic Masculinity" shows you either don't understand what it refers to or think those things are good, either of which makes me much less interested in anything else you might have to say because it sets a bad precedent.

Toxic Masculinity does not mean being male is toxic (i.e. harmful). It refers to specific ideas about what it means to be male or how men should act that are toxic. Like not sharing emotions other than violence, not asking for help, never admitting weakness, etc. If you think those things are silly and we shouldn't be doing them: great! But many people (especially men) hold onto these notions and that's what the term refers to.


From you explanation, “toxic masculinity” sounds like a label for being overly “reserved”, “self reliant”, and “hiding weaknesses”.

If it is the case, it looks like an attempt by some groups to shame and to dictate men, who value those qualities, that they must adopt the views of those groups on the male character and behaviour - seen, as usually, as only acceptable and morally superior.

I thought toxic masculinity is more about seeing men superior to women, telling sexist jokes and remarks, expressing an explicit sexual interest to female colleagues, etc. Anyway, it is a misleading and confusing term in general.


I've only seen it as a gendered slur used condescendingly to silence and shame men, as your post did.


How did his post shame men?


Somehow people who think "toxic masculinity" is a man-hating slur tend to miss the fact that I may be a man (I am, btw).

I don't "hate men" either. I neither hate myself nor do I hate other men for being men. I do however hate that some people (including men) have very harmful ideas about what it means to be a man and that they mock and bully men and boys who don't conform to these ideas for "not being real men".


I find exercise is the best solution along similar lines for me, and has the added side effect of actually making you stronger and healthier. The difference is night and day:

If I don't regularly exercise, I'll get burned out very quickly on some task I would have normally found fun previously. E.g. some highly-intense game like a competitive multiplayer shooter, or even a difficult programming challenge. Even interacting with other people can suck in this mode.

If I am regularly exercising (I.e. 30 minutes of cardio every day or better), I can carry through marathon sessions of gaming or coding with a smile on my face the entire time. My social tolerance levels are infinitely higher than without.

I still don't fully understand all of the biology behind this, but it seems that regular exercise is a great way to pay-forward the debt that is incurred when you stimulate your dopamine receptors. Maybe there is some relationship between exercise/sleep/dopamine/serotonin, because I find that regular exercise yields substantially deeper sleep, and when I wake up from this I feel like I want to engage in challenging tasks.


>It consists of a period of abstention from earthy delights like sex, drugs, and, in some extreme cases, talking to other people, for 24 hours or more. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vb5qb9/dopamine-fasting-i...

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asceticism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vow_of_silence

>In many monasteries it is the custom to begin the "Great Silence" after Compline, during which the whole community, including guests, observes silence throughout the night until the morning service the next day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compline


Naming things is hard.

This seems to be a scientifically proven and effective treatment which has proved benefits. But the name makes people have incorrect assumptions (and apparently also at least one practitioner). So it’s getting a lot of bad press.

All because of a bad name.


A predictably bad name that reflects Silicon Valley pretensions of "biohacking"



I love the fact that uBlock Origin has a little switch for JS in the bottom-left corner. Works like a charm for most websites like these and make your overall experience much more agreable.


Just go into your browser's settings (most likely Chrome), and turn off both cookies and JavaScript in Site Settings for just www.nytimes.com. Poof, no more paywall.


Hahahaha, I guess the story originated from this tweet?

https://twitter.com/jnymnz/status/1179175270105763846


Cal Newport wrote an entire book around this called Digital Minimalism. I encourage folks to take a look. Taking an occasional break is good. Making technology actually work for you is better.


Cal is the OG and deserves credit for popularizing this for a previous generation.


These guys are trolling the NYT, right? It reminds me of an article a few years ago about the socks of "Silicon Valley" which was clearly a troll from someone in SF (https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/fashion/in-silicon-valley...)


The struggles of first world problems...


This is a very Silicon Valley sort of framing of a problem that is very core to the human experience. I’ve been reading through the (NIV) bible and it’s really interesting to connect a lot of passages to mindfulness (which derived from buddhism, also been around for thousands of years). It’s clear that humans have been struggling with the overactive mind for a long while.

Anyways, knock the dopamine fasting practice all you want, I sure do xD. But it’s not a first world problem at its core, people have had these problems in much less active times in humans history and across different societal structures.


It's also a very old problem--the need for people to find meaning in a world that is essentially devoid of any kind of meaning for them. The old, ancient problem. I would argue that these are the two defining problems of life: finding meaning, and finding purpose. The way we solve the first, by seeking meaning, and the way we solve the second, by finding purpose, is the same way we solve all other problems. Because, if we aren't finding meaning and purpose in life, then we are missing out on the very essence of what makes our life worth living.


I don't know about that... for example, as smartphones become more and more ubiquitous, it becomes easy and cheap for people of all income levels to indulge in visual & auditory sensory overload.

I'm currently traveling in Asia and it's jarring to see the number of people sitting idly, watching some random YouTube videos or Facebooking to pass the time.


> I'm currently traveling in Asia and it's jarring to see the number of people sitting idly, watching some random YouTube videos or Facebooking to pass the time.

Why is it jarring?


Because this person comes from a place where people watch random YouTube videos or Facebook somewhere less visible, like their offices, or their own homes.


Because there's an actual real world, with real people around us that we could be interacting with, rather than staring at a smartphone screen?


Why is it jarring to see in Asia, as opposed to everywhere else?


The internet tells me that smoking costs about $2k a year. I’m pretty sure people are spending that much on cell phones now.


Hm. ~$600/yr for a not-great data plan. Call it $200/yr for the cheapest phone that won't make you want to toss it off a bridge or crush it underfoot, if you keep it three years. $800/yr as kinda the minimum to have a phone with the capabilities and usability to actually do anything with it without going into frugal-enough-it's-A-Thing-for-you territory, yeah, I could see $2k/yr not being that far off for a lot of people. Throw in $200/yr of IAP or subscriptions, a better data plan with a more realistic cap for heavy use, replacing your phone every two years instead of three and getting top-end models rather than older or mid-range ones.

Yeah, $2k/yr's probably not an uncommon amount of cellphone-related spending in the US, I bet.


People in second and third world countries also use phones. And view social media, read news.


It came across to me as a light version of Buddhist (Vipassanā) meditation.


Yes, I Ctrl-F-ed "Vipassana" when I read the description but it was used in a very different context.


From another post in this thread I found [1], written by the person who coined the term (Dr. Cameron Sepah, Executive Psychologist & Venture Capitalist, Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Medicine), and who sees it being hijacked in media.

> [...] Dopamine Fasting is based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the gold standard treatment for compulsive behaviors like internet addiction, which I train psychiatrists in as a Clinical Professor at UCSF Medical School. [...]

> [...] This has been a wonderful opportunity to teach people a behavioral therapy technique to manage specific problematic/addictive behaviors (like excessive internet/gaming) by purposefully withdrawing from them for periods of time at the end of each day, week, quarter, and year. [...]

Another quote I liked

> [...] The American Psychiatric Association, who publishes the DSM-V, the bible of psychiatric disorders, now recognizes internet gaming disorder as a condition when the behavior becomes truly problematic and impairs social/occupational functioning. [...]

The whole article is an informative read. Much more informative and factual than the one which is linked to (nytimes.com one). The latter is basically about these 2 persons and how they applied the principle to their life, according to their vision. But they exclude also IRL social contact, which Dr. Sepah actually recommends.

[1] https://medium.com/@DrSepah/why-the-media-lies-to-you-about-...


Thank you, much appreciated!


I have used an herb Corydalis Yanhusuo [1] a dopamine D3 antagonist [2]. I buy the plum flower brand of tea pills [3] and take the normal recommended dose. It feels like anhedonia, relaxing, sort of similar to antipsychotics if you have ever taken anything like valproic acid. Don't take an absurd much or you'll get seratonin syndrome.

p.s. it is also a great non narcotic solution for pain relief, more effective than NSAIDs alone.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corydalis_yanhusuo

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine_receptor_D3

[3] https://amzn.to/36LNdJa


I just go on a jog


I can't say I agree with this (besides how silly it reads). Outright avoidance as a periodic tact sounds like jarring panacea. One day I wake up in a flood of sensations and the next day I stick my head in the sand? Where is the adaptation, the learning, the evolution?


Relevant (and maybe inspired this article):

https://carnivoreaurelius.com/dopamine-fast/


Two of my friends just went on a five day retreat in which there was no talking and everyone had their own mini-cabin in the woods. This seems like prime dopamine fasting.


So... they reinvented Shabbat?


isn't this just the Straight Edge thing that was popular in the 90s? There's a whole subculture for it.


Straight Edge people don't use drugs or drink, and some abstain from sex. I've also met a few that would instead get their rush from fighting non-edge people. Just like the people in the article, basing your entire personality around abstinence makes a person a 1-dimensional asshole.


> Just like the people in the article, basing your entire personality around abstinence makes a person a 1-dimensional asshole.

I'd say it can sometimes make you an asshole along many dimensions.


So let me get this straight. People do a dopamine fast by avoiding anything that would be considered fun and enjoyable so that they can be completely rested and enjoy work more? Sounds like a bad trade off. We should probably just work less.

Yay nihilism. /s You can ascribe nearly anything to pleasure and dopamine. Never mind that a lot of people are addicted to facebook content partly because it generates a negative feeling.


Weird to associate nihilism with something that the article compares to religious practice, which is emphatically not nihilistic.


Part of it's title is 'How to feel nothing now'. It is aiming at gaining a new life from nihilism. It has little to do with religion, that is the framework for the process of heading towards nothing.

It has the same quality of mind emptying meditation that you can get from a Sam Harris workshop. It is fundamentally opposite from being on top of the world, having everything in order. It instead encourages you to clear out a valuable part of your life and society as if exiting downwards is productive.

The article is on point for current trends, clear the air to let in the water gods. It's predictable.


what is it about nihlism?


I liked this article. It seems like these guys are seeking some peace of mind during big time life stress.

It seems like they might enjoy meditating?


I was feeling mild about the whole thing until the very end where he decides not to talk to a friend long unseen because he's fasting.

Come on, that's just ridiculously pretentious no matter what your goals or intentions are.


> It seems like they might enjoy meditating?

I am sure - my impression from reading the article - these guys have already transcended meditation.

They must have accumulated a lot of negative karma to be on such a wheel of suffering.


These guys are taking NNN too far.


"Joyless January"

"Yeah I'm doing JJ to really reset those D-P receptors, you know?"


Vipassana for people who can't afford to leave San Francisco for 10 days.


looks like a form of Ascetism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asceticism


"The point of dopamine fasting is not to encourage monasticism or masochism, Fun, enjoyment, and aesthetic appreciation are an important part of life" https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dopamine-fasting-new-silicon-...


tl;dr hipsters identify niche, become urban monks


So they invented 1-day weekends? Time to find investors!

vixen99 14 days ago [flagged]

Paywall



> The other day, Mr. Sinka ran into an old friend but had to tell her they could not continue speaking.

> “I hadn’t seen her in six months, and it was extraordinarily exciting, super-stimulating, and I could feel how excited I was,” he said. “So I had to cut it off and I just said, ‘Listen, it’s not you, it’s me, doing this dopamine fast.’”

If this were on HBO's Silicon Valley, we would dismiss it as too over-the-top.


I wouldn't be able to hold back laughter if I heard this. It seems like something a parody of hipsters would say.

"My life is too good, I need to make it worse" but still be as self centered as possible.

God forbid someone does difficult volunteer work instead of this "dopamine fast".


God forbid you do some difficult volunteer work instead of this "putting people down and mocking them" internet commenting.

Incidentally, why is it that so many people argue that wealth comes from doing things people value, but then support volunteer work? If it's the case that helping people makes money, all the people needing help should have entrepreneurs all over them, rather than hoping for unpaid volunteers. And why would people tend to become volunteers if continually told that virtue comes from measurably productive money making?


I do both, and I'm also not sure what your tangent has to do with me.


Then why can't the article person do volunteering and dopamine fasting?

My tangent has nothing to do with you; not everything is to do with you.


Wow, this is a peak "I bet this guy is fun at parties" moment.

It's all incredibly ridiculous. If this man were really on a "dopamine fast", the conversation still would have ended, but not in the same way.

It would have ended because he would be wiggling around on the floor and making noises like a dying cat. His basal ganglia, starved of dopamine, would not be able to make any of the neural connections they need to coordinate any of the muscle movements in his body, including the muscles needed for speech. This guy seems like he was more interested in informing this person that he was fasting than actually keeping his "fast".

This incident reminds me of the Desert Fathers, the early christian monks who lived in the desert in Egypt. They took fasting very seriously as a way of keeping their religious purity. Many of their parables caution against keeping your fast for show. Here's one:

"Once two brothers went to visit an old man. It was not the old man’s habit, however, to eat every day. When he saw the brothers, he welcomed them with joy, and said: “Fasting has its own reward, but if you eat for the sake of love, you satisfy two commandments, for you give up your own will and also fulfill the commandment to refresh others.”

From "The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks" https://www.amazon.com/Desert-Fathers-Sayings-Christian-Clas...


The desert fathers. No matter what you think of Christianity, you have to wonder at their willpower and love for others.


This sounds extremely dangerous. Having low amounts of dopamine or even just a decreasing amount of dopamine can cause psychosis and Parkinson's disease.

Don't listen to this garbage without talking to your doctor first.


Read my original guide: "This is not to demonize dopamine; it’s an important brain chemical, and people who are low in it (whether naturally or by taking antipsychotic medications) can be lethargic and anhedonic (taking little interest of pleasure in things). Also, properly-prescribed dopaminergic medications can help people with ADHD & Parkinson's improve their ability to focus and regulate their behavior. Rather, my point is that we may be getting too much of a good thing, especially when dopamine reinforces behaviors that are out of line with our values."

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dopamine-fasting-new-silicon-...


I think you are taking the title a bit to literally. By "dopamine fast", what is meant is abstaining from activities that give you "cheap" dopamine hits, such as participating in social media and receiving likes in your posts.

This is absolutely safe. If you brain is healthy, it will produce the dopamine it needs either you want it or not. Abstaining from Facebook, or even abstaining from all activity and spending the day staring at a wall will not change that.


Yes. To quote William Arkle,

'Purity is not goodness, it is having clear and undistorted communication with all our levels of experience.'

'The teaching of purity and simplicity is therefore not an attempt to narrow down our life and experience, it is not a type of punishment, it does not invalidate our individuality neither does it bring special dispensations with it from God. It is nothing more or less than what is understood in scientific terms as a law of condition of nature which we must accept and work with because it is not within our ability to change. To be pure is not to be in fear of making mistakes which will make God angry with us and thus punish us. It is rather to eradicate from our attitudes the hesitations and suspicions which prevent us acting and experiencing with intensity and conviction.'

https://williamarkle.blogspot.com/2019/06/a-geography-of-con...

It isn't necessary to be formally religious to understand that the object of purity is to make the varying intensity of one's responses be truly integrated with the situations that one encounters, whether one is being attacked by a lion, at risk of ostracism, receiving good news, celebrating a birthday, etc.


Speaking of garbage to not listen to...




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