Remember your craving after eating a chocolate bar, wanting another one? That’s how cheap dopamine works. In this article, we will see how to dodge it with tips from my personal experiences.
Our mind works in mysterious ways; it is hardwired to keep itself repeatedly learning and doing certain tasks. To make it happen, when you are doing something, a molecule is released in our brain called dopamine. This molecule is a rewarding mechanism for our mind to complete the task and do it again to increase productivity.
Unfortunately, dopamine is dumb. It does not understand what is good and what is bad and needs to be nurtured like a child. When you eat a bar of chocolate, dance, watch movies, and do other “fun” things, dopamine wants you to do it again and again to drive pleasure and happiness. Such one is called cheap dopamine, and it is what wrecks most of our lives.
One example of cheap dopamine is when you have a bar of chocolate from the stack. Once you have it, you feel pleasure, and dopamine is released in your brain. Now, you get a feeling of having one more, and the feeling doesn’t end at all unless you are stopped. In this case, dopamine drives you towards obesity and increases sugar levels. Similarly, dopamine in other bad situations takes you out of productivity and places you into a bad situation such as addiction.
Another example of cheap dopamine is binge-watching Netflix or other entertainment platforms. The desire to watch one more episode never ends and keeps you out of productivity.
But you can surely dodge cheap dopamine and get back into the life race. All you need to do is ditch doing certain things such as entertainment, social media, and more. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
How to Control Cheap Dopamine and Develop Good Productive Habits?
Cheap dopamine can be controlled and driven towards good dopamine to build productive habits and wellness. However, one needs to ditch their desires, such as entertainment, gaming, smartphones, and digital strains. Also, you need to adopt new things in your life. Such as meditation, fitness, nature walks, and more, to get dopamine in control.
Let’s discuss a few below.
1. Ditch Your Smartphone
One of the first few things to do in building a wall against cheap dopamine is ditching your smartphone. A lot has changed in the past couple of years with smartphones; everything you need, want to do, or stay entertained, you can find it on the handy device.
But what’s troublesome is spending mindless hours scrolling unwanted apps. If you see unproductive people in their free time, you will always find them glued to their smartphones, doing nothing but switching apps. No doubt that smartphones and all the apps are time-saving tools but only when used to extract meaningful outputs rather than doing nothing.
The pleasure of doing nothing only develops cheap dopamine in your mind and keeps you away from productive work. Once you develop the addiction, you will start feeling smaller tasks to be bigger boulders.
One of the best things that you can do to your smartphone is to install a parental control app such as Bark or Qustodio and restrict its use for limited communication and work over mindless switching apps.
2. Limit Social Media
Let’s accept it; we have all spent hours together on social media platforms, scrolling images, short videos, daily updates, and much more. The moment you hold your smartphone and open social media, you likely won’t leave it till the battery dies.
At the same time, if you try spending a few hours doing productive work such as taking notes, learning new tools, doing your university work, or just doing smaller tasks such as lawn mowing or gardening, you find it difficult.
This is a clear sign that you have been addicted to billion-dollar algorithms, and cheap dopamine is all over your head.
Social media developers spend billions of dollars on creating algorithms that can show you posts that hook you up to their platform. So, if you search for a chocolate bar, you will end up watching all the chocolate bar posts for hours together.
Limiting social media can save you hours together of time for productive work. One of the first few things I did was to go inactive on social media and turn off notifications for all the platforms. Also, I kept my smartphone away from me, so I could focus on my work, such as writing this valuable article. The result was 10x the productivity as I saved almost half my day from social media.
3. Digital Entertainment? Say, What’s That?
Netflix and chill? Well, no more.
Cheap dopamine is one of the strongest when it comes to digital entertainment, such as playing video games, watching movies, tv shows, and YouTube videos. The desire to play one more game, watch one more movie or tv show episode, or unattentively watch a couple of more YouTube videos, never end.
Watching movies or digital entertainment is not wrong or should be given up, but if you can control it, you can increase your productive hours. Start with creating a schedule or playlist to watch for a weekend, and that’s the only time you are doing it.
Once you start limiting such excessive hours, you can also give your body a good sleep and be well-rested for a new day.
If you initially find it hard to escape yourself from binge-watching and gaming, try to keep yourself at a distance from it. Platforms like Netflix allow you to set up parental controls and limit timely watch. You can also do it with YouTube to save that unnecessary extra watching.
If there are educational or work videos to watch, you can download them for offline watching and disconnect the internet. This way, you will only watch what’s important and control your dopamine levels.
4. Introduce Timely Sleeping
Most young heads have cultivated the habit of staying up late at night. Of course, for their personal or professional reasons. But timely sleeping is one of the important factors in getting rid of cheap dopamine.
Often, we don’t feel like sleeping at night, and this is where we do things to kill time and do cheap dopamine. Watching movies, playing games, and ludicrous social media boggling are a few of the sins we end up doing.
Start practicing to sleep early, and the first thing to help you in this is not using a smartphone or digital device a couple of hours before sleep. We are always occupied doing nothing on our smartphone, so our mind thinks we are doing something even when we want to sleep.
Try keeping your workloads for early mornings than tiring nights. In my experience, when you skip a night of good sleep, you end up wasting the next two days. Use alarm clocks rather than phone alarms, or use a smartwatch alarm to wake you up timely. Once you are up, a meditation session should help you bring more clarity to your day.
5. Say Hello to Meditation
Meditation is the best way to start your day with more clarity and firmness. If you are a beginner, it is natural to find it difficult to avoid thoughts with your eyes closed. But at the start, you don’t really have to do such professional stunts.
As per the experts, when you are a beginner in meditation, start with resting your eyes and sitting ideally. You will have several thoughts about your personal life, professional work and drama, life thoughts, and more. However, once you learn how to sit ideal with your eyes closed, it becomes easier for you to dodge all the thoughts and stay in an empty state of mind. It is something I have experienced in the initial stages of meditation.
If you are having trouble, you can use meditation apps on your phone to make it easier with guided instructions and calm music.
Meditation helps you control the cheap dopamine and broadens your mind space to accumulate work and other productive activities. Once you start meditating, you will often find it easy to make better decisions in your personal and professional life and realize how much time is wasted with cheap dopamine, and eventually avoid it.
On the contrary, you may object that more dopamine is released when you meditate. But the best part is this dopamine is a good one and helps you build better habits than irrational addictions.
6. Bring Fitness into your Life
Fitness is a great way to work on your health and wellness, and it helps you indirectly avoid cheap dopamine. When you introduce fitness in your life, you are working on your muscles, and your body is energized rather than staying lazy. Often lazy people find it hard to avoid cheap dopamine, while it is not that tough for energetic ones, as they easily switch.
For instance, if you have been addicted to eating a lot of chocolates or watching a lot of fantasy movies, you can easily have control over it with regular fitness. Exercising does release dopamine in your body, but that’s the good dopamine to encourage more fitness goals rather than mindless addictions such as lazing around your room. Our ultimate goal is to bring more productivity into our life which can only be done by eliminating cheap dopamine.
You can also play sports or do athletic or gymnastic activities. All the blood flow in our body helps us to focus better while doing things with good dopamine.
7. Say no to Repetitions
Most often, a firm “No” call is enough to stop cheap dopamine. Though it is easy to say and hard to act upon, this is still one of the best solutions to dodge cheap dopamine.
If you desire to eat another chocolate bar or watch one more episode on Netflix, but you know the consequences and want to avoid it, just firmly decide a “No” call, despite all the wanting or cravings. Initially, you will find it a little hard, but once you develop the firmness and decision calls, it will be much easier for you to resist cheap dopamine.
Keep enchanting in yourself a “No” call to stop the desire, and your mind will start accepting it. You can also divert your thoughts by doing other interactive tasks that ask for your complete involvement.
8. Books Over Digital Media
Books are by far the best compliance to your mind, a companion to have in every stage of your life. Most successful people rely on reading books that can help them broaden their thought process and overall avoid the cheap dopamine. For book enthusiasts, reading in itself is dopamine (good dopamine) that helps you learn and develop more.
Also, what kind of books you read creates a huge difference in how you shape your thought process. If you are spending hours together reading comics, fictional novels, or fantasy heroes, you cannot find much development; those are for entertainment.
Try reading books that can help you learn a new thing, develop a new habit, or overall creates a positive impact on your life. While your mind is busy educating itself, there is not much time for cheap dopamine in the first place.
Moreover, prefer reading paperback or hardcover over digital editions. Undoubtedly, cheap dopamine makes us fool to switch to other apps or scroll social feeds.
In my opinion, paperbacks and hardcovers are a good option. Currently, I am reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Dream with your Eyes Open: An Entrepreneurial Journey by Ronnie Screwvala.
Which is the current book you are reading, and do you recommend it? Let me know in the comment section.
Is Dopamine Bad Overall?
Dopamine is not completely a negative aspect of your mind; there are both benefits and disadvantages that dictate how you do things. Good dopamine is helpful when you want to learn and pay attention, do good things repeatedly, and even in lactations.
One of the biggest advantages of good dopamine is building good habits. So, if you have completed your goal, the dopamine wants you to complete another one, and the desire to complete keeps on going leading to building great habits. Likewise, you can work on different things such as fitness, new courses, reading books, and even spending more time with your family. The only requirement is to drive dopamine on the good side over the cheap one.
Cheap dopamine also distracts you from productivity, mind and body wellness, and overall health. At the same time, good dopamine helps you increase your overall health and wellness, nurturing a healthy and valuable lifestyle.
Wrapping up: Dodge Cheap Dopamine, It’s Time for Productive You
One of the first few things I recommend everyone to do is start by calling it a “No” to all your repetitive desires and wantings. If you are craving something, you can manipulate the desire by rewarding it in a small amount once you complete your work. This is something that helps you create positive and good dopamine, and next time, you will want to complete all your work before you reward yourself.
Above listed ways have helped me tackle my cheap dopamine issue, and I am pretty sure it will help you too. All we need is consistency, and we are back on a positive lifestyle with good dopamine.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments on how you tackle cheap dopamine. Also, do share this article, embed it in your blogs, and share it with more people to help them switch to a new happy, well, and healthy lifestyle.