One thing we keep hearing about in our culture, and especially something I keep reading about in the blogs I follow is a crazy little thing called dopamine.
Dopamine is a particularly nasty substance in the brain that processes the brain’s reward system.
Without sounding too complicated, if your brain produces too much dopamine, it can trick you into thinking you are productive when you really are not.
Too much dopamine can manipulate everything about how your brain processes how it is rewarded. And even worse, it can “stack.”
How does it stack? Crazy little thing called curiosity, that’s what.
Remember that curiosity is an emotion, and emotions are one of the most addictive chemicals on the planet.
The crazy part about dopamine is that it is all around us. We are surrounded by it, and things that spike it are advertised to us constantly.
An article that I read recently was about something called the “dopamine deload day.” This is a day where you take all the stuff that produces dopamine in the brain and do not do them for an entire day.
While the dopamine deload day is a very good idea, I propose the exact opposite; a dopamine overload day.
Sometimes, if we are around the thing that we are drawn to for too long, we’ll get sick of it.
This happened to me when I was taking antidepressants. One day, I decided be really unproductive, double dose on my antidepressants, and just hate living for one day.
I got a seizure, felt like I was dying, and would throw the pills into the ocean weeks later.
So sometimes you need to “learn to dislike” what you think you like so much.
In the case of dopamine, this will involve a lot of things that you already do. The only difference is that you are not going to just be doing these things regularly, they are all you will do for an entire day.
Revisiting Prison: What a dopamine overload day entails (WARNING: DOING EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND POTENTIALLY LETHAL. IT IS MEANT TO PROVE A POINT ONLY.)
The dopamine overload day is the diametric opposite of the dopamine deload day. But it isn’t that simple. Like I mentioned before, there are numerous forms of activities that set off dopamine levels.
No, you are not going to choose just one and do it all day. You’ll need to juggle between the most significant ones, according to my experience. These are the following:
–Messing with people on the internet (across all platforms; social media, youtube, message boards, the whole nine)
-Going down “rabbit holes” on the internet
You will be doing something involving one of these four things at some point during the day. At no point will you not be on the internet.
This entire day will be spent at your home. Here is how that day will be spent.
If you need to work, you will call in sick. You are going to start this day off doing something that you are not supposed to do.
Do not change your clothes and do not bathe. Do not even brush your teeth or do your hair. No hygiene is allowed.
Go on your PC or whatever device you connect to the internet, and go into your social media. You will on social media all day so if you are using a PC keep tabs open.
You are to start being toxic to people on social media (or any other platform) as soon as possible. Be a total collectivist if necessary. Be a troll if necessary. Today you are not going to live by your values or principles but your emotions and your beliefs.
Your goal for today is to stir up as much e-drama as possible. Start at least one “argument” with someone online per hour. If an hour goes by and you haven’t done this, you must drop everything you are doing and do this.
In between starting arguments with people online, you are to do one of two things.
If you play video games, play video games. Playing them online is preferred, but if you have to play them offline that is fine.
If you do not play video games, you are to go down rabbit holes on the internet. And I’m not talking about going to blogs that will help you live better and reading all their articles. No. You will be going down rabbit holes involving “entertaining” subjects or figures.
Don’t know what rabbit hole to go down? Google a person named “Chris Chan.” That should give you a start.
Every hour, you are to eat the richest, least healthy food available. Make sure these foods have tons of processed sugar and carbohydrates in them. Do not cook anything; the only thing you can use is a microwave to heat things.
You are not allowed any fluid that doesn’t have sugar either. Preferably, you’ll drink alcohol. Do not drink any water, fruit juice, milk, or anything that is even remotely healthy.
You will also smoke at least one pack of Marlboro red cigarettes, preferably the long “100s” type. This is what they look like:
You’ll be taking as many “harmless” drugs as possible too. Headache medicine, cold remedies, tylenol, advil, all of it.
Another thing you will be consuming in copious amounts is caffeine. If you drink coffee, you must drink at least 16 fluid ounces of it with every meal, with at least 10 packets of sugar in each cup. If you are drinking alcohol, you must combine it with some form of soda.
If people contact you to do something with them, you are to tell them that you are busy. You will not spend time with anybody today.
No physical activity is allowed either. No walks, no lifting weights, no bodyweight exercises.
The entire day (and yes, this day will be exactly 24 hours long or until you fall asleep) will be spent in the house. If you do leave the house, it will be to get food, alcohol, or cigarettes.
You are to masturbate six times total: Three of these will be to pornography. Each pornographic scene you watch should contain progressively more “questionable” or “intense” content (but stick to porn that is legal in your country or state).
The other three will be to other stuff on the internet: Instagram models, people you see on your online dating sites or apps who you want to have sex with, or even people on your facebook feed who you want to have sex with.
That is what the dopamine overload day is. It is just as difficult to do as the dopamine deload day, and if you start it, you might not survive. Unless…
You already do this.
Allow me to take you back to the worst year in my life, 2011. Feeling an acute amount of anxiety because of my impending 10 year high school reunion that was coming up, I self destructed.
While I didn’t do everything on that list, I was certainly doing the worst stuff. I was leaping down rabbit holes on the internet, starting arguments with people online about the dumbest things, masturbating at least three times a day, and played probably at least 5 hours of video games per day.
With the gaming, I “qualified” it by filming what are called “Let’s Play” videos on youtube. I also reviewed wrestling shows, and while this was all very fun, none of it was meaningful and none of it had a purpose.
Most of my diet consisted of hot dogs at my job that I could write off into our spoilage account for being on the grill too long. If it wasn’t those, I would eat day old sandwiches that also went on the spoilage account. Or I would order a pizza. Or I would get fast food.
Although I would still go out and do stuff like work and bowl, I was not doing as well as I could. Throughout 2011, I nearly flunked out of college and struggled to work part time.
This is the kind of damage that dopamine can do to your soul. While dopamine is all around us and advertised to us and impossible to be without, it is certainly possible to reduce the activities that stimulate us.
Take a look at what the dopamine overload day entails. Does it sound inviting? Sure, some of it does, but I’m sure you are turned off by at least something in it.
In the next article, I will map out exactly what I have been doing in the last year or so to manage this. Stay tuned.