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  • You probably don't have a problem playing video games or browsing social media on your phone.

  • In fact I have no doubt you could sit in front of a screen and do both of those activities

  • for 2 hours, or even longer without breaking your concentration.

  • But what about half an hour of studying?

  • Oof.

  • That might be too hard.

  • How about working on your side business for another hour?

  • Hmm.

  • Doesn't sound too appealing.

  • Even though you logically know that studying, exercising, building a business or something

  • equally productive, will bring you more benefits in the long run, you still prefer watching

  • TV, playing video games and scrolling through social media.

  • One might argue that it's obvious why.

  • One activity is easy and doesn't require much effort, while the other activity is difficult

  • and it requires you to apply yourself.

  • But some people seem to have no problem studying, exercising, or working on their side projects, regularly.

  • Which begs the question: Why are some people more motivated to tackle difficult things?

  • And is there a way to make doing difficult things, easy?

  • To answer this question, we need to look at this brain neurotransmitter: Dopamine.

  • Dopamine is often considered a pleasure molecule.

  • But that's not quite what it does.

  • Dopamine is what makes us desire things.

  • And it's that desire that gives us the motivation to get up and do stuff.

  • If you're not sure how powerful dopamine is, let me introduce you to a few experiments

  • neuroscientists did on rats.

  • The researchers implanted electrodes in the brains of rats.

  • Whenever the rat pulled a lever, the researchers stimulated the rat's reward system in the brain.

  • The result was that the rats developed a craving so strong they kept pulling the lever, over

  • and over for hours.

  • The rats would refuse to eat or even sleep.

  • They would just keep pressing the lever until they would drop from exhaustion.

  • But then the process was reversed.

  • The researchers blocked the release of dopamine in the brain's reward center.

  • As a result, rats became so lethargic that even getting up to get a drink of water was

  • not worth the effort.

  • They wouldn't eat.

  • They didn't want to mate.

  • They didn't crave anything at all.

  • You could say that the rats lost all will to live.

  • However, if food was placed directly in their mouths, the rats would still eat and enjoy

  • the food.

  • They just didn't have the motivation to get up and do it themselves.

  • You would think that it's thirst or hunger that motivates us to get food or water.

  • But there's also dopamine that plays a key role here.

  • Those rat experiments might be extreme cases.

  • But you can see similar effects dopamine has in humans and in our daily lives.

  • In fact, your brain develops priorities in large part based on how much dopamine it's

  • expecting to get.

  • If an activity releases too little dopamine, you won't have much motivation to do it.

  • But if an activity releases a lot of dopamine, you'll be motivated to repeat it, over and over.

  • So which behaviors release dopamine?

  • Any activity where you anticipate there's a potential reward, releases it.

  • But if you know there are no immediate rewards with the behavior, your brain won't release it.

  • For example, before you eat comfort food, your brain releases dopamine, because you

  • anticipate that the food will make you feel good.

  • Even if it actually makes you feel worse.

  • That's because your brain doesn't even care if the high dopamine activity is damaging

  • to you.

  • It just wants more of it.

  • A stereotypical example would be someone who's a drug addict.

  • He knows that what he's doing is not good for him.

  • But all he wants is to get more of that drug.

  • Besides getting you high, cocaine and heroin release unnatural amounts of dopamine, which

  • in turn makes you crave them even more.

  • Of course it has to be noted that nearly everything releases some amount of dopamine.

  • Even drinking water when you're thirsty, does.

  • But the highest dopamine release happens when you get a reward randomly.

  • One such example is playing on a slot machine in a casino.

  • Even if you've only been losing money until that point, you eventually expect to get a

  • bigger reward.

  • You just don't know when it could happen. And in today's digital society, we are flooding

  • our brains with unnaturally high amounts of dopamine on a daily basis, even if we don't

  • know it.

  • Some examples of high dopamine behaviors include: scrolling through social media websites, playing

  • video games, watching internet pornography, etc.

  • We anticipate some sort of reward with each one of those behaviors.

  • That's why we're constantly checking our phones.

  • We expect to see a text message or some other notification.

  • And we know that eventually we're going to receive it.

  • We're becoming like those rats pulling the lever, tying to get a new dopamine hit.

  • And you might think, "Oh so what?"

  • "It's not like it's harming me in any way."

  • But you'd be wrong.

  • Our bodies have a biological system called homeostasis.

  • It means that our body likes to keep internal physical and chemical conditions at a balanced level.

  • Whenever an imbalance occurs, our body adapts to it.

  • Let me give you an example: When it's cold outside, our body temperature falls.

  • And as a result, we start shivering to generate heat and warm the body.

  • However when it's hot outside, our body temperature rises.

  • And we start sweating to lose some of that heat.

  • Essentially our body is looking to maintain a temperature of around 37 degrees Celsius

  • or 98 degrees Fehrenheit, no matter what.

  • But there is another way homeostasis manifests itself.

  • And that is through tolerance.

  • For example, someone who rarely drinks alcohol, will get drunk really fast.

  • But someone who drinks on a regular basis, will have to drink more alcohol, because their

  • body has developed a tolerance to it.

  • Essentially it takes more and more alcohol to make them drunk, because they've become

  • less sensitive to its effects.

  • And it's not much different with dopamine.

  • Your body tries to maintain homeostasis, so it down-regulates your dopamine receptors.

  • Essentially your brain gets used to having high levels of dopamine and those levels become

  • your new normal.

  • Thus you develop a dopamine tolerance.

  • This can be a huge problem, because the things that don't give you as much dopamine, don't

  • interest you any longer.

  • And it's much more difficult to motivate yourself to do them.

  • They feel boring and less fun, because they don't release as much dopamine, compared to

  • the things that do release it in high amounts.

  • That's why people tend to prefer playing video games or browsing the internet, compared to

  • studying or working on their business.

  • Video games make us feel good and comfortable, as they release a lot of dopamine.

  • Sadly things like working hard or reading, releases it in lower amounts.

  • This is one of the reasons why drug addicts who try to quit, have a hard time adjusting to

  • a normal life.

  • Their dopamine tolerance gets so high that normal life isn't able to match it.

  • They become like those rats from previous experiments who have no motivation to do anything

  • if there's not enough dopamine release.

  • And it's not just drug addicts.

  • People who are addicted to video games, social media or internet pornography experience the

  • same thing.

  • Once their dopamine tolerance gets too high, they simply aren't able to enjoy low dopamine

  • behaviors.

  • Which begs the question: Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?

  • The answer is you need to perform a dopamine detox.

  • By now might already have an idea what dopamine detox is going to look like.

  • What you're going to do is set aside a day, where you're going to avoid all the highly

  • stimulating activities.

  • You're going to stop flooding your brain with high amounts of dopamine and you're going

  • to let your dopamine receptors recover.

  • Just a disclaimer: If you're suffering from a drug addiction, then I suggest you seek

  • professional help, as you've probably formed a physiological and psychological dependence.

  • And I don't want you to experience any extreme withdrawal symptoms.

  • Now back to the detox.

  • For 1 whole day you will try to have as little fun as possible.

  • You won't be using the internet, or any technology like your phone or computer.

  • You're not allowed to listen to music, you're not allowed to masturbate or eat any junk food.

  • Basically you're going to remove all sources of external pleasure for the entire day.

  • You're going to embrace boredom.

  • And trust me, there will be a lot of boredom.

  • You are however allowed to do the following: Go for a walk.

  • Meditate and be alone with your thoughts.

  • Reflect on your life and goals.

  • Write down any ideas you get.

  • Not on your computer or phone, but on a physical piece of paper.

  • All of this might seem quite intense.

  • But if you want radical results and you want them fast, you need to be able to take radical action.

  • Now you might be asking yourself: Why would this even work?

  • You can think of it this way.

  • Let's say that you've been eating every single meal at the best restaurant in your town.

  • As a result, what happened is that those fancy meals became your new normal.

  • If someone offered you a bowl of plain rice, you would probably refuse.

  • It simply wouldn't taste as good as your usual restaurant meal.

  • But if you suddenly find yourself stranded on a deserted island and you're starving,

  • suddenly that bowl of plain rice doesn't seem so bad.

  • And that is what the dopamine detox does.

  • It starves you of all the pleasure you usually get, and in turn, it makes those less satisfying

  • activities more desirable.

  • To put it simply: Dopamine detox works because you become so bored, that boring stuff becomes

  • more fun.

  • Now if you don't want to take such extreme action and starve yourself of all the pleasure,

  • you can perform a smaller dopamine detox.

  • You're going to pick one day of the week, where you're going to refrain from one of

  • your high dopamine behaviors completely.

  • Whatever that behavior might be.

  • Maybe checking your phone all the time, playing video games on your computer, binge watching

  • TV, eating junk food, watching internet pornography, whatever.

  • And from now on, every single week for one whole day, you're going to avoid that activity.

  • You can still do other things, but the behavior you pick is off limits.

  • Yes, you will feel slightly bored, but that's the point.

  • You want to let your dopamine receptors recover from the unnaturally high dopamine that's

  • been flooding your brain.

  • And boredom is going to propel you to do other things that day.

  • Things that you would normally put off, because they don't release as much dopamine.

  • And because you're bored, it's easier for you to do them.

  • Of course avoiding high dopamine behavior once in a while is good.

  • But ideally you should avoid those behaviors altogether, or at least as much as possible.

  • Instead you want to connect more dopamine to the things that will actually benefit you.

  • And what I found is that your current high dopamine activities, can serve as an incentive

  • to pursue things, that actually give you those long term benefits.

  • In other words, you could use your high dopamine activity, as a reward for completing difficult work.

  • And this is exactly what I do myself.

  • I track all the difficult, low dopamine work I do.

  • Cleaning my apartment, practicing the piano, reading books, doing some sort of exercise,

  • creating these videos, etc.

  • After I'm able to get a certain amount of work done, I reward myself with some amount

  • of high dopamine activity at the end of the day.

  • The key words here are: after, and, at the end of the day.

  • If I indulge in high dopamine behavior first, then I'm not going to feel like doing the

  • low dopamine work.

  • I'm simply not going to be motivated enough.

  • So I always start with the difficult things, only then I allow myself to indulge in high

  • dopamine activities.

  • To give you an example: For every completed hour of low dopamine work, I reward myself

  • with 15 minutes of high dopamine behavior at the end of the day.

  • That means that for 8 hours of low dopamine, I allow myself roughly 2 hours of high dopamine

  • behavior.

  • Of course, these are my ratios.

  • You can tweak them to your liking.

  • Also it has to be noted that if you're addicted to something that's damaging to your health,

  • then you don't want to treat that behavior as a reward.

  • Instead find a different reward, that's not as damaging.

  • One that you still think is worth the effort.

  • And if you're wondering what my guilty pleasure is, it's the Internet.

  • I can easily get lost there for hours without doing anything else.

  • That's why I have this system.

  • It's so I'm able to control my addiction.

  • But make no mistake, even with this system, I still plan days where I abstain from high

  • dopamine activities completely.

  • To conclude this video I want to say that it is possible to make doing difficult things,

  • feel easier.

  • But when your brain is getting so much dopamine all the time, you won't be as excited about

  • working on something that doesn't release much of it.

  • That's why you might want to limit your phone and computer usage, along with other high

  • dopamine releasing behavior.

  • And I can tell you that it's definitely worth it.

  • So if you have motivation problems, start dopamine detoxing your brain as soon as possible.

  • Separate yourself from the unnaturally high amounts of dopamine, or at least expose yourself

  • to it far less frequently.

  • Only then will normal, every day, low dopamine activities, become exciting again and you'll

  • be able to do them for longer.

  • We are all dopamine addicts to a certain extent.

  • And that's a good thing, because dopamine motivates us to achieve our goals and improve

  • ourselves.

  • But it's up to you to decide where you're going to get your dopamine from.

  • Are you going to get it from things that don't benefit you?

  • Or are you going to get it from working on your long term goals?

  • The choice is yours.

  • If you enjoyed this video, I would really appreciate if you would gently tap the like button.

  • It helps out my channel a lot, as the almighty Youtube algorithm sees that people like these

  • kinds of videos and it shows my content to a bigger crowd.

  • This allows more people to start improving their lives.

  • As always, thanks for watching, and I hope this video made you better than yesterday.

You probably don't have a problem playing video games or browsing social media on your phone.

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How I Tricked My Brain To Like Doing Hard Things (dopamine detox)

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    jeremy.wang   に公開 2020 年 03 月 30 日
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