Upon rising I felt the pains of grog (grogginess) sweeping over me. Remembering my decision, “no synthetic stimuli”. A wave of negative emotions accompanied by their inseparable counterpart, thoughts, pored into me.
“What am I going to do all day… It’s only 6:00 am and I’m already bored.
It’s cold and rainy, how nice would a movie in bed be. Ugh, this is going to be difficult”.
It was with that last thought that I realized the importance of my goal. If going one day without any form of external synthetic stimuli is creating this much resistance, how do I ever hope to run a successful business or pursue any other grand idea?
A digital detox, a dopamine reset, a full day with no cellphone, no laptop, no music, no synthetic stimulus of any kind. To make it harder I was going to do it fasted. No food, no internet for 24 hours. For the last 8 years, I haven’t gone 5 minutes without my phone and swallowed up all my free time with YouTube. This was indeed going to be difficult.
Laying in bed with nothing to do, usually, I reach for my phone first thing in the morning to receive that first hit. Instead, I allowed my mind to wonder. I began to notice how it bounced all over the place. Thinking about the past, the future, food, shopping, breakfast, it even began creating a scenario that didn’t exist and I started to feel anxious. Seeing all this made me realize just how temperamental and powerful the mind is.
We have this incredible faculty, with infinite potential and yet finite focus. You can think ANYTHING but only focus on one thing. Not to mention the profound psychophysiological connection. Thoughts can produce emotions, feelings, sensations and symptoms in the body. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Emotions are the bodies reaction to the mind” and Dr Joe Dispenza says, “Thoughts are the language of the mind and emotions are the language of the body”.
I think we all innately know these things but rarely take the time to appreciate them or consciously observe them in ourselves. This is the power of the dopamine detox. The best part… it’s free! At any moment we can make the choice to step out of the world of stimulus saturation and instant gratification, into the world of true being.
Nothing is more powerful than instilled discipline. This has the potential to be a very transformative experience but with that will come the inevitable resistance. Resistance is like a compass, pointing you in the direction of the next phase of your evolution. The greater the resistance, the more important the task.
Think of your greatest goals, your aspirations, your dreams, whatever they may be, hold that image in your mind’s eye. Feel the doubt creeping in? Notice the inner resistance that generates inside you as you focus on important goals. When I do this thought experiment, I feel a wave of doubt followed by a tsunami of self-defeating thoughts. The higher the aim, the more resistance you will be met with.
All of this was running through my mind, with all my newfound free time. The initial surge of inspiration for starting a new life began to ween off, a long, almost forgotten friend came to visit, boredom. “Thoughts and creativity have become subservient to the singular goal of saturating our senses” – Neil Strauss. In the modern world, we have forgotten how to feel bored.
Being bored use to be a part of our every day lives. Bored at school, bored in the car, bored while our parents groaned about everything, bored in ques, bored at the shops. We are so stimulus-driven that we can’t even wait for the 30 second Instagram video to finish before we scrolling to find that next hit of the dopamine juice. Our phones are perfect-pocket-sized-negative-emotion-negators and are prevailing over our dopamine-dependent brains.
Consumption has consumed us. A lot of the problems we are facing globally is because of our consumption. I believe change begins on the individual level. “Be the change you want to see” – Bruce Lee. You, me, us, we are the potential and the power to provide a great change in the world, but we have to start with ourselves first. And the best place to start is with our own minds.
Unless you assume your rightful responsibility and begin to program your own mind, the world will program it for you. If every minute of every day is stuffed with stimuli, is it ever a wonder we feel more disconnected than ever.
When was the last time you did something purely for the experience with no added stimuli?
Listening to the sound of the rain, the wind upon your skin, the suns warmth on your face, feeling the earth beat beneath your naked feet? If you can’t recall or even remember a moment like this, a digital detox may just be the golden ticket you’ve been after.
Nature: There may be no WiFi but you will get a better connection.
PS: This blog, this website, this post were all inspired during a digital and dopamine detox.
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