I Tried Dopamine Fasting, and It Helped Me Appreciate the Present


On a normal day, my brain moves fast. Amid a pandemic, it’s traveling at warp speed. I told my mentor I was having dreams at night that zipped through my brain as if they were a video cassette fast-forwarding, a nonstop time-lapse show of images and emotions cherry-picked from my daily life. When she pointed out that I just don’t stop moving, that I’m constantly obsessing over my productivity and the next writing assignment I can snag, I realized it was possible that my mental health was taking a hit from my constant need to be go, go, go.

Back in March, I retreated to my mother’s house for a few days for a family funeral, only to find myself there indefinitely to ride out the coronavirus pandemic that had become widespread in my Boston neighborhood. Constantly inundated with tragic headlines and immersed in social media, I began to feel the weight of fear and anxiety over the pandemic tugging at my shoulders. Recognizing that I needed to purge my brain of the static that was affecting my well-being, I resolved to hit the ultimate reset button: a dopamine fast.

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