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Overstimulation is eating our brains!

Have you ever felt like not doing a task, not able to gather enough motivation despite it being the most important one at that moment?


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Shivam Bhasin

4 months ago | 4 min read
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Have you ever felt like not doing a task, not able to gather enough motivation despite it being the most important one at that moment?

Why aren’t we motivated enough to do activities that would significantly improve our lives? Why do we keep procrastinating over certain things while enjoy wasting hours in some?

Hey Visitor! I’ll be answering all these questions and tell you how you can find the motivation to like doing hard things. But first, let’s understand a bit more about our brain.

Human Brain

The reason we want to go on Facebook or check our Instagram or see notifications or play a game, the motivation behind doing any of this stuff is given by a brain chemical called Dopamine.

If you are into self-improvement, you probably already know about it. But it’s often misunderstood. Some people know it as a feel-good chemical. They think it’s released when we experience pleasure, which is absolutely wrong.

Dopamine is actually the motivation chemical. It is released when you’re about to do an activity that has a reward. When we get a notification on our phone, we get a dopamine hit which motivates us to check our phone.

When we find a certain activity pleasurable, our brain associates it with the amount of dopamine it releases. Next time when we are around it, our brain remembers and knows about the pleasure it will give us. It releases dopamine which then motivates us to do that activity again.

Excessive stimuli around us

Today, with all technological advancements, everything around us is made as pleasurable as it can be. Be it the food industries or social media. Millions and billions are spent to figure out the right taste or the right crisp in your food, to make scrolling through posts pleasurable and easy to use.

I heard in The Social Dilemma(Movie on Netflix), that millions were spent over the swipe to refresh feature because it creates a motivation for users that they might get new posts.

We are surrounded by dopamine hits everywhere. And we’re getting them in abundance now. From playing video games, to scrolling social media, to eating the best-engineered junk food, we are filled with highly pleasurable activities today. Because of this brains of people, today have a very high Dopamine threshold.

The more we find the activity pleasurable, the more dopamine is released and the more likely we are to do it. If for a certain activity, dopamine released didn’t match our Dopamine Threshold, then we’re extremely unlikely to do it. This is where the problem starts.

We know what to do but still can’t

People today find high dopamine activities everywhere and it’s hard to rely on willpower every time to resist them, how much they try. Resulting in brains with extremely high dopamine thresholds.

Due to this, we just don’t have the motivation to do things that really matters for our growth. Even when we know, what is to be done and how much important it is for our lives, we just don’t have the motivation to do it. Because it is not satisfying our levels of dopamine. We’ll spend hours thinking about it, procrastinating, but not actually doing it.

Our brain is a chemical factory. It works according to the chemicals it gets and not on practicality. It doesn’t care about an assignment’s last date or a project’s deadline or an exam tomorrow.

These are all low dopamine-associated activities and our brains, which have overly stimulated surroundings, won’t be able to satisfy their needs from these. And hence we find it extremely difficult to focus and concentrate on these.

This is why people associated with drugs find it very difficult to do anything in their life. They just lack the motivation to do it. Drugs release a huge amount of dopamine and fill our brains with it. If you’ll ask a smoker he’ll tell you that he gets more excited before smoking than actually smoking.

Remember when I said Dopamine is a motivational chemical. It motivates us to smoke and that’s why we find ourselves smoking. But when we actually smoke, it’s not much pleasurable, IKR.

Save me from it, please

This is primarily the reason why most people in their teens today are generally depressed. Because they’ve filled their brains with so high levels of dopamine that it’s hard for them to find something new which can be pleasurable enough.

Our brain has gradually developed these high levels of dopamine and hence it’s impossible to reduce it in a single day. It’s a time taking process and starting it is the first step.

Before starting to lower your dopamine levels, understand that every task releases dopamine, even studying does. It’s just that the dopamine released by studying won’t satisfy our needs. We just have to figure out a way to get our needs down.

The best way to get our needs down is by getting bored. Yes, it’s true. The more you get bored, the more dopamine levels will drop.

I’ve figured out a few things which we can do to lower our dopamine thresholds. I’ve been using these for the past few months and have seen some positive results. I’ll also try to keep this list updated.

  • Remove all the social media apps from your phone and start using them from your browser. The UX is so bad that you’ll eventually give up on it.
  • Don’t involve in any activity which is for a short time but produces high dopamine, like watching Instagram reels or playing video games.
  • Limit your gaming time. Start setting reminders to stop it after a period of time. Remember when the time’s up, your brain won’t let you close the game so easily, but that’s the whole point, right.
  • Don’t get carried away by dopamine. Every time you’re about to do something. Ask yourself whether it’s something you actually would like to spend time on or is it just dopamine that’s driving you.
  • Associate your dopamine with good and healthy activities like reading a book or connecting with friends and family or hitting the gym. Once your brain starts getting its only dopamine dose of the day from these, you’ll start to get motivated to get it.
  • Get as much bored as you can get. Remember that getting bored is the main thing to do for getting your dopamine levels lower.

I hope you got some value from this piece. Would love to hear your feedback in the comments. Don’t forget to give me my piece of dopamine through claps, JK.

Until next time, VISITOR!

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Shivam Bhasin

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Engineer | Learner | Writer

Simplifying things since childhood. Writes about JavaScript, application development, and self-help.


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