I like videogames, but they have a tendency to suck me in and take up all my attention, even when I'm not playing. Does huberman have advice for engaging with such high dopaminergic activities in a healthy way?

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Engaging in high-dopaminergic activities like video games in a healthy manner is crucial for maintaining balance in your dopamine system. provides several recommendations on this topic.

  1. Understanding Dopamine Peaks and Baseline: High-dopaminergic activities, such as video games, can lead to significant dopamine spikes, causing a drop in baseline dopamine levels over time. This drop can result in diminished pleasure from other activities and overall burnout 1.

  2. Intermittent Release of Dopamine: One way to engage healthily with these activities is through intermittent reinforcement, similar to how casinos and social media maintain engagement. Avoid expecting or chasing high dopamine release every session. Varying the intensity and frequency of engagement helps in maintaining healthy dopamine levels 2 3.

    Maintaining Dopamine Levels

    Andrew explains how engaging in activities that spike dopamine levels can lead to a drop in baseline levels, causing a lack of pleasure in everyday activities. He suggests taking a break from these activities to replenish the releasable pool of dopamine and maintain a healthy baseline. He also shares an example of a friend who fasted from phone, video games, and social media for 30 days to replenish his dopamine levels and improve his mood and concentration.

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    Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction | Huberman Lab Podcast #39
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  3. Dopamine Fasting: Taking breaks or fasting from high-dopaminergic activities can help reset your dopamine system. A 30-day complete break from such activities, though challenging, can significantly improve focus, mood, and overall well-being. This approach helps replenish the releasable pool of dopamine, allowing for a healthier engagement with these activities once resumed 1 4 5.

  4. Limitations and Context Setting: Implementing constraints around the time and context in which you engage in these activities can help manage their impact. For instance, only playing video games at specific times or places can prevent overindulgence and maintain a balanced dopamine system 5.

  5. Mindful Engagement: Be mindful of the dopamine release associated with various activities and avoid combining too many dopamine-enhancing behaviors at once. For example, if you enjoy gaming, try not to combine it with other high-stimulation activities that also spike dopamine levels, such as social media, to prevent the cumulative effect on your baseline 3.

By following these strategies, you can continue to enjoy high-dopaminergic activities like video games while maintaining a healthy balance in your dopamine system.

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What are other healthy engagement strategies?

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provides several additional strategies for engaging in high-dopaminergic activities, such as video games, in a healthy way:

  1. Intermittent Dopamine Release: Similar to how casinos and social media manage engagement, applying intermittent reinforcement schedules to your activities can help. This means not expecting or chasing high dopamine levels every time you engage in an activity. Such variability can maintain your dopamine system's health without significant drops in baseline dopamine 1.

  2. Randomizing Engagement: Vary the conditions under which you indulge in dopaminergic activities. For example, sometimes play video games with the full setup—favorite snacks, optimal environment, etc.—and other times, simplify the context. This randomness prevents the need for high stimulation every time and helps keep dopamine levels balanced 2.

  3. Awareness and Moderation of Peaks: Be mindful of activities that create massive dopamine spikes. Avoid stacking multiple high-dopamine activities simultaneously, like combining video gaming with social media scrolling or energy drinks. Layering these can lead to higher dopamine peaks and subsequent deeper troughs 2.

  4. Frequent Breaks: Engage in breaks from activities that produce high dopamine to let your system replenish. This can involve a complete 30-day fast from such activities, though even just incorporating regular breaks can be beneficial. This practice helps restore baseline dopamine levels, preventing long-term drops 3 4.

    Achieving Dopamine Peaks

    Andrew explains how to achieve dopamine peaks without dropping our baseline by engaging in activities that evoke dopamine through intermittent release. He discusses the importance of intermittent reward schedules and how they are central to keeping us motivated and pursuing pleasurable activities.

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    Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction | Huberman Lab Podcast #39
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  5. Fundamental Health Practices: Maintain baseline dopamine levels through daily foundational activities:

    • Sleep: Ensure sufficient and regular sleep.
    • Morning Sunlight: Expose yourself to morning sunlight to trigger dopamine-related cascades.
    • Exercise: Regular physical activity, including both cardiovascular and resistance training, helps maintain elevated baseline dopamine levels 5.
  6. Handling Post-Dopamine Troughs: After a big dopamine spike (such as a thrilling gaming session), patience is key. Allowing time for your system to naturally replenish dopamine levels is crucial. Understanding that dips in mood and motivation post-peak are temporary can prevent excessive re-seeking of the same high-dopamine activities 6.

By incorporating these strategies, you can continue enjoying high-dopaminergic activities while maintaining a balanced and healthy dopamine system.

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