Digital dopamine-seeking

Digital dopamine-seeking

My nervous system is in a civil war over my actions. The dopamine-seeking side keeps winning.

Dopamine itself is crucial: it's a neurotransmitter driving you to achieve external goals. The bad part is being driven to the easiest, least meaningful ones.

I try not to feed the enemy. Soft-blocking addictive websites and subsections like recommendations helps. But it doesn't end the war.

The worst part is that being impulsive online makes you impulsive offline. When eating, you'll also tend to seek instant gratification over nuanced experiences. Same goes for relationships and many other experiences.

That's why digital dopamine is especially dangerous. If you have a healthy diet that's working well, it's pretty easy to stay on track: just avoid buying the foods you don't want to eat.

But bad digital habits are just a tap away. Unless you obliterate your accounts, reinstalling an app -- which takes 20 seconds -- is enough to get roped back in.

I can offer no decisive victory. Blocking and reducing is the best I've been able to do If you have something that works, other than quitting everything cold turkey, I would love to try that.