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Gaming the System 005 - The Link Between Gaming and Depression

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Day 58 (sat):

Good effort for most things. No games. Some erotic stuff. Finally did one of the procrastinating things, went down to 22 a day. Tons of good stuff today, yet total falls still. I like the direction of things, though.

  • Habit Tracker: Good habits: 132; Procrastination: -712; Addictions: -68; Other bad habits: -20; Identity total: -668

Tomorrow: Do two more of the procrastinating list.

Edited by TTT

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Day 59 (sun):

No games still for second month. No erotic stuff. Nothing bad except going to bed slightly later than I should have.

  • Habit Tracker: Good habits: 161; Procrastination: -731; Addictions: -68; Other bad habits: -21; Identity total: -659

Did one of the two things, today (mon) to do one or two more.

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Day 60-61 (tue):

No games. Still running away from a few things though. Picked a new thing/hobby/skill and it ate my time the last two days. Needs scaling down.

I finally found a few things to be collecting money towards as well. Need to be plus a lot and instead it's a lot in the minus.

  • Habit Tracker: Good habits: 192; Procrastination: -772; Addictions: -68; Other bad habits: -21; Identity total: -669
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Day 62 (wed):

Did a controlled scan through a gaming website for about five-ten minutes at work. Boring. Came back from work and went on to another addiction.

Habit Tracker: Good habits: 192; Procrastination: -790; Addictions: -70; Other bad habits: -23; Identity total: -682

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Day 63 (thu):

Full day at work. Good before and after. Time for bed, and right on time.

  • Habit Tracker: Good habits: 213; Procrastination: -810; Addictions: -70; Other bad habits: -23; Identity total: -690
Edited by TTT
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Day 64-68 (tue):

Running still. Got a bit confusing with the tracker, but roughly there. I played about 15 minutes a visual novel before I thought about it as a game, which it was. Also, I quickly checked a game news website a couple of times. All together about 20 minutes in these five days. Not great, but other than that, no games. A lot more erotic stuff. A waste of so much energy.

An interesting thought: I've been avoiding a few things for a while now, and the counter is wrecked, but actually I've been like this for years now, for so many things. If I were to count them they would be thousands and  thousands in the minus.

What it is, though, not what it was.

Why the hell am I so reluctant to do those little things, the avoidance of which so drag me down? Learning to fear doing them is one thing, the habit of delaying them is another. Need to sort this better.

  • Habit Tracker: Good habits: 255; Procrastination: -905; Addictions: -145; Other bad habits: -26; Identity total: -821
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Yeah, it's a bit tricky isn't it? Seemingly small habits can be really difficult to implement when there are unforeseen hangups. 

I had serious problems doing my dishes in the past. I would routinely let them sit for five days, stink up the joint, and feel overwhelmed by the situation--which was the reason why I wasn't doing the dishes. Woohoo, circular logic!

At least for me, the two things that helped were discipline (Re: Jocko Willink), and lots of self-reflection and lifestyle change. I'm nowhere near perfect with this still, but I am a lot better now. One of the big things for me was realizing how terrible I felt when I had a dirty apartment, and how easy it was to start feeling better about myself by simply cleaning (and Re: Jordan Peterson, but this was before I learned of him, too). 

Also, try and take some more time to figure out what specifically is stalling you, and work to remove the barriers to that. Your problems and reasons probably won't be the exact same as mine, but another thing that will help is just making the goal easier. Sticking with the same example, I started using a dishwasher, which I was originally opposed to. It was less intensive for me, so I ended up cleaning my dishes more. 

Just some unsolicited thoughts--what you're going through just stuck a chord with me, is all.

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Thanks @DaBest, I just have to come to terms that I need to sort out another recurring addiction - Erotica/porn.

Day 78 (sat):

Lost sight ot the general idea to normalise my dopamine levels and somehow went back to just no games. So far 78 days without games, with the exception of the ~15 min of visual novel game at some point. I wasn't sure whether I'd play after the 90 day. Still not sure about long term, but now the plan is to start 90 day on nofap, during which time the nogame will continue. Found some good stuff about it on youtube - Universal Man channel. Will go for sorting out things one by one as all at once didn't work yet again. Games I consider normalised/sorted, now it's turn for sorting out sexual stimulation.

The habit tracker went to level 2: Increase the procrastination points per day to 2x from 1 September, to 38 per day.

  • Habit Tracker: Good habits: 358; Procrastination: -1233; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -39; Identity total: -1162
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Day 1 no epmo + 78 days no games (sun) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

No games has been fine, starting strict no sexual stimulation. I'm considering cutting off more stuff again, but the advice from the Universal Man channel warns against cutting everything all at once. Probably if I cut off all I can, and then start burning out, I'd be more likely to ruin the game and erotic streaks. So I'll cut/reduce most things but leave some guilty pleasures.

Except for the big two, big time wasters/dopamine pumps are movies, books, news, podcasts, learning things. Movies go for sure. Maybe one movie per week, no series or seconds, will see. Books... anything that is not the one most important book I need for my career goes (second one optional if strongly related to career, for while traveling). News - five minutes of website news daily, for headlines, plus the economist at part time work and while traveling. Podcasts only at the pt work, and will need to be moderated mainly for good work. Learning things... need to figure this one out, needs to be very constrained to work related stuff.

About the habit tracker: Level 2 was 2x increase in negative points (6pt per procrastination thing, 20 for work procrastination). From now starting to double any other negative as well. Up points stay same as originally. "Super day": +50 extra points.

To do a super day all needs to be done:

Procrastination list to be empty, on track for bed by 00:45, good breakfast, contrast shower (to coldest 30+ sec), meditation (10 minutes), exercise (park or 30 minutes, stretch, plank, rice, shadow), two+ hours of good work (for lvl 2), reflective journal, no slips on any of the limits. Need to add something more for discipline/discomfort.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 381; Procrastination: -1271; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -41; Identity total: -1179
  • Super day misses in bold: Procrastination list to be empty, on track for bed by 00:45, good breakfast, contrast shower (to coldest 30+ sec), meditation (10 minutes), exercise (park or 30 minutes, stretch, plank, rice, shadow), two+ hours of good work (for lvl 2), reflective journal, no slips on any of the limits

Edit / addon:

The new counter is for no erotic stuff of any kind, pmo as per the nofap site, games, so, no epmog. Will leave out the +78 days of no games even though it still applies. It will be 90 days for games on Thu 19 Sep. Need to keep track of the main goal, so it needs to be in the result every day. Due to the superday thing, it makes sense to post every day for a while.

Better superday definition: Empty procrastination list (current -38p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day: >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal, no slips on any of the limits (movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap)

Edited by TTT
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Day 2 no erotica/pmo/games (mon) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

How you do anything is how you do everything.

Followed some good advice and dropped duolingo. Reading the last post, duolingo actually fits very well with what I should not do. Good day, close to great. Slowly chipping at the procrastination list as well.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 405; Procrastination: -1271; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -41; Identity total: -1193
  • Super day misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -38p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day: >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal, no slips on any of the limits (movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap (duolingo, fixed))
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Reading through your journal it really is unbelievable how much you've changed your life for the better in the last 80 days. Somehow over the course of the last three months you've managed to squeeze in an insane number of positive habits into every day. You've definitely inspired me to work a lot harder! There is absolutely no reason why I can't squeeze in one or two good routines into my days when you can somehow fit everything from cold showers to duolingo to exercise and everything in between. Good for you!

Also, just ten days left, keep it up! I'm very excited for you!!

Edited by Deku

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Thanks @Deku, it's still somewhat of a moving target with some of the habits, there are misses still, but things are slowly getting better. If you need some help with new habits, Atomic Habits is really good. Just try not to get overwhelmed with new stuff, a bit at a time over long time is key.

Day 3 no erotica/pmo/games (tue) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

Spoke with my parents about what I'm trying to do, it was really good. Got a little bit of peace inside.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 434; Procrastination: -1347; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -43; Identity total: -1204
  • Super day misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -38p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day: >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal + not doing these: movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap

How you do anything is how you do everything.

Yet again. Do not trade sleep for anything else. It's a bad deal.

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11 hours ago, TTT said:

Thanks @Deku, it's still somewhat of a moving target with some of the habits, there are misses still, but things are slowly getting better. If you need some help with new habits, Atomic Habits is really good. Just try not to get overwhelmed with new stuff, a bit at a time over long time is key.

Day 3 no erotica/pmo/games (tue) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

Spoke with my parents about what I'm trying to do, it was really good. Got a little bit of peace inside.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 434; Procrastination: -1347; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -43; Identity total: -1204
  • Super day misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -38p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day: >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal + not doing these: movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap

How you do anything is how you do everything.

Yet again. Do not trade sleep for anything else. It's a bad deal.

I gotta agree with the sleep statement. One of the things that has really helped in my recovery is sleeping consistently. This is a firm foundation in life that promotes other habit changes. Like making enough time for 3-5 meals per day (size dependent), and then scheduling time for work, hobbies, and relaxation. I'd also add that you should really allow yourself to relax. Something that kills gamers in recovery is the belief that watching a movie hurts them or reading a book hurts them. In reality, we're being hyper critical of wasting time and that's creating stress. If you just quit games, allow yourself to watch TV or read if you really are tired. Yoga and stretching also helped me a lot.

Many gamers in recovery become aggressive in changing their habits. No phones, no tv, no movies, no books, nothing. I struggled in my first 3-6 months of game quitting because I took everything out of my life. But what I appreciate now is having a TV show to watch at night for an hour. I enjoy reading 3-5 hours per week. I enjoy having movie night. We used to have these nights as kids and it never made us addicted or have brain fog. The stress we put on ourselves for not relaxing sometimes is arguably worse than game addiction because of the other health detriments it creates such as poor sleep, anxiety, dietary issues, and depression. 

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Day 4 no erotica/pmo/games (wed) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

Rent-paying crap work day, like every wednesday. Wed and thu long shifts support me, the job is dull but easy and it pays not too bad. To be changed once I'm off the addictions and into an exciting career. Not sure how to approach wed/thu, as there's not enough time to do some of the things for superday anyway. Will think about it when I actually have a chance of doing one on a wed, a bit irrelevant now with the procrastination lagging behind.

Finally deleted my duolingo account, no more distractions from that.

BooksandTrees, I agree that it can be a good thing to have something like watching a show for stress relies. But right now for me I try to condition my body to not crave that, as I've had way too much. It's like a cigarette every week. Maybe it's not too bad, in general, but it's bad when you are trying to quit smoking. But you make a good point, I need to organise reliaxing time as well, instead of expecting it to happen. I'll pick something that is relaxing but doesn't interfere with my dopamine restriction goal.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 449; Procrastination: -1385; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -43; Identity total: -1227
  • Super day misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -38p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day (NA): >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal + not doing these: movies, podcasts (one), books, news, "learning" crap

How you do anything is how you do everything.

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Day 5 no erotica/pmo/games (thu) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

Working all day. Need to go to sleep quick, early morning.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 461; Procrastination: -1423; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -45; Identity total: -1255
  • Super day misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -38p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day (NA): >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal + not doing these: movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap

How you do anything is how you do everything. Anything.

Edited by TTT

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Day 6 no erotica/pmo/games (fri) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 475; Procrastination: -1441; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -45; Identity total: -1259
  • Super day misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -18p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day: >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike] + reflective journal + not doing these: movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap

I start to feel a bit funny every now and then. I want to feel good and I get restless. Unpleasant news increase that. All fine for now though. Also, finally got rig of the biggest thing on the procrastination list. Finally.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

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Day 7 no erotica/pmo/games (sat) (goal: Dopamine system rewiring, achieving boredom):

Fairly good day, manged to do reqular stuff in the morning and spent about eight hours working on what I want to work. Ate a whole watermelon and lots of bananas. Not good. Also, decided to work all day without lunch, which was a stupid decision.

  • Habit Tracker (super day: no): Good habits: 484; Procrastination: -1459; Addictions: -248; Other bad habits: -51; Identity total: -1274
  • Superday misses in bold: Empty procrastination list (current -18p/d) + up at 08:45, down by 01:00 + soild breakfast and lunch + meditation (10m) + exercise (park or >30m stretch, plank, rice, shadowbox) + contrast shower (coldest >30s) + kegels + stamina exercise + [off pt work day: >two hours of good work (lvl 2), ride bike (NA)] + reflective journal + not doing these: movies, podcasts, books, news, "learning" crap

How you do anything is how you do everything.

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