Sneezing is contagious. When one person sneezes, it isn’t uncommon for at least one other person nearby to start sneezing. Yawning is also contagious. Just say the word yawn and you’ll start feeling the early stirrings of a good yawn commence. You might even have yawned just reading that sentence about yawning. The brain mimics other people’s behaviors that feel good. For example, there is a science behind why we yawn when we see someone else yawn or even think about yawning. Yawning releases a big rush of oxygen into the brain, which feels good for the brain. When the brain sees or thinks about a yawn, it craves that big oxygen release, so it creates a yawn for itself.
Now, there is a new yawn. Reach for your smartphone and check it out for a few seconds and you’ll find that other people do the same. While we don’t get a big rush of oxygen from touching and looking at our phones, we do get a big rush of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or a brain chemical, which produces feelings of pleasure and interacts with our feelings of reward, which also produce feelings of pleasure. We get pleasure from our devices and what is in our devices, like social media platforms. We also get reward from our devices and what is in our devices, like social media platforms. As a result, we have an intricate response hardwired to interacting with our phones. You can call it an impulse, a compulsive drive, or even use words like a twitch, and itch, or a desire. However you phrase it you cannot deny the brain chemistry. We are so attached to and enmeshed with our technological devices, that we cannot stand to neglect them when others start paying attention.
Technology addiction is a real issue for many people, of all ages. Some research has suggested that technological screens act like and heroin for young minds. For adults, it can lead to a vicious cycle of checking, interacting, and losing time which leads to a decrease in mental and physical health. Internet use disorder, gaming disorder, porn addiction, all of these new issues of the brain relate back to the use of technology to create pleasure and reward.
Checking your phone and engaging with it regularly is a habit. Habits are hard, but not impossible, to break. To start detaching from your technological devices, start using it less often. For example, instead of using your phone as an alarm clock in the morning, tempting you to check notifications and interact with it, use a real alarm clock. At nighttime, limit your phone use and set a restriction not to interact with your phone one to two hours before bedtime. Instead read a book, not on your phone, or practice another hobby. Overtime you’ll start reducing the intensity of the relationship between pleasure, reward, and technology usage.
Technology addiction can become a life-altering situation. If you or a loved one are struggling to get your life back from the obsessive need to interact with technology, there is help available. Call Hired Power for information on our recovery planning services and how we can help you bring recovery home. Call us today: 800-910-9299
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