Our devices have become an integral part of our lives. Whether that be our phones, our computers or out games consoles; technology has enriched our lives in more ways than one. This is especially apparent with social media. Nevertheless, there is always two sides to coin as the rise of social media has coincided with a rise in mental health problems. A study found that 94% of participants felt troubled when they didn't have their smartphones with them!
If we were to look at the science behind social media and addiction, one key hormone plays a significant role in this and that's dopamine. This hormone plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It plays a starring role in motivating behaviour and encourages to take similar actions that can be perceived as rewarding; e.g. taking a bite of delicious food or successful social interactions. Receiving positive feedback stimulates the brain to release dopamine. Thus, it rewards the behaviour associated with social media, leading us to repeatedly performing this behaviour. The motivational properties of dopamine play a significant role in addictive behaviour. Therefore, it is vital to take digital detoxes from time to time to ensure that we are not under the mercy of dopamine! Here are some tips that you can implement to have a successful digital detox.
Spending Time in Nature: why not replace those hours you spend scrolling with a walk in your local park or garden? Spending time in nature helps to relieve any stress and anxiety accumulated, leaving you more calm and focused throughout the day. Not only that, you'll also be getting a dose of exercise which provides further benefits for your mental health!
Tackling FOMO: when we hear the sound of a notification from our phones, we just can't help but check it. But would it really make a difference if you saw a video a couple minutes later? By incorporating a greater sense of delayed gratification into your life, it will help you to be more disciplined, and this will cause a ripple effect in other areas of your life.
Starting and Ending each Day with your Phone: a very common habit; but one that is disrupting our sleep cycle. Also, research concludes that our brains require around 30 minutes to wake up from the sleep inertia and we only reach full recovery in 1-2 hours after getting out of bed. Moreover the blue light from our phone screens is affecting the time taken for us to fall asleep. This contributes to our overall tiredness and keeps us distracted; and what are we going to reach out for when we're feeling distracted?
While our phones and technology come with a plethora of blessings and benefits, it is more important than ever to take screen breaks for our well-being.
Written by Harin Vinumon