I’m really torn with this one. As I typically do, I voice dictate or compile these blog posts on my phone. And as I do that, I know very well how bad the phone actually is for me. For my mental and emotional well-being, and my brain health.
Yes the phones have become such a big part of our life and are absolutely integral. But that does not mean we can’t put them down for a little bit. In fact, we should put them down a lot more than we do.
There are studies that indicate a major source of stress and anxiety is in fact our phone. Not just the content that we are consuming (which is often stressful), but the actual physical screen itself. The simple act of staring closely at a screen and absorbing blue light is taxing on the brain. It drains the brain’s energy.
Staring at the screen also disrupts our vision and normal breathing patterns, like physiological sighing that we all do innately. This hampers forebrain brain function. In other words, it reduces the ability of our prefrontal cortex to function properly. And that is a pretty important part of our brain.
Additionally, social media platforms and many websites are designed to target the primitive portions of our brain – the portions that are involved in pleasure and excitement. They aim to trigger those feel good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
The challenge is, every time we get that dopamine hit from our phones, we get a subsequent drop in dopamine to balance out the system. This results in a bit of pain in the form of a craving for more dopamine. And that can easily lead to stress or anxiety and a vicious cycle of looking for more dopamine to alleviate that pain.
Again, Put Down Your Phone
So how do we avoid this and how do we break the cycle? Just put down the phone! It may sound so simple, but it really is a challenge. We need to consciously separate ourselves from our screens, our phones, our electronics every single day. We need to be mindful of our time spent there. Also, we need to be mindful of how the time there is affecting us mentally and emotionally. That is the place to start.
I’m a believer in everything in moderation, but if you can’t control the things that bring you pleasure or happiness, you could become susceptible to stress, anxiety, cravings and addictions. And you may not realize that the source of your stress is actually what you think is bringing you pleasure and happiness.
So practice some of the techniques talked about on this platform like mindfulness, and make sure to take breaks from your electronics every single day. Consciously unplug from your devices and try to minimize leisure time there. Work on the phone or computer may be unavoidable at times, but do your best to keep track of the frequency on your devices. The less time you spend staring at a screen, the better off your brain and mental health will be.
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