Dr. Rita's Blog
Our smart phones present a world of possibilities. Which is a wonderful thing.
BUT a problem lurks below the surface. Our phones and the apps we have on them have been engineered to reward us for looking at them no matter where we are or what we are trying to do. This creates a powerful pull and messes with the dopamine in our brain.
In reading her book, I realized I knew very little about the power our phones have over us.
The author initially noticed that during the past few years, her attention span had gotten shorter, her memory seemed weaker and her focus flickered. This was puzzling to her … until she came to the realization that her phone was the cause.
Our Brain Power
In a study published in 2017, Dr. Adrian Ward and his colleagues asked 800 study participants to put their devices: 1. Close and in sight, 2. Nearby out of sight and 3. In another room. Then the researchers tested cognitive capacity.
Things to know about our phones
1. Our phones are designed to addict us. They are specifically engineered to get us to spend time on them. To do that, engineering designers manipulate our brain chemistry in ways that are known to trigger addictive behaviors.
2. Social media knows how to steal our attention. And there is a causal relationship between social media use and unhappiness—including physical health, mental health and life satisfaction according to a 2017 report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
3. Our phones are changing our brains. Our phones envelop us in an intensely focused state of distraction due to swipes, clicks and scrolling. This is re-wiring our brains to be less able to concentrate and think deeply according to Nicholas Carr’s 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.
4. Our phones are like Pandora’s Box of Emotions. Every time we check them, we open ourselves up to be unpleasantly surprised by anxiety about the stock market, anger at a news report—or a post that makes us sad—just to name a few reactions. And this mix of emotions can be ignited within seconds. Then we’re left alone and stressed about things we can’t control.
3. Do a phone fast to see how addicted you really are. Take a weekend and completely disconnect from your devices. If you find yourself anxious, edgy and slightly depressed, know that you are not alone.
5. Delete all social media apps from your phone.
6. Get back in touch with what makes you happy in your offline life and do those things. You’ll have more time for them if you get off your device!
Then let me know how it goes.
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