Dopamine, it’s our brain’s feel good chemical reward that comes with completing challenging tasks, having fun and other good stuff like that. With such easy access to the Internet though, we are now getting our dopamine fixes at the push of a button. This leads to troublesome chemical addictions and dopamine cravings.
If you find yourself frequently reaching for your mobile device to check the latest feeds or to find quick answers to questions, you may already be hooked on what Dr. Peter Whybrow, UCLA neuroscience director calls “electronic cocaine.”
“Eventually, the neuro-receptors in the brain develop a tolerance to dopamine, requiring more and more dopamine to get the same result.”
This vicious cycle can cause a number of symptoms, the most problematic of which are; sluggishness, irritability and depression.
How to Fix It
To get dopamine cravings under control fast, try taking even an hour away from your phone, a full day or even a weekend off if you can handle it. Another good exercise is taking a break from smartphone and computer use for an hour or two before bed. Setting your smartphone’s Do Not Disturb on is another big help, as push notifications just fuel the fire.
After a digital “detox,” your dopamine levels will normalize, stress gets easier to handle, and you’re likely to fall asleep faster as well.