Having trouble prying yourself away from your social media accounts and your high tech mobile phone? You’re not alone. In fact, according to statistics from CareerBuilder as cited in an article on Business News Daily, over half of employers surveyed cited mobile phones as a huge source of distraction, while nearly half had the same opinion about procrastination and internet usage. While blocking apps, websites, and devices from the office might help some people resist the temptation to do non-work related tasks, much of their distraction actually has to do with a particular hormone produced by the brain called dopamine.
What is Dopamine and What Does It Do?
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that is mainly linked to the brain’s reward system. It is released whenever certain parts of your brain recognize that you have accomplished a task or are anticipating a reward after completing a goal. This causes you to perceive the entire experience as a pleasurable one. Unfortunately, this can get out of hand, and forms the basis for obsessions with certain experiences that bring about a hit of pleasure, such as gambling, playing a game, or checking the messages on your social media accounts.
Smartphone Addiction: A Sample Scenario
Let’s say that you like to play games on your smartphone often. If you spend enough of your leisure time trying to beat several levels of the latest mobile app, your brain will begin to release dopamine even when you have just seen the smartphone. That’s right—before you even touch your smartphone, the addiction cycle automatically starts up at the sight of your stimulus. That means dopamine is being released in your body before you start playing the games that bring you pleasure, all because your body already expects the reward to happen.
Some Possible Side Effects to Your Overall Health
- Text claw and cell phone elbow
- Bad neck and lower back posture
- Bad eyesight and dizziness
- Irregular sleeping schedules
Tips for Overcoming Smartphone Addiction
- Disable live notifications from your phone, if applicable. Instead, try to set specific times when you are allowed to check your phone for new messages.
- Put it as far away from you as possible especially if you’re busy with an important task. If you really have to, switch your phone off entirely.
- Be more self-aware about your habits. Try to take note of how you’re feeling whenever the urge to check your phone pops up, and try to address it with a different solution.
The Takeaway: Observe, Resist or Replace, and Repeat
We can point to technology as the main culprit when it comes to distractions around the house, in educational institutions, or even in the workplace, but what it all boils down to is how much you’re able to instill productive habits within yourself. Keep all of this information in mind the next time you’re itching to keep yourself updated, and you’ll definitely be much healthier and better at resisting the temptations of your handy dandy smart phone.