DOPAMINE & THE SMARTPHONE - The Fit Yard
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DOPAMINE & THE SMARTPHONE

2
Aug

DOPAMINE & THE SMARTPHONE


Picture this: 

You lose your phone. 

Or, your phone drops in water.

Or, you can’t find for what feels like 23.5 hours.

Or, your phone gets, run over by a Mac truck.  

You get the idea.  If any of these things happened to you a full blown panic attack may occur.  

Adults in the US spend an average of 2-4 hours per day tapping, typing, and swiping on their devices—that adds up to over 2,600 daily touches.  So naturally if we were to lose something we touch 2,600 times per day we’d panic!

Beyond losing contacts and the money involved in replacement there is a physiological reason we’re attached to our smartphones.  When we get a “like” on a social platform (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), receive an email or text message or get a pop-up with “breaking news” there is a tiny dopamine release in our brain.  

Without getting scientific, Dopamine is a chemical produced by our brain that makes us feel good.  Because of this it’s linked to motivation; we are motivated by what makes us feel good. The “feel good” chemical gets released when we take a bite of delicious food, ride a rollercoaster, ingest stimulants, win at a slot machine and when we get likes, messages, notifications and emails! Ok, there are many other ways dopamine gets released but the fact we get a little kick of dopamine from various smartphones activities. Even the anticipation of the action, keeps us coming back for more.  

We can go into A LOT more detail about this but let’s stay on this topic.  The ugly side of the smartphone addiction is:

1.   A time waster

2.  Lead to anger if we read something upsetting

3.  Cause disappointment if we didn’t get the attention we were hoping for

4.  Comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we’re “not enough” 

And these are just a few examples! 

So here are a few things you can do NOW:

  1. Don’t check social or emails first thing in the morning or right before bed
  2. Turn off ALL notifications for social media and email. 
  3. Check social platforms 1-2 times daily for a set period of time.  
  4. Check email at set intervals during your day.  If you’re worried about clients/coworkers/employees responsiveness time set an automatic message indicating times you reply to emails. 
  5. Some people have gone “all out” and deleted social apps from their phones and check only on a desktop OR all together.  

Here’s the key! You’ve got to replace the behaviors to get your dopamine fix! So here are 5 things you can do, and yes a couple have a smartphone involved.  You’ll have to have willpower and wait for the “fix” before subconsciously landing in the Facebook rabbit hole.  

  1. Gratitude- call someone or send them a voice text and tell them you are thankful for something they did or just for them! 
  2. Move + Nature – Get outside and walk. Sunshine + movement. 
  3. Workout – ever feel that “high” after a workout? Yup, that’s dopamine.  
  4. Goal achievement – completing a task on your to-do list 

We challenge you to take action using one or more of the action ideas and replacement behaviors today! One great idea: Get your dopamine fix in a healthy way with The Fit Yard’s Group Fitness Workouts in St. Pete!  No matter what you choose we want you to be the healthiest happiest you.

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