Instant Gratification and Dopamine Deficiencies
Have you ever looked at your phone repeatedly only to find no new notifications? Most of us have and do daily only to just put our phone back in our pocket with an almost subconscious level of disappointment. You didn't get your fix. The average US adult has over 2,600 touches on their phone a day. This figure does not focus on millennials, Gen Zs, and hard core memers. Who knows what those numbers would look like?
We live in an era of addiction to instant gratification. That feeling you get when your crush texts you back or someone likes your most recent Instagram post is due to the release of Dopamine in your brain. It's the feel-good Chemical. Dopamine is supposed to be released when you eat a snickers bar or get that first kiss on a date but today it is over used and abused. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” says Chamath Palihapitiya, former Vice President of User Growth at Facebook. So, is it time to reevaluate our daily habits?
“Dopamine is a chemical found naturally in the human body;” according to Medical News Today: “It is a neurotransmitter, meaning it sends signals from the body to the brain. A dopamine deficiency can be due to a drop in the amount of dopamine made by the body or a problem with the receptors in the brain.” MNT goes on to list a vast number of symptoms that may come along with dopamine deficiency. Among the most common are anxiety, depression or a consistent feeling of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and low sex drive. Many of these symptoms are recently being found as the backbone of jokes throughout the Instagram meme world. The sad part is it’s not a laughing matter.
Over 73 percent of people with these types of daily habits experience chronic anxiety along with the other many symptoms. It has become an epidemic throughout the younger age groups. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is something you can do about it! Simple daily lifestyle adjustments can make all the difference! You may try deleting an app that contributes to your anxiety of self-image or simply limit your time with the distractions that take you away from your priorities in life. There’s even an app for that! Additional treatment can be found through counseling, changes in diet and nutrition, and with exercise. There are other ways to boost your endorphins and keep a positive overall well-being.
If you have found yourself waking up and checking your phone before saying good morning to your significant other or going to the bathroom, chances are you fit the bill. Rather than going to bed and waking up anxious it is recommended to charge your phone overnight in another room and to use a traditional alarm clock to start kicking these habits. Give it a shot! You might just get the good night’s sleep you've been hoping for.