When we are stressed, or a little anxious at work, or perhaps exhausted with schooling in isolation (I refuse to call it homeschooling, which is an entirely different education), or we’re just overwhelmed with the state of the world, we dip in dopamine levels. And it feels like a lot of the world is in a dopamine dip right now in fact! We need dopamine, and thankfully there are lots of ways to boost your dopamine; meditate, exercise, eat well, have quality social connections and more.
Important to know is that when we’re low in dopamine, we generally stop prioritising our time well. Our brain is driving behaviours, anything to get that dopamine quick, and we usually start to spend our time poorly in that quest. Mucking about with technology is generally the quickest route. We have become addicted to smart phones and social media, and we are chaining our dopamine use to them. Chamath Palihapitiya, who was the VP of User Growth at Facebook admits he feels guilty, because, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works”.
Now tech isn’t going anywhere, and nor do we want it to. But our use of time with it, shouldn’t be careless or thoughtless. I want you to spend a few days really monitoring your mood, in relation to your engagement with technology, and the TYPE of tech you’re engaging with. If you notice your late night binging on scrolling, or mindlessly reading news you don’t actually care about, or are knee deep in someone’s Instagram and you have no idea who they are – PAUSE. Ask yourself, is this what I want to be doing? Remind yourself of Annie Lamott’s words, ‘Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued?’. Adjust accordingly.