I read an interesting article on distraction sickness, also known as digital addiction. I stopped halfway through the article and examined my own life. In an instant, I realized my own growing digital addiction.
Digital addiction has the same brain mechanism as food addiction/emotional eating.
We indulge in eating to numb out negative emotion and/or to get a hit of endorphins: neuro-transmitted happy drugs.
We do the same with digital information: social media, YouTube, Pinterest. We can’t put down our phones without feeling we’re missing out. We can’t say no to carby food without feeling like we’re missing out.
The parallel is obvious. The biochemistry is exactly the same.
We don’t need Coke and cake and chips and prepackaged convenience foods, just as we don’t need to check Facebook three or four times an hour. We are addicted to food, sugar, flour and processed Frankenfood, exactly like we are addicted to Facebook, news media, TV, Pinterest and SnapChat.
It’s the perfect storm of addiction.
Sugary, floury, processed foods create a neurological feedback system that rewards more sugary, floury, processed food intake.
Digital ingestion creates the very same feedback system that rewards more digital consumption.
Cookies or FB feed, the biochemistry of feel-good neurotransmitters is the same. Our brain says, “That was fabulous. Let’s get more!”
What’s the solution? Stop eating sugar and flour.
The solution is the same digital ingestion. Put down the phone and walk away.
I can hear your brain protest from here. I know. I’m right there alongside you.
My brain has the same thoughts. For example, it tells me, “You need to be connected: to your children, to your family, to your clients, to your friends, to your potential customers.” My brain tells me, “Your business will suffer if you’re not on FB. You need to surf and curate the Internetz to learn more, to be better, faster, stay ahead of the curve.”
These thoughts are very similar to the mind chatter I used to have about food. My brain told me this story: “You’ll miss out. You deserve this. Eat this. It will make you feel better. Food is love.”
It’s the very same song, only lyrics have changed slightly.
In less than a decade, we have gone from dumb phones to smartphones we can’t live without. Pause and think about this.
We have witnessed, right before our eyes, the birth of an insidious addiction of epidemic proportion exactly like our sugar addiction.
We all deserve a sweet treat once in awhile, agreed? We all need to be digitally connected, right?
Wrong. We don’t need sugar, flour and processed food to be healthy and happy. Neither do we need constant, digital consumption to be happy and healthy.
The truth is our lives are better and more real without both.
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