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We have no doubt that the likes, notifications and sounds inherent in each of the social networks cause us some pleasure. On the other hand, they end up affecting our impulse control. For that very reason, be addicted to notifications and feeling digitally dependent can be a serious health hazard.
If we reflect well on the subject, we quickly realize the mechanics of notifications in our brain. In the end, when a new notification appears, the immediate stimulus associated with it is the fact that we instinctively look at the mobile phone.
And this is because notification icons and sounds act as conditioned stimuli. That is, they induce feelings in us related to an interaction that produces a kind of “reward” for our brains.
Furthermore, know that this “reward” turns into dopamine – a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in our behavior. Deep down, it is activated when we eat something pleasant or feel something satisfying (a well-known sensation related to drug use, for example).
Now, all these aspects can result in an authentic addiction, capable of harming our health and causing depression, anxiety, addiction, exhaustion disorders and even burnout.
Getting addicted to notifications is one of the most dangerous new additions
Like cigarettes, which make us dependent and conditioned to certain stimuli, it is also possible to feel addicted to notifications. After all, constantly checking likes, social media feeds and notifications in general have become common habits for many people.
The truth is that just the simple sound of a notification can give us a good feeling. At the same time, the sensation can affect our impulses, becoming an addiction like drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
We can say that pleasure and the satisfaction of all vices are very similar sensations..
How does the brain react to notifications?
Technological advances have been causing digital dependence to increase more and more. This happens because the digital world has become an inexhaustible source of quick stimuli, capable of providing us with small doses of relief compared to real life.
Deep down, we are looking for those accelerated stimuli that generate some pleasure in us and make us put aside small less pleasant sensations.
That’s why, we may not even realize it, but when we receive a message from someone we like or an unexpected compliment on a photograph, a neurotransmitter begins to run in our brain: dopamine.
What happens is that it travels to the central part of the brain and when released, it immediately causes pleasant sensations in us. However, dopamine also ends up inhibiting the functions of the front part of the brain that is responsible for controlling impulses, making decisions and moderating behavior.
All this can affect the control of cell phone use and cause impulsiveness – turning it into a real addiction that will harm us in several ways, one of them being concentration.
Addicted to notifications? 4 useful tips to control this habit
Just read the article and don’t know to what extent you may or may not be addicted to notifications? The important thing is to keep calm and start by acknowledging that this could actually be a problem is the first step towards solving it.
Then, if the goal is to effectively try to disconnect from addiction, there are some behaviors that you can and should adopt.
Establish boundaries between personal life and work
If you have difficulties controlling the stimuli associated with cell phone notifications, the best thing is to choose to use one cell phone only for work-related issues and the other for personal use.
That is, choose to concentrate everything associated with work on a mobile phone where the same distractions as your staff do not exist.
This way, you’ll be able to respond to calls, messages or work emails without having to be constantly distracted by notifications from social networks.
Mute some apps
Some apps have features that allow you to mute notifications for as long as you want. For example: on Whatsapp or Messenger, you can easily mute conversations so that notifications don’t even appear on the screen.
This type of attitude can help a lot, especially if you feel that you are already at a stage where even at work you check your cell phone over and over again. The ideal is to silence everything and determine times of day to connect with the digital world.
try to keep the balance
If your profession requires you to be constantly on your cell phone, you should be aware of the relationship you create with the device, as well as the time of use.
Currently, there are smartphones that already allow us to monitor screen time, even in each application. So you already know, if this is your situation, be aware and set limits whenever necessary.
Establish moments without the cell phone
Staying away from your cell phone can be difficult for many people, especially those who feel totally addicted. However, if the objective is to combat this addiction, it is important to establish periods where the cell phone is not present at all.
For example: if you have a coffee with your friends, put your phone on silent, without vibration and turn off the internet for a few hours. The same goes for family moments and meals.
It is possible to fight this addiction, just like any other. It all depends on your willpower and the attitudes you adopt to change your situation.