Are you addicted to Facebook? Do you lose all sense of time as you update your status, check for new friends, play “farm”? Is texting or using your Smart Phone creating near misses on the highway as your attention drifts with your fingers? Do you have a teen you want to make sure isn’t using and driving?
Well now there are apps to control those addictive urges. Thank goodness because we’re not doing such a great job ourselves. Brain research shows that whatever behavior we do repetitively gets wired into our brain – “what’s wired together stays together,” states Rick Hanson, author of The Buddha's Brain. Two chemicals produced in the brain, dopamine and serotonin, work together like this: Dopamine sends the message “Gotta have it – go get it.” And, serotonin is the “Got it,” receiver.
The problem with doing an addictive activity is that we always want what? More! Advertisers love to encourage our cravings. Remember Lays Potato Chips – Bet you can’t eat just one!
Here’s why we can get into trouble with our urges before we’re aware there’s a problem. When serotonin levels are low, anything associated with food, danger, or sex causes dopamine to push us to go after it says Richard O’Connor, Ph.D, author of Undoing Perpetual Stress says. Guess what time of day serotonin is lowest? The afternoon – ah…look out sugar and caffeine.
I call these usually moderate addictive impulses “lite” addictions. They are defined as “quick fix habits that temporarily soothe or distract from the stress, anxiety and strain of modern life.” (Free 1st chapter download of Intentional JOY: How to Turn Stress, Fear & Addiction into Freedom www.lynntelfordsahl.com) (Carrie not sure if this should go here?)
If you’re stressed or anxious and avoiding dealing with things by losing yourself and wasting precious time (which you then feel guilty about – classic addictive feeling) them try Fred Stutzman’s Internet-blocking program called Anti-Social. Anti-Social shuts off access to FB, Linked In, etc. Or try Freedom that blocks the Internet for up to 8 hours.
If you’d like a low-tech solution to "lite addictions" download my FREE 7 ½ Tips to Turn Stress into JOY and practice mindfully dealing with stress and anxiety – www.lynntelfordsahl.com