Addiction comes in many forms. Our neurotransmitter (including dopamine) driven brains seek novelty/desire and our devices -and their capacity to “alert”- are siren songs luring us into a churning ocean of promising new hits of pleasure in the way of notifications. But are those hits of distraction really pleasures? Much contemporary neuroscience thinks not. I think not. What do you think? How do you stop, or indulge, the addictive and wayward reward system that our devices tease us with? Please know that I am not above any of this, I, like everyone else, deliberately work at keeping my device distraction to a minimum.
Multi-tasking in our digital age is creating in us a kind of hungry beast that is becoming addicted to new information. In his book The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, PhD writes: “Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol…which can over stimulate your brain and cause mental fog and scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine –addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.”
Rewarding our brains for losing function? Yes. Uh oh!
And, to add to this concerning state of affairs, is some science that suggests that when we do what we might call”multi-tasking” we are simply “switching” our attention back and forth between tasks which fractures our focus on all tasks which significantly compromises our overall quality of attention. And, to add even more disturbing considerations to this phenomenon we mistakenly call “multi-tasking’; there seems to be evidence that “switching” ( checking email while studying) causes the new information we are learning to be stored in a region of the brain that is NOT the region that stores and strengthens our explicit (facts/ideas/events) memory. Proper memory consolidation demands our full, undivided attention. Uh oh again!
Creating and sustaining more discipline with our devices is up to us because our burgeoning, amazing technology is not slowing down any time soon. Aside from our purposeful unplugging, there are things we can do that help to repair and rejuvenate the brain/mind and body that becomes lost and fragmented in digital space.
This brings me to my favorite, most effective, means of returning homeostasis to our complex nervous systems and this numero uno practice is called Yoga Nidra. Information about Yoga Nidra it is on the post below this one so do scroll and read. (So long as you are within your designated on- line info gathering schedule!)
My second favorite treatment is a combination of yoga (in all it’s branches, not just asana) and mindfulness practice, which includes formal seated practice and informal (employing it during all moments of ordinary life) practice.
All this said, I am offering some antidotes to you:
My recording Yoga Nidra: Total Relaxation Practices for Adults and Teens (Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby- see links below. CDs available directly through me. Plain and simple: It works.
I am also inviting you to join me in my next four session series titled: Introduction to Mindfulness Practices and Stress Reduction In Everyday Life. The series begins on February 21 and meets on four Tuesday evenings (Feb 21,28, March14 & 21) at The Living Seed (link below). I’ve been teaching this user-friendly series for many years now and it gives me great joy to witness how integarting attention practices can create long- term positive changes in peoples lives. For real.
I’ve a lot I’d like to say but I don’t want my post to eat up much more of your time so I’ll end with this:
From a neuroscientist: “ We are what we attend to.”
From the Yoga Sutras:” The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga”
Join me and learn to train your attention while restoring homeostasis to your nervous and endocrine system.
For Yoga Nidra info contact me here.
For Mindfulness in Everyday Life series contact: