Are you suffering from nomophobia – NO–MObile-PHOne-phoBIA? Has your smartphone use morphed into an unhealthy over-connection habit? One described as an emerging threat to our social, mental and physical health. If your definition of self-care includes releasing the clench of over-connection, this post is for you.
Nomophobia and the over-connection habit, like addiction, are impacted by dopamine. Dopamine, an important chemical messenger in the brain functions as both a hormone and neurotransmitter. At well-regulated levels it serves vital functions in maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing. As a neurotransmitter it plays a fundamental role in your ability to exercise executive function. Executive function, regulated by the prefrontal cortex of the brain, drives all forms of higher thinking including motivation, attention, goal setting, planning, reason and problem solving.
In its function as a hormone, dopamine is known as the “pleasure or reward” hormone. As with addictions, you get a burst of dopamine each time you engage. With each ping, ding, buzz or flash your mood elevates. Unfortunately, tolerance to dopamine develops quickly requiring more and more stimulation to receive the same pleasure or reward.
This burst of dopamine sets the groundwork for the over-connection habit to social media, gaming, texting and messaging and can extend to levels where your digital world takes on greater significance than real-life. Over-connection may rise to the level of digital addiction, a more socially acceptable behavior than other forms of addiction but one that is still harmful to your health and wellbeing. Excessive smartphone use has been linked to depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness and boredom. While no consensus exists as to which is likely to have developed first, there is agreement that while losing oneself in a digital world may seem to stave off these feelings, it can actually make them worse.
Breaking habits and addiction require changing your pattern of thinking and behavior. Begin by taking ownership of your behavior, recognizing your triggers and acknowledge how your life is impacted by your actions. Set goals for time usage and limit compulsive checking. Create phone-free periods in your day and no-phone zones in your life. Regular exercise and mindfulness practices of yoga, purposeful breathing and meditation can serve to foster a healthy separation between you and over-connection.
What will you be doing differently when living your wellbeing vision? Do you have a wellbeing vision? If not, I challenge you to create one. What motivates you to be your best, or better, self? Is breaking free of over-connection part of your wellbeing vision? At Work Well Concepts, we are here to help. Working with a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach you can gain confidence, enhance your motivation and overcome resistance to live your wellbeing vision. Break free of over-connection and create sustainable healthy habits for life.