We all use social media, see the picture I took from this website. It’s great to keep in touch with everyone. Though often we can’t do a day without it anymore. Despite all great effects of social media, they are also addictive.
Dope is short for great and amazing, but also for dopamine. In the ’80s and ’90s, dopamine was known as happiness-hormone that also controls our movements. We produce it in our brains. Now scientists have discovered, that dopamine doesn’t make us happy, it makes us craving! Happiness means that we enjoy what we do and how we do it. It’s OK how it is, we want to last that moment for ever.
Craving means that we are up for the next kick, that we need more of the same. It’s like the craving for more sweet food, for winning another game, for more likes on social media. We are not happy with how it is, we want more.
Scientists discovered this slightly different effect of dopamine, when making the connection between a drug against the disease of Parkinson and the side effect of behavioral additions like gaming addiction, shopping addiction etc. The drug increases the dopamine level. And though it helps to reduce the movement-effects of Parkinson, it also makes many people who use it developing a behavioral addiction.
There are three signs for an online addiction:
1. loosing control: you go online for gaming or social media in situations when it’s really not done, like while driving or while having a serious conversation with your partner
2. neglecting everything else: being online is more important than sleeping, than your job, your family, your friends; you start to become lonely
3. ignoring negative consequences: you just ignore that you might loose your job, your family, your health, your friends because of your addiction
When these signs are there for more than a year, you can speak of an online addiction.
In the music business we are chasing for the next kick all the time. As a musician, you crave for the next -even bigger- show. In the business, you crave for the discovery of the next-big-thing. This craving makes us vulnerable for an behavioral addiction.
An online addiction is just as bad as any other addiction. You need to get professional help. Therapy against online addictions often includes:
– a strictly limited access to online media
– training in mindfulness
– contact with animals
– being physical active
I often take a full weekend offline in order to recuperate. Meditation and physical activity should be part of my daily life too, even though I have been a bit sloppy with it in the last months. Summer is over, it’s the ideal time to pick up constructive routines like meditation and sports again, and to put the smartphone out of reach when meeting friends.
Will you join me?