Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Social support, presence, and your smartphone

Lauren and Todd warm up with good mornings.
Randy and I were talking today about smartphones, and the urge to use them all the time, even when you have real people right there with you to interact with. This is not a scolding lecture - I'm guilty of the smartphone phase-out too. Checking your phone is addictive - literally, it releases dopamine, the brain's reward signal. We reach for that phone again and again to keep getting those dopamine spikes. It's probably healthier than some other ways of spiking dopamine (some recreational drugs, Twinkies, etc.), but there is a cost. When we tune out of in-person interactions to have virtual interactions, we are losing out on real connections with other people. Humans are social animals - we need meaningful connections with each other to be healthy, happy, and balanced.

As with any addiction, it's HARD to break the habit. I wish I had some advice for you, but it's something I struggle with too. Other than tease you about your "Candy Crush cooldown", all I can do is ask you to try to be mindful of when and how you're using your phone. Do you interrupt a conversation to check or answer something, or do you prioritize the person in front of you, maintaining eye contact and interest? Do you zone out with a game or email when your kids are playing, or do you put the phone away and join them? I think this is a real struggle for many of us, but social support and presence in the moment are a big payoff for fighting the urge to respond to each notification.
5 rounds with full recovery:
2 heavy cleans
farmer's walk