Tech addiction is hurting you, but meditation can help

Man using iPhone in a black longsleeve shirt
Photo by Giles Lambert

In the new normal of Covid-19, everyone has become even more addicted to technology. Addiction in general is an even more serious problem after Covid has forced many addiction treatment centers to close.

The internet is taking over your life, so it’s more important than ever to manage your relationship with social media and other addictive technologies.

Woman drinking starbucks and using her iphone
Two addictions at once -Guilherme Stecanella

Addictions are common in western society whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, junk food, coffee, or any of the other countless vices. Technology is necessary for a lot of life, which is why most people are addicted to tech or the internet.

Studies show that at least 64% of people now spend up to 4 hours of their daily leisure time in front of a screen.

It’s a problem, but meditation is one of the best ways to break tech addiction? We’ll explore how, but before there are some other aspects of tech addiction we need to cover first.

Tech is addictive by design

Most of us now can easily access tech or the internet these days. And almost everyone with a smartphone suffers from tech addiction to some degree.

You have to understand here that just like cigarettes or alcohol, tech devices like smartphones are addictive by design. Our devices are designed to be dopaminergic.

Addiction is connected to the release of dopamine in our brain and the more dopamine activity a substance triggers, the more addictive it gets.

It’s doubtful that designers and engineers explicitly considered dopamine in their design choices, but the end result is people trapped in constant dopamine feedback loops.

Causes of technology addiction

Using technology is not inherently bad but being addicted to technology is detrimental to your health. And sadly, like any other addiction, it is hard to overcome.

History of addictions

One common cause of technology dependence is a trigger from an existing or past addiction.

For example, a woman with a shopping addiction is likely to become addicted to online shopping. An Amazon addiction is the combination of that addiction now made even worse by the enhanced convenience of online retail.

Shyness and social anxiety

People who are very shy or have difficulty communicating with others in the real world tend to use the internet as a way of escape.

For them, the internet is a safe harbor where they can spend time talking to someone without an actual face-to-face communication.

Depression

Depression often contributes to social anxiety and can lead people to the internet and tech addiction. iPhone games and Netflix binges can make them forget their sorrows temporarily. People who resort to internet escapism ultimately turn into tech addicts.

How does meditation helps break tech addiction?

Black woman meditating outside in fashionable overalls
Meditation outside is even more effective – Photo by Jakayla Toney

Meditation gives us a natural high through the brain’s happiness center by training your brain to be happy and naturally high without the need for any addictive substance to feel good. It’s not the same high that comes from satisfying your craving for social media, but it’s afar more sustainable one.

Meditators have been happy and addiction-free for thousand of years. This practice makes you a master of urge surfing – when a wave of cravings comes through your mind and you ride it safely to shore.

It seems like our addictions sometimes control us more than we control ourselves, as though we’rein a rowboat with no oars in the middle of the ocean.

Meditation allows your mind to simply step aside from the temptation of addictive thoughts. A meditative mind can neutrally observe the coming and going of urges and cravings in a very detached way.

Meditation helps to regulate the release of the pleasure chemical, Dopamine, which gets people caught in addictive cycles.

As far as tech addiction is concerned, research from the University of Washington indicates that meditation can be nearly six times as effective as traditional treatments for managing tech addiction.

Substituting 10 minutes of phone time for 10 minutes of meditation can make a profound positive impact on your life.


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Health, Spirituality, Technology