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Why My Bad Phone Habits Make Me Eat More – Thomas DeLauer
The way that our brain works, dopamine is a very simple thing. It’s a D that stands for my last name. What dopamine is it’s the anticipatory satisfaction component of everything. If I’m anticipating something to happen and then I achieve that action and what I anticipated becomes a reality, something happens inside of my brain. This action is I am going to reach out and just touch this letter D.
This is happening at such small scales and large scales throughout the entirety of the day, every single thing you day. You reach out to touch a door handle. You may not realize that your brain is getting a signal when you accomplish a task, but it is. When you pick up a coffee cup, you bring it to your lips, you’re still accomplishing a task. When it comes down to checking your phone, that is a very big dopamine hit. You’re seeking something, you want to check your email, you want to check your texts, you want to check Facebook, all this stuff.
What happens eventually is you have what is called a downregulation, meaning your body ends up not producing as much dopamine. So every single time that I reach out and I check my phone compulsively, I am getting a smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller diminishing effect, diminishing hit, of dopamine, meaning it’s requiring me to check it more to get that aggregate amount of dopamine that I need to feel accomplished. This isn’t like some weird kind of woo-woo weird stuff at all. No, this is like legit. It’s straight up science that you have dopamine needs, and if you set the bar high, you’re gonna have to keep on doing more and more of something to reach that same dopamine need or dopamine high.
What happens is, when you consistently check your phone, you start having to consistently do other things and you get used to having this sort of high or this reward system. We are in a world that cannot focus at all these days. We have constant stimulation coming from so many different things. What happens is we go to get that dopamine hit from other things like eating. Now I find it even with myself personally, if I become lackadaisical in one aspect of my life where I allow something to consume me through dopamine hits, I find that my diet tends to suffer too. Now it may not be at a huge scale, but it’s enough for me to recognize.
Having a little bit of self-control breeds a lot of other different things. Self-control in one area of your life builds self-control in another area of your life. What you have to do is you have to remember how dopamine works. You need a dopamine hit from something because that’s where your standard is right now, so you need to substitute that out for something else. If you are right now checking your phone a lot, you’re going to the pantry because you’re substituting the dopamine hit from your phone or vice versa. So what you need to do is you need to come up with something that’s still gonna get you a dopamine hit. One of the things that I do is I count to three in my head. For example, if I find myself having the urge to do something that I feel might be an impulse reaction, I try to get my dopamine hit from saying one, two, three in my head. Why? I still get the same dopamine response. I still satisfy my brain’s pleasure centers and reward centers because I’m doing something, I’m taking action on a thought, and it’s bringing it into my mind and it’s releasing dopamine because I did something. I just did something healthier than picking up my phone or healthier than grabbing a snack.
This is how you maintain control of your life in everything that you’re doing. Again, whether you’re performing at whatever level, you need to be in control of your own actions. This isn’t just a video to bash checking your phone, we’re all gonna check our phones, but I want you to be aware of how every little action in your body that you’re seeking reward from or validity in some way is also affecting how often you reach for that food that you shouldn’t be reaching for. Or maybe the food that you should be reaching for, but just maybe in a little bit too much abundance.