What is the Dopamine Loop? I explain in detail in Yoga Mind, but simply put, the Dopamine Loop is your smartphone turning your brain into an addict.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a kind of chemical messenger, in our grey matter. It helps us find food, shelter, a partner, and information that could be useful. Dopamine is the YES! we feel when we score something we perceive as vital, whether it’s something to eat or tickets to Hamilton.
But information is just as valuable to the brain; it can tell us where to find more of what we need, or lead us down some interesting road. And what’s the biggest source of information? Social media.
Software engineers know our brains love dopamine. In a widely-circulated 60 Minutes segment called “Brain Hacking,” a software technician revealed that social media techs deliberately engineer apps and websites to give “rewards” that will wire your brain to want to visit early and often. (You probably also heard about the study revealing that many people under 30 reach for their phones before their partners first thing in the morning.)
In Yoga Mind, I talk about Yoga’s solution to the addiction of social media and smartphones. It’s not swearing off entirely and moving to a remote mountaintop, but it is a solution to a cycle that can feed depression and other issues. We may have learned to become addicted to social media, but we can un-learn it, too.
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