Putting Down Your Phone May Help You Live Longer

A look at the connections between device use and hormone levels in our bodies. Specifically, Catherine Price is examining connections to dopamine and cortisol.

Dopamine is neurotransmitter that is viewed by popular culture and the media as being “the main chemical of pleasure.” But, recent research in pharmacology suggests that dopamine may instead be connected to motivational salience. This is a cognitive process and aspect of attention that motivates us to act toward a particular outcome, object, or event.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone, is produced as a response to stress and low blood glucose. Among other things, it works to suppress the immune system, aid in metabolism of fat, protein, & carbohydrates…as well as decreasing bone formation.

The thesis of this post is that our devices, and their associated notifications, keep us constantly on alert. This “hypervigilance” is a constant worry about social media blasts, emails, or other nuisances.

Everything that we do, everything we experience, can influence our physiology and change circuits in our brain in ways that make us more or less reactive to stress.

Bruce McEwen – Head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University

SOURCE: The New York Times

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