Smartphones have become almost as common as a toothbrush in U.S. households.
Nearly 95% of adult Americans own a cellphone. That’s 240 million cellphones buzzing, vibrating, ringing, and distracting.
We have become increasingly and alarmingly reliant on our cellphones for not only information but stimulation. They have become the “digital drug”. The compulsion to constantly grab our phones is located in the subconscious mind. These unhealthy patterns of thought have become ingrained in our brain over time, the more and more we use our cellphone.
Hypnosis allows us to change those negative thinking patterns, the automatic thoughts that compel us to check our phones and replace those thoughts with more helpful habits. Hypnosis helps us to release the deep, subconscious attachment to our phone and social media. But more on this later.
How do cellphones affect us negatively?
- They affect how we think. Research has shown that our phones adversely affect cognition, the process of acquiring and applying knowledge through thought, experiences, and the senses. A study in the Journal of the Association of Consumer Research found that cognitive capacity was significantly reduced whenever a cellphone was within reach, even when the phone is off. It is also rewiring our brains to constantly crave instant gratification. Social media provides the user with inconsistent positive reinforcement, similar to gambling. More on this dopamine affects later.
- They affect our eyesight. There has been a great increase in myopia(nearsightedness) since our screen time has increased, especially in children. Disrupted sleep. Sleep experts warn that the type of light emitted from your phone screen is messing up your sleep cycle, even after you’ve turned off your device.
- Lack of social-emotional skills. People no longer need to speak or interact face-to-face. This has had an even greater detrimental effect on children who don’t know life without a cellphone. Crucial skills of speaking and interacting with other humans is becoming extinct. The lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to depression and isolatio.
- Social media addiction. We have become drugged by social media apps, making us vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption. These apps can cause the release of large amounts of dopamine into our brains’ reward pathway all at once, just like heroin or meth. The brain is then plunged into a dopamine-deficit state as it attempts to adapt to the unnaturally high levels of dopamine that social media just released. This is why social media often feels good while we’re scrolling but horrible as soon as we stop. Social media has been linked to anxiety and depression, especially among teens.
- Wasted time. Think of even more productive things you could be doing during these wasted hours of scrolling and looking at your phone.
Why Young Brains are Especially Vulnerable
Between the ages of 10-12, changes in the brain make social rewards, like compliments on your clothing, start to feel a lot more satisfying. Receptors for the “happy hormones” oxytocin and dopamine multiply in a part of the brain called the ventral striatum, making preteens extra sensitive to attention and admiration from others. Adults have a more mature prefrontal cortex, an area that can help regulate emotional responses to social rewards.
Part of what makes online interactions so different from in-person ones is their permanent and often public nature. After you walk away from a regular conversation, you don’t have a clue if the other person liked it, or anyone else liked it…and it’s over. This is not the case on social media.
Instead, kids and their friends, and even people they’ve never met can continue to seek, deliver, or withhold rewards in the form of likes, comments, follows and views. Often what kids see is not reality, leading to body image issues, depression, and bullying.
Hypnotherapy and How Does it Help Phone/Social Media Addiction?
Research has continuously shown that hypnosis is an effective option for a variety of addictions and negative behaviors. During hypnosis, we reach a very relaxed state physically, but are hyper-focused mentally. We are able to bypass the conscious mind and tap directly into the subconscious where these negative feelings and habits are stored. In this state, we provide the subconscious with new information and more helpful, productive ways of thinking. In this trance-like state, the subconscious is so in tune and willing to learn, the information we provide can override existing thinking patterns(neural connections).
Hypnosis puts up a roadblock to old unwanted ways of behaving and thinking and makes us more aware of the unconscious urge to pick up our phones.