Do you feel like you’re addicted to texting? You might be, and lots of people are, and don’t even realize it. The trouble is that we live in a technology based world; we have constant stimuli assaulting us at all times, but sometimes it’s necessary to shut it down.
There are millions of cases of people out there that are addicted to technology, in fact, one recent study found that as many as 72 percent of cell phone owners text and that’s up seven percent from last year. Why is it called an addiction? Because according to Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychologist, if you can become obsessed with it and it can cause you to miss out on doing other things that you need to do, then it’s an addiction.
Take the case of a Chicago cop that is suing the city for time that he spent using his Blackberry after work. The amount? Two years of over time pay. There is another case of a Staten Island, N.Y. woman who fell down an open manhole because she was texting and walking.
Some people are even finding that they are experiencing problems with the tendons that connect the thumbs to the palms of the hands, and that’s just the beginning of the problem. Why it happens is another matter entirely, and according to Susan Weinschenk, PhD, it has more to do with dopamine that people realize.
It turns out that dopamine doesn’t just cause you to feel pleasure; it also causes us to seek pleasurable things out. It makes you desire, seek, search for and want these pleasurable things. Dopamine is what causes you to strive to achieve goals, and it is likely what encourages us to stay connected with the cell phones and other electronic devices.
It is this hormone that causes us to want to text, tweet and check our Facebook pages so often. Dopamine keeps us checking our emails for that positive response, and since all this technology offers a potential for immediate gratification, we can easily become “addicted” to them.
There are ways that you can stop this from happening, though, and it’s for the good. Only send texts out when you absolutely have to, don’t use them as tools for conversation. Save things you want to say to the person you might text, and give them a call when you have time instead.
Know when it’s time to shut the phone off, or leave it behind. We all want to have our cell phones with us when we go somewhere, but turning them off is not a terrible thing. Not answering a call or a text when you’re enjoying designated family time will likely not kill the sender. Don’t let that text from a client or your boss interrupt your personal time. Enjoy what you’re doing and answer when you have a chance.
In a sense, we are addicted to texting because we allow ourselves to be. The world will not end if a text goes unanswered, and sometimes it’s healthier to disconnect and spend time with real people.