Brain atrophy is no joke.
Over 7 hours a day are spent by people flipping through their Smartphones or checking messages and updates, according to a study conducted by UCLA. Another shocking survey by Kaspersky Lab revealed that 44% of 1000 surveyed participants said their Smartphones served as a source of their memories.
At every corner of the street, you can see the sad reality of the Digital Age. People are too busy scrolling through their feeds rather than paying attention or engaging in conversations.
The question is: Why are we so dependent on tech? The answer lies in the culprit: Dopamine Addiction.
Your Happiness Drug
Dopamine is the brain chemical which is released whenever you experience pleasure. Cooked a pizza for grandma? Get compliments and your dose of dopamine. Finished homework early? Get good grades, more dopamine.
It drives our behaviors and motivates us to do well. The reward is after completion of the work. But with technology and social networks, it’s the other way around – instant gratification. We no longer work towards our goals but get the rewards directly in a few taps, foregoing the effort to attain them. This desensitizes brains and leads to brain lateralization or another term for – imbalance between the left and right hemispheres.
For example, can you remember your best friend’s birthday or your uncle’s phone number without going on Facebook or looking up Google? If you answered no, you might have a case of ‘Digital Dementia,’ a term coined in 2012 by German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer. Stress, technology addiction, and modern lifestyles are responsible for the cognitive decline most people experience.
Your Brain, Plugged Back
When you rely on tech too much, you literally unplug your brain. Multitasking isn’t cool; it shortens the attention span. Distraction breeds lowering levels of IQ and a lack of focus.
The good news is, these things are reversible.
For starters, healing the brain begins by limiting cell phone or tech usage. This means no checking phones or exposing your mind to blue light before going to bed and after waking up. Spending time exploring and observing nature and sitting down trying to recall events of the previous days are known to help. Organically recalling information and not using tools like calculators or devices to do computations force the brain to create new neural connections, thus improving short-term and long-term working memory. Nutrition plays a vital role in the healing process too.
Making sure you avoid processed foods, sugars, and salts, and consuming a healthy diet loaded with fruits, nuts/seeds, vegetables and incorporating key nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Omega -3 with EPA and DHA are key towards long-term but gradual cognitive performance improvements.
Memories are like stories and what good is a character with no stories to tell?
The adage: Use it or Lose It, stands true for the brain.
If those mental muscles aren’t flexed, they simply deteriorate which translate to a fading memory.
There’s no magic cure to healing and reversing the damage. It takes time, and that is a fact, like it or not, which has to be accepted by everyone.