Why is it so hard to stop scrolling, and what can we do about it?!
Cellphone use has been shown to trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine plays a huge roll in pursuit, motivation and reward. The problem? Well, dopamine seeks more dopamine, and with our neurotransmitters, what goes up, must come down. So, when we’re on our phones, we get a dump of this rewarding, seeking chemical—which feels so good—and we seek more and more of it, only to crash harder and harder after disengaging from our devices as our system returns to homeostasis. This can feel uncomfortable, and may lead us to further turn to our phones for relief and numbing, thereby creating a powerful reinforcement cycle.
This compromises our attention spans, increases our need for instant gratification, and moves us into our limbic system (processing emotions) and out of our pre-frontal cortex (planning, reflecting, problem solving, and developing.)
So what can we do about this? Control how rewarding and dopamine-releasing our phone is. My favorite way to do this is by turning it to greyscale to make it less of a dopamine-releasing machine.
With the iPhone, go to: Settings, then choose Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Color Filters. Turn the Color Filters toggle switch on, and Grayscale appears as the top option.
Check out this Wired article for how to do it with other devices: https://www.wired.com/story/grayscale-ios-android-smartphone-addiction/