ON THE BEAM –   

OCT. 2021 – Dopamine balance can be complicated. Along with the feelings listed above, dopamine is also the “just one more” hormone. It can become too much. This is part of the reason why people struggle to stop after one cookie, one video game, one Instagram Reel or one episode of a favorite Netflix series. Because we perceive this behavior as pleasure, our brains want to keep it going. Too much dopamine is associated with drug and alcohol addictions, binge-eating, gambling, ADHD, anxiety, anger and aggression. Too much, simply put, is too much.  We are living in an extremely stressful time. The fear that COVID-19 has created, and the social isolation that has resulted, has propelled our brains into reward-seeking overdrive. Our need to keep our physical distance from one another has made people turn to their electronic devices for pleasure and connection. Zoom meetings, social media and streaming TV shows have become the norm. TikTok, Instagram and Facebook have replaced social gatherings. We now do IG and Facebook Lives instead of attending events, and have our exercise classes and meetings streamed through Zoom.  Although there are many positives that have resulted from these behavior changes—like accessibility to people and events that physical distance may have made impossible—they come with a dark flip side. The problem is that when we are on the internet, there are no limits. We can scroll all day long, and we do. As a result, our brains are being tipped into the “too hot” side of reward-seeking behavior. 

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