A Squirt of Dopamine August 7 2012
30 GHD sit-ups
225 pound Deadlift, 30 reps
95 pound Overhead squat, 30 reps
A Squirt of Dopamine.
Last week’s issue of The Week featured a cover story titled “Technology: Is it Making Addicts of Us All?” The article highlights the psychological impacts of our obsession with technology including cell phones, computers, the internet, texts, and emails. The details are scary:
“Research shows that constant use of these devices is actually rewiring the physical structure of people’s brains. Every time your phone, tablet, or computer pings with a new text, tweet, or email, it triggers a sense of expectation, and the reward centers in your brain receive a pleasurable “squirt of dopamine.” Over time, a brain habituated to these quick fixes shrinks the structures used for concentration, empathy, and impulse control, while growing new neurons receptive to speedy processing and instant gratification.” (The Week, August 2)
After thinking through a typical day I was shocked at how frequently my cell phone derails my day because of a text or email I see at a time I don’t need to be checking my device. Why do I feel the need to check my device immediately before the start and at the end of every event, meeting, class, or workout in my day?! Answering emails while I brush my teeth? Lame. Texting someone back while I’m warming up to workout? Dumb.
This morning I got up at 5:45am with my family to go on a 12-mile hike up to Dick’s Pass in Desolation Wilderness. Mom, Dad, my brother, Eric, me, and four cell phones piled into the car. On the way there it occurred to me that I had royally messed up payroll. Freaking out on the drive there I contemplated skipping the hike, taking my cell phone, or going back to our cabin to get my computer. In the end I broke down and called my sister-in-law hoping she could help me out, which she did (thanks Stef).
Feeling the need to make sure it was all ok I thought about taking my cell phone with me. And that’s where I drew the line and turned off my phone and left it in the car. Sure, I could take some great Instagram pictures, sure I could get a text from Stef saying everything was ok, but that’s not how today was supposed to be.
CrossFit was never supposed to be about instant gratification. In a small comforting way, at the very least, we know that every hour we spend at CrossFit is helping to counter those “neurons receptive to speedy processing and instant gratification.”