(Participant) I have a question regarding the use of cellphones and how it generates dopamine and how is it in some way effects our meditations, our ability to meditate (Dr. Joe)Excellent question! The question was, to repeat it I want to know the effects of cellphones on our brains and how it effects our dopamine levels and you know I raised three kids and you know kids use technology! And I was saying this when I was talking to some of you this morning over a cup of coffee. That, that if your children are using cellphones for information and basically we are information, that’s all we are and they’re accessing information they way they do and they’re using their cellphones in all kinds of ways for stimulation, there should be a period of time where they were able to set it down, just like for you. And if you can’t break your romance with your cellphone then it owns you. Would you agree? Because that’s what keeps you connected to networks, socially that kind of social conciousness is… is… is… maintained through networks and it feeds us, because we love tribe, we love culture, we love connection but it’s got to be done with discernment so what happens for people is, if they didn’t break from it and go from a narrow focus to a broad focus like they get out in nature, go hike go get out on a boat I mean open your focus and look at the sunset. You don’t think that creates alpha in your brain? Ha ha it does. Nature does that. The resonance the human’s constance is the exact 7.8 frequency of alpha brainwaves entraining us to connection. So, when they’ve done the research on cellphones, video gaming, to start with, they said to these kids: “hey listen, here it’s how it’s gonna go: you guys wanna make some money? What do you think the kids said? “Yeah!!! Let’s make some money Yeah”! Is that “Ok “We’re gonna get you involved in a video game and then we’will ring a bell and you have five seconds to stop. If you stop in five seconds we’ll give you a dollar and we are just going to go as long as you embody your own long way” Do you know that none of the children, none of them were able to stop. That’s how, that’s how addictive it is. So the research shows then that when you begin to blow somebody up or you shoot someone or you get a text you know that’s an important text to you there is a release of dopamine in your brain a pleasure chemical, reward chemical is released but if you’re overdoing it and you’re playing a lot of video gaming and you’re blowing something up, blowing someone up or breaking through some level, or doing something the reward systems are being activated in your brain and you start releasing too much dopamine all at once. And that burst of dopamine into the brain is more than the receptors sites have to handle it, you understand what I’m saying? Come on! So then the over amount of dopamine is not being absorbed by those receptors, the receptors close down it’s too much, then they become desensitized it’s like living with the spouse that always yells at you the have to yell a litte louder to get your attention, the next time you need a little bit more now to turn it on the next time.
Does that make sense? So then the pleasure chem…the pleasure centers start recalibrating to a higher and higher level! It takes more now to turn them on. You have to do a bigger burst to get them stimulated. Are you with me still? So the pleasure centers start recalibrating to such a high level, that now the person needs the game, needs the phone, to feel something! To make that feeling because in the absence of any stimulation they experience a loss of pleasure do you understand what I’m saying? They become desensitized to pleasure… so a walk with your dog go tell a kid to go see their grandmother, watch a sunset, just way to slow… They’re over stimulated. Are you with me still? That’s called anhedonia. you can’t find pleasure from anything Anhedonia. Does that make sense? Now what happens, is this is the scary part is that learning should be a reward by itself Yes or no? But if you just blew up a nation and you’r going to school and your brain is shut down, it can’t get stimulated, by information, there is only one way you’re going to stimulate it, and that’s you gotta arouse it How do you arouse it? Get in trouble! Act out. Do something dumb. Get some attention. Just so you can arouse the brain. The child doesn’t know they are doing, releasing epinephrine norepinephrine just for an arousal but they are doing it and when they do that they’re actually shutting blood flow further down, in the forebrain Now, here’s the problem: when that child gets older and they face challenging situations in their life they’re going to look for something else to make the feeling go away and it’s going to be something bigger. You understand what I mean? They’re not gonna wanna realize that they can do it themselves. They’re just going to go to another chemical, something bigger so then hm that… that… that.. dependency that’s created from technology has to be inhibited at certain times I just have certain things that I do now, like I I don’t take my cellphone to dinner. I very rarely take my cellphone to dinner. I just don’t, don’t want to disrespect anybody at the table. That’s me. I wanna connect. That’s why I can connect any other time. I sit at the table I wanna connect with you. You’re right there! I wish to connect with you and not with somebody else! And now in my home after a certain time I put my phone in my bedroom. Doesn’t mean, if I wanna use my phone I’m gonna leave the rest of the house and go to my bedroom after a certain time cause I’ve been making thousands of decisions every day… I just wanna be able to disconnect from technology. Are you with me still? And so then if you keep shifting your attention from one text, to another text, to another text to another email, to another Facebook… What are you practicing? You’re actually practicing a short attention span and the rush, the rush of the dopamine combined with the short attention span becomes a very short attention span Are you with me still? And now the person doesn’t wanna learn. They do wanna be stimulated. So the solution of course, is exactly what we`re doing in this work. I joke around all the time and I draw a picture and it says: where you place your attention is where you place your energy outer world of physical reality inner world of thougts and feelings And then I draw a line where your attention goes every day. Your cellphone, your WhatsApp your Linkedin, your Instagram, your Facebook your pictures that you put on Facebook, you know your email, your computer, your other email, your job your co-workers, your boss, your enemies, your ex, your husband, your wife, your kids, your ..all there is your face, your pain, your disease, your diet this is where all people’s attention is, now, none of those things are bad. But there is a neurological network assigned to everyone of them. And when you learn how to disconnect from your cellphone, now you’re saying that it no longer owns you. You use it as a tool instead of as a something that stimulates you. How many people understand that? So it takes practice. I mean you have to be able to navigate in a world of technology. I mean we have so much technology in my company now, I mean I’m always learning, about it, and it’s, you know it’s faster than me – it’s a big deal. But we cants lose our connection to the earth we can’t lose our connection to one another when we are sitting in the presence. I mean I don’t know about you, but in the United States sometimes I I … I… can’t believe I’m sitting in a restaurant and there’s four people sitting at a table and all four of them are on their phones… nd they’re having dinner together. I’m thinking wow that must be a really deep conversation you guys are having over there – are you texting one another, what are you doing? Sending each other links? I mean Connection is so important! and physical connection is important! So, we have to balance it out and you can recalibrate those pleasure centers by finding pleasure in other things like with what you’re doing! And there’s nothing wrong with dopamine it’s just you can’t overdo it, cause you know, you’ll get kidnapped you literally get kidnapped by technology. umm, remember that, remember that remember that book called Future Shock? I don’t know, and there was a movie, that Orson Wells did He was young, and it was in the seventies or something, anyway I had to read it, when I was in college or high school or something And the author reached out to me and said hey, I’m doing a thing called After Shock and I’ve been familiar with your work. Are you wanting to write an essay? And I wrote an essay about just what we talked about And he said: ” I love this! This is.”..cause we’re victims to the very technology we created. Isn’t that crazy? It is crazy, if you think about it… So you gotta be able to use it but you gotta be able to disconnect to it and stay in balance.