About six months ago, I challenged you to unplug at least a couple hours a day or maybe, if you were brave, to make an entire day “tech free.” The comments varied—from people saying it was helpful and would accept the challenge to many others who said there was no way they could create boundaries when it came to their devices.

This latter group interested me, and I decided to look deeper into the research being done on technology addiction.

If you’re one of the many who cannot go to sleep without first checking Facebook or Twitter, this is for you.

Do you understand what is actually happening in your brain? As with other addictions, dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for pleasure, is released when someone “likes” your status update or mentions you on Twitter. And, just like other addictive substances, the dopamine release is short-lived and leaves you craving more. In essence, we’ve become a bit like Pavlov’s dogs—every time our phone sounds an alert, we’re on it instantaneously, despite what else we might have going on at the moment.

This leads to an issue I am seeing with increasing frequency in my therapy practice: Real world personal relationships being negatively impacted by virtual activity/addiction.

Many clients are expressing frustration—it seems their partners are more interested in what’s happening online than in actuality. The issues range from never feeling fully heard or seen (because the person they’re baring their soul to is simultaneously “listening” while instagramming their meal, because who can live another second without seeing another kale salad or heart-shaped almond milk foam on a cup of organic fair trade coffee?) to more serious conflicts that include infidelity, gambling, porn obsession, and cyber stalking to name a few.

This Tune Up Tip is more of an inquiry into getting real with yourself on how much you need your devices and how much of your feelings are determined by what is happening on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the impact technology and, more specifically, social media is having on your relationships. Drop a comment below and share on Facebook and Twitter (ironically enough).

I hope you have an amazing week and, as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love
Terri

P.S. Check out this music video spoof on Instagram obsession if you feel like a little chuckle 😉

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  1. My partner has this addiction…he has to have his laptop open and the tv on at all times. I attribute most of this to his ADD; however, it makes trying have conversation with him very difficult. He needs the immediate and constant stimulation…I’m learning to understand this as part of his condition and not something to do with me. I have Generalized Anxiety and fear of abandonment, so this is a daily struggle for me. I’m learning to focus on my feelings and realizing that I often react to my fears, how his actions or inactions trigger my fears. This has been a difficult journey for me but one I so need to make…my well being is dependent on it. I’m so glad I found your site! Thank you!!

    1. Michele, how empowering does it feel when you remind yourself that his ‘addiction’ is not something to do with you? But you also have the right to want his undivided attention at times. This is where couples learn to compromise. It seems like you have a helpful understanding of why his behavior is a trigger for you. I am so glad you found the blog and my site helpful. Keep coming back and connecting with us on what is working for you. May I suggest affirming your strength and willingness to heal? And always remember to take care of you

  2. I feel like I am actually pretty addicted (silly admittance but true). It is also the #1 complaint my partner has. I can definitely relate to this article and even though I am a social media professional for a major company, I need to learn how to shut off and enjoy real world with real people. I truly see the importance of doing so but sometimes fall into the trap of technology repeatedly. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂

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