Don’t Be A Slave To Technology

iMac computer on white desk in bright lit room

Hooked On Apps

With modern-day technology right at our fingertips, it can become very easy to fall trap to an addiction. Whether it’s dating apps, gaming or binge watching Netflix all day, everyone has a tendency to surf the border between a normal experience vs. a pathological one. This is because technology does a great job at targeting our reward center in the brain known as the nucleus accumbens. This is where the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, making us feel good!

It’s very difficult for us to step away from technology because it’s so prevalent in our lives. Unless you decide to go live in the great outdoors somewhere in Colorado or Montana, you’re going to be surrounded by technology whether you like it or not. Unless you decide to live without cable, internet or even a cell phone, then you’re going to be surrounded by technology. It’s scary to say but there’s almost no escaping it!

So what can we do so that we don’t feel enslaved to it? We have to harness the willpower within us to balance our lives. Consciously, we know that we need to make a change but we often lack the strength to do so. It’s easier to succumb to our habits of relying on technology because it provides instant gratification, on a conscious level and all the way down on a neurochemical level. Minute amounts of dopamine release is enough to keep us engrained in our daily technological habits.

The willpower that I am talking about involves putting aside your technological habit and replacing it with something else, whether it’s for 5 minutes or a couple of hours. The replacement obviously should be something not related to technology, such as reading, exercising, socializing, etc. Most people fail at this point because they realize that they should be doing something else, but end up just doing what is easier; in this case, technology.

It’s quite a challenge these days to get involved with activities that don’t incorporate technology, especially as it continues to rapidly evolve. Honestly speaking, it sometimes feels like a virus that surrounds us 24/7. This virus might be more deadlier than COVID-19; it might not kill you, but it certainly has the potential of psychologically harming you over many years to come. How about the young man who committed suicide after he found out that he owed $750,000 dollars on Robinhood after an unsuccessful investment? But let’s not view technology as a virus because it seems too gloomy to do so, but it is food for thought!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why The Human Brain Loves Drugs

Asian man laying on steps outside with eyes closed listening to music

Drugs Were Created To Entertain The Human Brain

For anyone who has ever used a drug, you know very well why the pleasure is reinforcing on many levels. You don’t have to be a drug addict to appreciate the pleasure that a drug provides and you don’t have to use something as strong as heroin to understand the nature of drugs. Something as simple as drinking coffee can help you understand why substances in general are addicting.

Substances or drugs, whatever you’d like to call them are very reinforcing because the human brain lacks them endogenously; in other words, it doesn’t naturally create them. Sure, we have endorphins which are released when we experience physical pain or great physical exertion, but that doesn’t count because it’s released only when the brain wants it too; the brain is not programmed to release these chemicals as a way of kicking back and getting high.

So when the brain is introduced to an exogenous substance, it tells itself, “Hey! This is interesting . . . I kinda like it! Let’s get some more!” This reaction is most likely universal, whether it’s in relation to food, drugs, sex, coffee, chocolate or anything that is external and excites the brain. Usually, the greater the pleasure that is associated with an external substance or act, the more the brain becomes susceptible to seeking and craving it.

The brain is not as powerful as we like to believe; if it were, there wouldn’t be drug addicts, sex addicts or gamblers in society. The brain is actually quite weak when it comes to pleasure. Let’s consider an example as simple as having sex: when someone hasn’t had sex in over a year and are suddenly presented with a natural occasion of good sex, they will immediately seek it again the following day or a few days later.

This is because after not having sex for over a year, the act of having it yesterday has reawakened your part of the brain that was missing the physical sensational pleasure; in this case, sex. So your brain tells you, “Get some more of it! Do what you have to do to bring her back! Let’s go, what are you waiting for?” You see how child-like the brain is? It’s the soul within you that has to tame your brain and tell it, “Hold your horsepower! It might take some time before sex can be achieved again.”

And your brain either listens or not, causing you to make a mistake in your human interactions or playing it cool and attracting your mate for another joy ride. The human brain is not as mature as we’d like to believe it is. It goes through a lot of trial and errors in life, including drug experimentation for some. But for those who don’t tame their brain, they become victim to an addiction.

Drugs were created to entertain the human brain but they’re not a good form of entertainment for all humans. There are some people who are strong enough to control their use, while many fall victim to an addiction. It’s very multifactorial on who is prone to developing an addiction; it’s based on environmental triggers, personality, experience, perception, socioeconomic status, genes, etc.

At the end of the day, the human brain needs to be tamed but the question remains, “Are you the one in charge of your mind?”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Using Music To Escape Reality

Black portable Nixon speaker next to two pineapples on sand

Replacing Alcohol And Drugs With Music

The difference between drugs and other sources of pleasure is that drugs bring along a whole baggage of negativity which you constantly have to monitor for. Once has to obtain the money for the drug, get the drug itself, enter an appropriate state of mind to use the drug, hide the drug use from family and friends and attempt to function while maintaining a relationship with the drug. But did you know that you can utilize music to escape reality?

With music, it’s a much simpler process which can be enjoyed anywhere and at anytime. But drugs are much more complex and people easily lose control of their drug use. Many people use alcohol and drugs to escape their reality:

  • Dealing with an eating disorder
  • Dealing with depression or anxiety
  • Dealing with PTSD or OCD
  • Dealing with breakups
  • Dealing with a divorce
  • Dealing with bullying or cyberbullying
  • Dealing with the loss of a job
  • Dealing with a scary and disappointing medical or psychiatric diagnosis
  • Dealing with deaths
  • Dealing with insecurities
  • Dealing with a bored state of mind

. . . and the list goes on. Music can be utilized to bring peace of mind in all the situations listed above. What music to listen to comes down to your tastebuds, but genres such as ambience, psychill and trance are very good at relaxing the mind, making you think about life and helping you to escape reality.

Some of you are probably thinking, “I don’t have patience with music. The only time I have it on is in the car or maybe when I’m at the gym.” There’s nothing wrong with the above scenarios, but to really make the most out of music, you have to find a quiet and comfortable spot and dedicate some time of your day to really flow with it.

Flowing with music involves relaxing in a comfy position in your home or in nature and just getting lost in your thoughts. Allow the melodies to massage your mind and your thoughts to flow like the wind. Try closing your eyes and entering a meditative state with the background music soothing your ears, while sparking your imagination.

Not only will you feel good about yourself by remaining sober from alcohol and drugs, but you will come to appreciate what music can really do for your emotional and mental well-being! With the right genre playing on a consistent basis, music can become your new escape, especially during times of stress.

Don’t underestimate the power of good music. Utilize this source of pleasure more often and just drift with it; allow it to give you wings to your mind and flight to your imagination! Allow music to set you free from your troubles. And on a positive note, music doesn’t provide withdrawal effects, depressive and anxious states or trouble with the law.

But music can get you high and what is better than a natural high? Don’t fly by this one. Give music a chance.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Addicted To Addiction

Closeup photo of green and white signage of person running towards arrow and door

Warning: Addiction Territory Ahead

No matter the amount of pleasure that some people seek and receive, it never seems to be enough. Either more of where that came from is their thought process, or they seek a new form of pleasure. Not every source of pleasure is derived from a substance, but all sources of pleasure have the potential for inducing an addiction.

Why are some people more prone to developing an addiction? What is an addiction? Why do we feel the need to provide ourselves with pleasure? These are all fundamental questions that need to be answered in order to better understand ourselves, and the decisions that we make in our everyday lives.

An addiction is a state of mind that involves a person becoming dependent on a source of pleasure. Dependence is a state of relying on or being controlled by something. People can be dependent on alcohol, drugs, sex or even other people, known as dependent personality disorder!

Some people are more prone to developing an addiction because it has a great deal to do with their personality traits and genetics. If their relatives had addicting personalities, there’s a high chance that their genes were passed onto them; genes have a great influence on personality. Some people also enjoy pleasure more than others: what might be “fun and cool” for one person hitting a fat J, might be “amazing and dope” for another.

The “amazing and dope” person could be that one person who develops Cannabis Use Disorder, Severe. The same applies with sex, eating, gambling and any other type of pleasure that happens to be very reinforcing. Reinforcing means that you want it over and over again, because of the intensity of the pleasure; your behavior for seeking a particular activity is credited, strengthened or reinforced with pleasure.

We feel the need to provide ourselves with pleasure because it’s human nature to feel rewarded and happy. Without pleasure, life would be mundane. Depression and suicide rates would probably be astronomically higher than they already are. But keep in mind that pleasure can also lead to a mundane, depressing and suicidal state of mind!

At the end of the day, pleasure is innate in all of us. We need pleasure to survive. But what we don’t need is that invisible line that we are all susceptible to crossing over into addiction territory. You’ll never actually see the line, but you’ll be bombarded with warning signs and flashing lights! When this happens, stop and return back from where you came from. It means that you’ve overdone it with pleasure.

Don’t overdo pleasure; it’s much sweeter in moderate amounts.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Lust Epidemic

Lusty woman wearing blue lingerie

Don’t Get Locked Into Lust

It seems that nowadays, relationships have taken a slip and sexual encounters a trip; people want sex! And they want it now. Values and morals are being sacrificed for instant gratification and pleasure; say goodbye to dignity. Welcome to the age of lust, where a strong sexual desire prevails.

As society keeps moving forward with improved technology and on demand access, both men and women are sacrificing meaningful relationships for the single life. It has become easier to get “your fix” and “ghost on.” Why is the divorce rate so high? Even if people are getting married, they are ending back at square one.

With cam models, porn and sexting available at peoples’ fingertips, the concept of delayed gratification has been replaced with “today’s gratification.” Some people are so addicted to porn that they call it their “second job.” Sexting has become so convenient that one doesn’t even need to meet up in person anymore.

And cam models, well . . . they’re cam models. They want you to pay them to appear on their web show, and in return, they allow you to have sex with them; absolutely no emotional connection whatsoever. Everything is strictly business. It seems as if there is a floating spirit named the “whore of Babylon” and she is not planning to rest anytime soon.

When you sense that lust is creeping into your life, seek God for assistance. He can help you get rid of this sin from your life. But as with any sinful action, the more you partake, the harder it becomes to hold yourself back. And lust is no easy sin to get rid of, especially after it grabs a strong hold of you.

If you are single and find yourself lusting after women or men, then go and find yourself a preoccupation that can distract you from your fleshy desire. There are many activities that can help take away lust, but you just have to find the strength and desire to seek them.

As with anything, discipline paves the way for a happy and successful life!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)