SCIENCE & TECH: I tricked my brain out of its phone addiction — here’s how
If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your phone when you should be working — you’re not alone.
Self-described productivity guru Arsia Sasha, 30, shared a tip on his TikTok account to trick your brain into being more productive.
Sasha, who creates content to help people stay focused and achieve their goals, said he also falls victim to the addictive lure of checking his smartphone.
“Whenever I wasn’t actively working on something, I would just lose my focus entirely, grab my phone, and then I would be derailed for the next 15 or 20 minutes,” the market strategy and operations professional said in a TikTok video posted last month.
On average, Americans check their phones 144 times a day, according to a survey from Reviews.org. People spend around 4 hours and 25 minutes daily on their phones which amounts to a whopping 65 days or two months a year.
Sasha, who is from California, explained why people are drawn by their phones, and how they can teach themselves to stop.
“What you’re going to notice is that this is pretty much just a habit, which means that this was something that you have ingrained in yourself over and over and over again,” Sasha said.
The reason checking your cell phone is so addictive is because it gives the brain a surge of dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure. The phone also serves as a readily available crutch for when your brain doesn’t know what to do next.
“Typically what happens is that you’re working on something you don’t want to or don’t know how to proceed on,” he said.
“Your brain doesn’t like uncertainty, so it goes, ‘Uh, uh, what am I going to do now?’ Then it sees your phone — dopamine hit.”
Sasha said next time you feel the urge to stare at your tiny screen, try this “scientific brain exercise.”
“The next time you get the urge to grab your phone, you’re going to stop yourself, and you’re going to trick yourself,” he said.
The “trick?” Sasha explained: “You’re going to tell yourself that you’re going to grab your phone in about five minutes, and then really you just keep working.”
He said the simple hack will help people realize that the “urge” to check a phone “isn’t that great.”
“You get stronger and stronger at building a resistance to just grabbing your phone, and so then, you built a counter habit,” he said.