IPhones and Cortisol

Until recently, much of the research about the impact of electronic devices on our health has focused on the release of dopamine, a major neurotransmitter associated with addiction.  However, there has been a shift in the research looking at the effects on an important hormone, cortisol.   

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Our bodies DO need this important hormone to kick in our “fight or flight” response in response to a physical threat.  However, in today’s society, we are no longer running away from saber-toothed tigers, where the cortisol would naturally be depleted.  Rather we are often sitting glued to our phones with thoughts of gloom or obligation — or we are reading threatening information that does not show the total picture.  This behavior triggers a stress response and the corresponding release of cortisol.  Because of our addiction (the perceived need to constantly check our phone, supported by dopamine release) the stress is ongoing and leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels.

How can one manage the treasures and liabilities of modern technology?

  • Take phone (and other electronic devices) breaks

  • Spend time each day in the natural elements – sun, fresh air, green trees and plants

  • Consider adaptogenic herbs such as ashwaganda, holy basil, lemon balm and rhodiola (after speaking with your healthcare professional)

Julie Freeman