Are your thoughts an addictive behaviour?

The overthinking mind can be experienced as over analysing, being hyper critical, worrying, being unable to let go of personal behaviours or others behaviour, being stuck in the past or too much though in the future as well as day dreaming.

In Chinese medicine, we have been taught that overthinking will affect the digestive system. As science progresses, they are now aware of the area in the brain that is responsible for thinking. This area is called the ‘basal ganglion.’ There is now plenty of research which shows that this area of the brain is overactive with people who have Alzheimers and dementia.

Science also has a better understanding of why there are addictive behaviours/thoughts. Addictive behaviours are stimulated through the dopamine pathway. Dopamine is the satisfaction neurotransmitter which is a chemical the brain releases like serotonin. When there are addictions such as smoking, alcohol or drugs, the dopamine pathway is used and stimulated. There is more and more research being discovered on the alarming effects that social media, computer games and internet porn has on on children and teenagers. Not only are all three avenues easily accessible, they all provide visual stimulation that feed the dopamine pathways. Therefore every click on Facebook, is one extra satisfaction click for the addictive dopamine pathway. The problem with internet media, is that one cannot ‘overdose’ on Facebook or instagram unlike overdosing on drugs and alcohol. There are also no withdrawal symptoms related to social media and gaming unlike the withdrawals that are experienced from smoking and drugs; there will only be a lowered dopamine stimulation.

As we always promote in our clinic, learn to breathe properly and effectively, keep your nervous system in tune and down regulated through acupuncture, meditation, mindfulness and continuing to practice being present. Without these practices in place, it is so easy to let the mind wander and to talk to ourselves like we are talking to another person. When the mind is wandering, we are allowing our automatic nervous system to look after our breathing. If our automatic nervous system is or has been overloaded this can be detrimental to ones health. Visit our clinic to down regulate your nervous system and learn about the miracle of mindfulness!

Written by Jonathan Yang, Acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Director of Life Synergy

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