Depending on the study, the Internet and social media can have addictive properties comparable to many drugs. OPEN Forum takes a closer look at the science behind why you seem to instinctively reach for your phone when bored:

brain scan study by researchers in China shows that Internet addiction can cause brain changes that are similar to those seen in the brains of alcoholics and drug addicts. Being addicted to the Internet may well be the same as being addicted to cocaine. There’s no doubt that information overload, the wide array of technology gadgets in our life and involvement with social media fuels some anxiety as we try to keep up with the digital barrage.

And how to cope…

One tool Hanson recommends is mindfulness, which, simply put, is being steadily aware of something. Mindfulness, as Hanson reports, has been shown to thicken cortical layers in regions of the brain that control attention so we get better at attention itself; it also increases activation of a region of the prefrontal cortex, which helps control and reduce negative emotions that can cause anxiety.

Read the rest of the post at OPEN Forum, this month’s sponsor of Workbook.

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