If you could free yourself from your anxiety, would you do it?
What if it meant you had to cut off everyone?
I mean everyone.
I’m not saying you should blame your phone for your stress, but I am saying you should use it as a barometer.
If we have enough to be excited for, not a lot, just enough, we work hard for getting what we want out of life. But when we aren’t excited about our lives, we turn to something to hold us over. Where else can we get our fix of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin? The phone.
To prove my point I’ll use a tiny theme park for rats.
Welcome to Rat Park!
Your every ratty desire can be met here, my furry friend! We have plenty of running wheels, soft bedding, and not-quite transparent plastic lego-looking houses to sleep in. Did I mention you’ll be enjoying Rat Park with lots of other rats? Lots of other rats of the opposite sex?
Lots of opposite-sex rats YOU CAN HUMP ALL DAY!? These rats, just… just wait till you see them. They’re incredible! They can just go like on and on. It’s nuts. Anyway, let the natty-ratty romp/fun/sex-fest commence! Oh, just one more thing. There are two water bottles that we drink from in a super cute way for the humans. One has water, the other has liquid cocaine. OKAY ANYWAY, have fuuunn!
This was a real experiment done by Dr. Bruce Alexander in the 1970s. He wanted to understand how the environment impacted addiction.
All of the rats in Rat Park? They drank water. They actually hated the cocaine water.
But when Alexander put the rats into cages alone without the amaze-balls rat park? The rats would repetitively drink from the drug-laced bottles. They were on the streets turning tricks in less than a week.
Actually, they drank cocaine-laced water until they all overdosed and died. “Like pigeons pressing a pleasure lever, they were relentless, until their bodies and brains were overcome, and they died.”
We have this odd man who drugged rats to thank for understanding ourselves better.
Listen, I’ll be the first to tell you that drugs… are FANTASTIC, but only when there’s nothing better to do instead. Most vices rarely appeal to most of us when we are working on something meaningful, learning new skills and growing, and then going to bed really tired from all of that and sleeping great.
And that brings us back to airplane mode.
Turing the phone off won’t inject meaning and power back into your life, but it can give you a real shot at finding those things. Could you LOVE learning Spanish? Or hiding the fact that you’re reading the first romance book that you’ve read in years? Make music? Debt-free? Scheduling game night with friends or family?
So, will the phone kill your stress, or even cause it? No, but it can tell you when you’re stressed, lonely, not living in or creating a life that you’re excited about. And simple things like the above can play a huge part in getting back to feeling good.
A good life is almost like drugs. It’s a lot slower of a burn, but instead of feeling withdrawals when you come down, you can feel gratefulness instead.
Go have fun.
Long Live Rat Park.