25. We Have Reduced Abilities to Feel Pleasure
Anhedonia refers to a reduced ability, or even inability, to experience a pleasure. It is because of the same reason why people who begin using drugs need higher and higher doses to get the same effect. Tolerance is the brain’s ability to become used to new input and stimuli, whether drugs or new hobbies. The initial rush of joy you get will likely diminish over time as the chemicals produced by your brain adjust and level out regarding the new experience. Much as with drugs, overdoing a pleasure providing behavior can also cause tolerance and reduce the ability to feel much at all.
Spending much of our free time online – whether we are doing online shopping (mostly as retail therapy), checking email, or updating our social media to get new “likes,” comments, and shares – is hijacking our brains in the same way that drug addiction hijacks an addict’s brain. We need higher and higher doses of stimulation to get the same feeling of pleasure. The dopamine provided by a similar level of positive online feedback will naturally adjust and lower over time, necessitating more and more shopping, posting, commenting, scrolling, etc., to get the same level of excitement, fulfillment, and joy.