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Why Social Media and Content Can Be Addictive: The Science of “Happy Hormones”

There’s no doubt that social media and content can be addicting. We’re constantly checking our phones, refreshing our feeds, and seeking out new content to consume. But what is it about social media and content that keeps us coming back for more?

One possibility is that social media and content activate our “happy hormones.” Neuro-economist Paul J. Zak discovered, and scientifically proved, that social networking triggers the release of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. Dopamine, endorphin, and oxytocin are all neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasure and happiness.

“E-connection is processed in the brain like an in-person connection,” Zak said. “Your brain interpreted tweeting as if you were directly interacting with people you cared about or had empathy for.”

When we see likes, comments, or shares on our posts, our brains release dopamine, which gives us a sense of satisfaction.

Similarly, when we view content that makes us laugh or feel good, our brains release endorphins, which lead to feelings of pleasure. And when we interact with others online, our brains release oxytocin, which is known as the “cuddle hormone” because it promotes feelings of bonding and closeness.

So it’s possible that we’re addicted to social media and content because it makes us feel good. But it’s also possible that we’re addicted because we’re constantly seeking out new ways to trigger these happy hormones. We’re always on the lookout for the next great piece of content that will make us laugh, feel good, or bond with others.

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It’s important to note that not all social media and content is created equal. Some content is more likely to trigger our happy hormones than others. For example, content that is funny, heartwarming, or visually stimulating is more likely to trigger dopamine release than content that is dull or boring. Similarly, content that is physically demanding or challenging is more likely to trigger endorphin release than content that is easy or effortless. And content that is interactive or social is more likely to trigger oxytocin release than content that is solitary or passive.

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So if you want to create social media and content that will keep people coming back for more, make sure to create content that is funny, heartwarming, visually stimulating, physically demanding, or interactive. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to trigger those happy hormones and keep people coming back for more.

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