How Lockdown Has Rewired Your Brain

Researchers have found a surprising correlation between video game play and higher levels of Dopamine, Cortisol, and neurotransmitters. This is the result of seeing a predator in the video game and the resulting change in reaction time. In addition, the article claims that un-social distancing resets the social homeostasis, while Dopamine helps us feel good. However, despite the intriguing findings, many of us may not know how lockdown has rewired your brain.

Un-social distancing resets your social homeostasis

During the last pandemic, social distancing was crucial to containing the virus. While the vaccine prevented 500 million cases of COVID-19, 15 months of isolation drained the minds of many people. As a result, 36% of adults experienced serious loneliness during the pandemic. Winter holidays likely made loneliness even worse. Researchers think that the key is learning to identify friends from foes.

As one of the most recent cases of influenza, many people have practiced social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from a sick person. In addition, hand-washing is essential to prevent the virus from spreading. Similarly, the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic is an example of social distancing. It is important to wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of the virus.

Cortisol levels correlate with immune function

A new study shows that stress levels and immune status affect decision-making ability. It was conducted in Italy during a rigid lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also found that the levels of stress and self-assessed immune function varied by age and gender. Women showed higher levels of perceived stress and more symptoms of stress and immune dysfunction than did men. Despite these differences, the findings support the hypothesis that immune dysfunction may impair higher-order cognitive functions.

Stress affects the immune system, particularly the white blood cells that fight infections. These cells secrete chemicals called cytokines to communicate with other white blood cells and provide feedback to the brain. Some of these chemicals may increase inflammation and contribute to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. The immune response is impaired when cortisol levels are elevated. Inflammation is another factor associated with COVID-19.

Dopamine levels correlate with mood

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that increases assertiveness and social support. It’s also associated with higher socio-economic status and perceptions of social support. When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to seek out rewards and reward ourselves with dopamine. Having a goal, then, can be a tough task, but when it’s achieved, we feel great.

To boost your dopamine levels, create a new learning goal. This new learning goal can be anything from expanding your knowledge in your current field of work, or learning an exciting new skill that could create a secondary income stream. The key to making the most of a lockdown is to do something active to get the dopamine levels going. Try learning something new and exciting at home. If you’re not up for going out, find some active activities to do in your spare time.

Dopamine levels are also related to our level of curiosity and information-seeking. We were more likely to seek information and be curious if we felt lonely during the COVID-19 restrictions. This may explain why some individuals find it easier to be curious than others. While trait curiosity is a good predictor of mood, it’s not always as accurate as other measures. Despite this, state curiosity is a good indicator of daily well-being.