Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Switch off your technology to have a fuller life?

The advancements in technology, over the past decade, have been immeasurable but at what price to our self-esteem and life experiences?

Recent research has demonstrated that the introduction of Twitter and social networking sites such as Facebook have resulted in shorter concentration spans among users and has made us more impatient and dissatisfied with the pace of normal life. While 60% of the population crave to be constantly stimulated, it is not surprising to learn that many of us live life on autopilot, walking down the street plugged into an iPod and reading texts on a phone, completely oblivious of anything that is actually going on around us.

The University of Michigan’s Brain Cognition and Action Laboratory has also identified that the idea of multi-tasking is a myth and that the brain has inherent limitations for processing information. This means, despite consuming more information than ever before, our ability to retain it is worse than ever and we are, therefore, feeling less fulfilled than in the past.

In addition, the vast volume of information confronting us, dulls our sense of excitement
and de-activates our emotions with regard to that information. The human brain, according
to the University of California, needs 6-8 seconds to respond to a story which requires us to react with a feeling of emotional pain and, although that may seem fast, it is enough time to sift through 20-30 Twitter messages, without registering any of them!

It is obvious that huge positives have come out of technology, for example, keeping in touch with friends and family all over the globe and having a constant flow of information available with just a single touch of a keypad. It is, however, important to step back once in a while and “de-tech” in order to live a more enriched and engaged life. Studies have shown those who step away from the gadgets show an increased blood flow to the frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory, problem solving, decision-
making and planning.

And as Sharmash Alidina, a Mindfulness Trainer says, “You only get one moment in life to truly enjoy something and so many of us are missing out on those moments due to distraction”.

(Stylist, 23 February 2011)
First published in Homeopathy Healthy Medicine, March 2011

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