Surviving the Electronic Evolution
Modern technology at work makes accomplishing tasks easier than ever, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
We have automatic calendars and task managers, instant contact with our clients and customers and access to unlimited knowledge faster than you can say “Google.” But the upsides of technology also come with some downsides to our mental, and physical, well-being.
The Invisible Threat
The more connected we are to technology, the more separated we are from human contact, stressed by the fast pace and overloaded with information. The fact is that our bodies have not evolved to the point that an artificial environment is healthy for us. Depression and fatigue are raging among people who spend hours on end with technology; more than 11 million people take medication for depression, and many more with a depressive illness never seek treatment. They may find it difficult to concentrate on work, and feel guilty or anxious. Sometimes they don’t think it is serious enough to get help.
Being glued to your computer screen causes your senses to become weaker, which affects mental health, according to Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” in his fascinating book Last Child in the Woods. In 2012, a Swedish study found that frequent computer and mobile phone use causes stress, depression, sleep loss and fatigue. Even social media, meant to connect people, can be mentally harmful; a German study done in January 2013 discovered that Facebook leaves one in three users feeling stressed, lonely, jealous and unhappy with their own lives.
Disconnect to Feel a Connection
One of our biggest challenges is that we never “log off”. At work, get away from the phone, your desk, and the computer. Go out to lunch with your co-worker or friend and don’t talk about work— enjoy the food you are eating! Just talking and eating together can reduce depression and fatigue. I also recommend going for a walk outside at lunchtime. Going for a walk (especially in the sunshine), even 30 minutes a day, can be more effective for depression than medication.
Many nutritional deficiencies can worsen depression. Try to get plenty of the following nutritional support for good mental well-being:
– An overall multi-nutrient supplement, like a good multivitamin, can help keep your body and mind balanced.
– Omega-3s in oily fish—like salmon and tuna—contain EPA and DHA which play an important role in brain function. Have at least 3-4 portions of oily fish a week or take 1 tbs. of fish or flax oil a day.
– B vitamins and magnesium are critical for all-around mental health, including mood and memory.
With the evolution of mankind, technology has become a necessary evil. However, it does pose a threat to our health and should be held to the same standard as other indulgences— moderation. Now that I’ve said my piece, and you’ve read it, let’s both push back from the computer and take a break from the modern machine staring back at us.