Screen Stress: Part 1 of 3
In this 3 part series, we will explore the effects of screen stress on the body and mind. We’ll discuss ways to avoid behavioral addictions associated to screen stress. And, we’ll evaluate ways to maintain a healthy gaze. Technology has its place and purpose, and when used properly, can bring calm.
Have you noticed your gaze today? Did you catch yourself in that sacred bond you and your screens share? We gaze almost as if the screen comprises more value than the human being next to us. Screens are required in 2018–no denying! Screens are needed tools that help us shoot for the moon. Also, they help us learn and create new orbits in our social, familial, academic and professional lives. However, they can also create stress.
Screens keep our gaze: from news to ads, calories burned to savings, entertainment to navigation to who liked my post. Our expectations are rising for our screens; to attempt what once seemed like an impossible feat. We can conquer 10 decisions in 3 minutes. While at the soccer field, parents can reply to emails, pay bills, schedule appointments, book a trip to Disneyland and Snapchat the game. In the boardroom, we are in 3 time zones and the screens at our fingertips resemble options, decisions, even power. Therefore, we have achieved Mark Weiser’s 1988 goal: ubiquitous computing would change things. Computers exist everywhere. We are more dependent on screens than ever.
The Stress of Screens
The paradox of our round-the-clock efforts to make our lives easier: stress is not on the decline.Our constant connectivity defies what our brains can handle! Screen stress dysregulates (disrupts the normal function of a regulatory mechanism)our mind and body.
Amidst the innovation, arousal, stimulation, the speed of delivery… did convenience, rest and ease get lost somewhere? Our attention span seems to decrease with every new device. Our verbal and nonverbal communication skills are wafting away along with handwritten letters. Productivity is pressed because our brains shift attention away from important tasks several times an hour.
Here it is, my companions of 2018, our brains have learned to check our screens constantly. Our train of thought is interrupted because our sophisticated brains are now trained to check these based on existing patterns. Interrupted to the point of distraction every 8-15 seconds.
This need to check the screen is causing stress.
- Did we expect to change our attention span, decreasing it from minutes to seconds?
- Imagine that our Tech Necks would place an additional 20-30 pounds of stress on our cervical spines?
- Do our friends or colleagues whether they prefer emojis over words?
The Impact of Screen Stress
Two of Mark Weiser’s goals for ubiquitous computing include:
- The computer would be acting for us as a quiet, invisible servant
- Technology would create calm
Mark Weiser endeavored that technology would “inform but not demand our focus or attention.” Oops! We took it further than intended. We do that!
High-resolution immersive technology is making us angry, impulsive, isolated, aggressive and less empathetic. Kids admit, “I do yell at my parents when they talk to me while I’m on the computer.” Desk ridden staff won’t move from behind their screens – yet, they feel stuck. Young adults and adults alike are paralyzed by hanging moments requiring discussion. Our modern habits are corrosive, changing mood, cognition, and behavior. The lights and stimuli from screens stress our anatomy, and screen time causes repeated stress on the Central Nervous System. Excessive screen time confuses the body and dulls our spirit over time. Repeated use often results in obsession and compulsion of great variety.
How to Avoid Screen Stress
In its brilliance, the Central Nervous System responds to the screen stress we bring to bear. It prepares us to protect our lives, face fear, heal, solve personal or civic problems and scale enormous challenges. Every cell and system has a purpose, relying on our brain and spinal cord to muscle up new resilience in a screen-reliant society.
Implementing right brain activity can get us back on track from screen stress. We need time away from screens for music, sports, art, puzzles, cooking, to name a few! Look up from your screens!
You are in charge of your body and mind.
In Part 2, we will look at how technology and screen stress can rob us of self-efficacy and limit self-regulation, and what you can do to take back control.
You can do this! Life is better with less stress.
Stay connected, stay motivated and chances are you will enjoy a happy, healthy, less-stress life! To learn more, contact us or call 714.375.1110
D’Amore Healthcare is a dual diagnosis and substance abuse addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA.