Slowing down in the modern world can feel next to impossible. It may only be for a few hours, but the effects can be significant, and so necessary.
This is in light of recent research finding that modern technology may be changing us more than we realise. These are just some of the ways our very smart technology may be shaping the way our brains work:
1. We have reduced attention span
As many of us may have suspected after we’ve spent 15 minutes toggling between 6 different apps on our phone instead of checking a message as we’d originally intended, our attention spans aren’t what they used to be. Some data suggests that our attention span is just 6 seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish’s at 9 seconds.
This is down from the lengthy 12 seconds we used to be able to pay attention for back in 2000.
2. We aren’t sleeping as well
We know it’s bad for us, but checking your phone “just one last time” before bed is impacting on our sleep more than we realise.
Studies show that not only is it resulting in us taking longer to drift off to sleep, it’s also affecting our quality of sleep.
This not only makes us a grump at work the next day. Lack of sleep can also lead to high blood pressure and weight gain, not to mention a variety of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
3. We’re more depressed
Not only is a lack of sleep contributing to the development of depression, the very use of our phones may be too.
Research suggests that the social comparison that comes with accessing social media may be leading to increased incidents of anxiety and depression.This is due to our natural tendency to compare how our lives are going with that of our neighbour’s.
The result is often a feeling of inadequacy or worthlessness, and potentially an increase in anxiety and depression.
4. We are forgetting more
Technology is affecting our memories in more ways than one. Not only is it constantly inundating our brains with information, it’s also working as our brain’s ‘external hard drive’, meaning we’re not having to remember as much. Added to this is it leading to distraction which impacts our ability to form memories.
The result? Our memories are not what they used to be, or even what they are for our parents’ generation.
5. We are more lonely
Studies have suggested that there is a correlation between those who use social media and feelings of loneliness.
Whether loneliness leads to increased social media use or vice versa is unclear. What is obvious is the resulting connections made online often being less meaningful than a face-to-face alternative.
Although this is a lot of doom and gloom, it’s not all bad news. Modern technology has allowed for an explosion of resources to be made readily available. These could be used by anyone suffering from a disability, to those who are seeking to improve their mental health.
Despite this, it can’t be denied that with modern technology, our lives are feeling more fast-paced than ever. With that in mind, there is certainly no harm in giving our brains a break and switching off, if only for a little bit.
Get in touch to find out how The Mind Room can teach you practical skills that you’ll actually be able to use in everyday life, focusing attention in the present moment and how to practice mindfulness using meditation and everyday activities.