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Technology Diet (Pt 2)

I tried to build a case for needing a Technology Diet in my previous post Technology Diet (Pt 1), but it shouldn’t take much convincing!  

It might not be too much of a surprise that a few new techno-neuroses have entered into our ‘always connected’ culture. Ringxiety and Phantom Vibration are 2 phenomenons being researched. A person is said to have ‘ringxiety’ when they confuse the sound of their cellphone with another, similar sound in the environment. Actually, I think the ‘xiety’ part is when there is anxiousness connected to the mistaken ring. Phantom Vibration is when someone feels the vibration of cell phone when it is not vibrating. (You may want to read more about Ringxiety and Phantom Vibration.

This is probably a good time to mention that having a neurosis from the use of technology, is a serious issue! A technology diet is not necessarily meant for someone who is addicted and/or has severe anxiety if they can’t use technology. This post is not meant to diagnose or even help ‘cure’ technology addiction. If you or someone you know shows symptoms of being a tech addict, please seek medical help from a reputable Behavioral Psychologist.

If you would like to try to find the balance between technology and real life…be able to think deeply about things again, actively listen to conversations and even get a good night’s sleep, then try out some the calming activities listed below to see if they help to ‘reset’ your brain.

These calming activities don’t take long (minimally 5-10 minutes) and for the most part they are free and enjoyable. Some might say old fashioned.

They are especially helpful for transitioning from heavy use of technology (30 minutes or more of your mind focused on technology) to real life activities (such as driving, attending a meeting at work, actively listening to conversations, being creative and making something and more). Heavy use of technology differs for each person, but a good rule of thumb is using technology such as gaming, skimming Facebook, Instagram, or other social media as well as YouTube and Pinterest or just texting people while you are trying to get other work done, etc…for more than 30 minutes without a break.

Ready for some calming activities? What these activities have in common are that they use different parts of the brain than what is used when we are focusing on technology! The pre frontal cortex of our brain is responsible for, among other things, quick decision making. Think about it…how many quick decisions do we make when skimming Facebook or playing a video/online game? While meditation actually allows the frontal cortex to ‘unplug’ or chill out, thus allowing you to unwind and feel calm. If you aren’t into meditation (you really should be) there are other activities that use parts of the brain that allow you to calm. Here are some good ones:

  • Learning a foreign language (example) ** Even if you are older, the benefits of learning a second language are tremendous, including warding off Alzheimer’s.
  • Looking at art (example) ** The enjoyment and act of creating art typically activates the right hemisphere of the brain, again giving the frontal cortex a break.
  • Laughing (examples) **releases endorphins which give you a natural high and even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Talking to a friend (4 positive comments to every negative) or even a pet can release oxytocin, endorphin and dopamine…more natural highs
  • Walking in nature (even virtual)example)**) Walking in general can help creativity. Walking in nature (hiking) decreases activity in the pre frontal cortex.
  • Practicing a musical instrument (example)** improves blood flow to the left hemisphere which gives you a boost of energy!
  • Meditation (example)** helps the pre frontal cortex to unplug and relax and allows you to be present in the here and now.
  • Yoga (example)**helps to calm and relax your brain.
  • Movement (Go Noodle (example)**) brings more oxygen to the brain as well as releases good feeling hormones.

**Even though I included links to websites for examples of some of the calming activities, it might be even better if you didn’t use technology to take a break from technology…know what I mean?

You can read more about how these activities affect the brain from these websites: