Posted on

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:

Posted on

Technology Diet (Pt 1)

Tech diet

Most of us need to cut back on using Technology.

We can’t escape it!  Sometimes, even if we tell ourselves or others to put the technology away…we/they are still thinking about it.  How many of us reach for our phones at stop lights?  How many of us can just do one quick thing on their cell phone or tablet without it leading to checking on other things?

Brain research tells us we need to a break from technology.  We need to sleep more/better, we need to reset our brains.  And just like with any diet, there are better ways to implement good technology habits in our lives.

There is definitely differences in the way each generation has grown up with technology. 

Each generation has been given a name (the names vary a little depending on the source), but here are the ones I’m going to use in this post:

GenerationBirth Year
Silent/Traditional 1925-1945
Baby Boomers 1946-1964
Generation X
(Lost Generation)
Net Generation
(First to have computer access)
(Internet, ipod, ipad, iphone)
Generation C
(Connected, creative, collaborative)
? 2000+

Which generation are you? I actually feel like I belong in Generation C because I’m connected, creative and collaborative…but I’m a Baby Boomer. And I’m hooked on technology! There…I said it. Admitting it is half the battle. However, I’m armed with tools that help me fight my struggle. These tools can work for you as well as your family and friends!

We actually need to reset our brains. We may think we are multitasking when we have our nose in our phones but we are not. We are only partially attending to the world when we are skimming Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube.

We all tend to have FOMO…Fear Of Missing Out. Who is liking our Facebook or Instagram posts? Let me look for a way to make a fun birthday cake on Pinterest. Have you seen how cute these baby kittens are? TIME OUT!

Even those in the Silent Generation (born before 1946) are hooked on their smart phones. I’m not sure if they are juggling a lot of social media sites like the iGeneration and Generation C but I still see them at restaurants looking at their cell phones while they are waiting for their meals to come to their tables. Its an epidemic and we all need help!

Surely you have felt it…the drain of brain power. You don’t really know things deeply…just surface level. For us in the older generations…Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation…we remember when there were only 3 major channels that came on TV, and they signed off at night. Our phone was attached to a wall and for the lucky ones, a 6 foot cord. That was the time that we knew things deeply. We had the time to work on things, learn things, think about them for a while. There were no distractions.

We need to only look back to that time to find the answer to our brain drain. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to live in a house without TV or WiFi. The thought of that causes a slight panic to rise…or is it nausea? And if you stop having WiFi at your house I’m pretty sure you won’t see much of your kids or grandkids!

Cartoon of someone leaving quickly when they find out there isn’t any WiFi .

What do you think it will take to get your brain to reset? What do you need to feel calm, peaceful and productive? What can you do that won’t alienate yourself from family and friends?

Technology Diet (Pt 2) will provide some specific activities to help!