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why personal tech is depressing

Why personal tech is depressing

Highest level of depressing

We now enjoy levels of luxury that were once unthinkable. We can summon practically any book or movie from our phones without ever leaving our couches, and we can use an app to have delicious exotic food brought right to our door while we enjoy it. However, this convenience comes at a price that does not show up on your credit card account. We are more prone to depression because of our sedentary, indoor, and socially isolated lifestyles. The United States, the country with the most advanced technology on earth, also has the highest level of depressing. An estimated tenfold increase in mental disease cases since World War II affects three out of ten Americans at some point in their lives.

Although the use of antidepressants in the United States has increased 400% since 1990, depression rates have increased globally as well. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the primary global cause of disability.

No longer have to perform

We no longer have to perform the taxing duties that our grandparents did because of labor-saving innovations like Netflix and the Roomba. But even little things like vacuuming and returning videotapes can improve our well-being. Even light exercise can reduce stress and trigger the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, two potent neurotransmitters that support motivation and mood regulation. If we don’t engage in physical activity, our brain’s pleasure centers may become inactive. Rates of depressing disorders will probably increase as AI makes human activity more and more unnecessary.

Automation and labor-saving

Theoretically, automation and labor-saving apps give up time that we could spend at the beach or playing kickball. However, that isn’t usually the case. An evolutionary explanation for your propensity to lounge around after work is that we are hardwired, like our predecessors, to preserve energy wherever possible—to be lazy when no effort is required. Increased cortisol production, overstimulation of the neurological system, and chronic inactivity are all effects of excessive screen time. Cortisol aids in our short-term response to high-stress circumstances, but when it is continuously activated, it sets off the brain’s damaging runaway stress response, which scientists have identified as the primary cause of the depressive disorder.

Automation and labor-saving

A seemingly constant stream of texts, instant chats, voice conversations, and social media engagements makes it appear as though our cell phones should keep us more connected than ever. However, since cell phones have become so commonplace over the past ten years, the percentage of Americans who report experiencing chronic loneliness has increased from 15% to 40%. The psychological toll is more severe for people who don’t strike a balance between screen usage and face-to-face encounters. Only a small portion of the sensory experience we get during face-to-face interactions can be transmitted via text or video messaging. When we just communicate via technology, we miss out on in-person connections’ more complex physiological impacts and their ability to lessen feelings of loneliness and despair.

Few generations ago

A few generations ago, most of the time that people were awake was spent outside. We spend 93% of our time indoors despite the fact that direct sunlight increases the brain’s serotonin circuitry, guards against seasonal affective illness, and activates the eyes’ light receptors, which control the body’s internal clock and sleep cycles. Our bodies are unable to get the restful sleep they need, and our mood worsens. Furthermore, exposure to artificial lighting, particularly the blueshifted colors of flat screens, delays the body’s natural melatonin release, which induces sleepiness, until 45 minutes after we turn off the lights. As a result, sleep deprivation can both cause and worsen depression.

However, the so-called “unplugged” study from 2010, in which roughly 1,000 students at 19 universities across the world agreed to abstain from all screens for 24 hours, may provide the most compelling evidence of how technology affects our well-being. The majority of participants left the research within a few hours, and several of them disclosed withdrawal symptoms related to substance addiction. However, those who persevered through the early unpleasantness and saw the trial through to the finish discovered a startling array of advantages: greater calm, less fragmented focus, more meaningful conversations, deeper friendships, and a higher sense of mindfulness.

Manifesto for Luddites

This is not a manifesto for Luddites. A widespread disconnection is probably as possible as the discovery of Atlantis, as personal technology is here to stay. Fortunately for us, when used wisely, the same technology that is destroying our mental health may be used to lessen and even reverse the symptoms of depression. Sometimes the answer is right there in the problem.


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