There is no doubt that in a new era where just about everyone is immersed in technology is changing the way humans operate. On a very basic level, it’s important to understand that human beings were never programmed with the intention of engaging with entirely artificial and digital worlds. But given the complexity and advanced intelligence we as human beings possess, it’s a testament to our ability to adapt and utilize new technologies and stimuli to our advantage.
This is why when we look at the modern world, so many people question whether or not technology is reducing or adding stress to people’s lives. As the University of Gothenburg proved in four separate studies recently, there is no doubt that new technologies, both those on and off the internet, are contributing to increased levels of stress. And while sure, there are certain applications that can ease our day-to-day life, overall, the expansion of this technology has opened so many new doors that otherwise present human beings with the psychological exposure that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen in previous eras when this technology didn’t even exist to begin with.
We obviously don’t want to belittle and bemoan all tech advances. In another post I actually wrote about some must-have technology hacks and upgrades designed to ease your workday stress. When we’re done with work and with family and friends however, that’s where the tech should take a bit of a backseat. Don’t be the guy screwing around with Snapchat when a live body is in front of you trying to have a conversation – that is the worst.
The Modernization of Isolation
Undoubtedly, one of the most depressing (literally) aspects of technology is its tendency to force human beings into isolation. And while human beings are willingly accepting this isolation, there is no doubt that by proxy, you cannot operate or utilize a lot of this technology without willingly putting yourself into those situations. For example, in order to play a single player online role-playing game, one must be alone to do so. So while it is a free choice to buy, download, and play the game, the user cannot change the way the game is played. The user has no other option than to play a game that forces them to dedicate a considerable amount of their time and energy into upgrading and improving a fake avatar rather than interacting and facing reality. And just the same, although social media applications feign the interaction with fellow human beings, it is being conducted in an artificial way. There is a screen between the two parties, versus a face-to-face interaction, which itself has become more stress for many people as younger children and adults struggle to communicate as adeptly as past generations.
As social creatures this means that we are naturally prone to becoming depressed and stressed out, and for many people, they don’t realize that the progenitor of their stress is their usage of this technology rather than going out for a walk or breathing fresh air. But sure, there are fair arguments to be made that in certain cases we now have increased ability to reduce stress thanks to modern technology. We can order items online rather than having to go out and purchase them, a mother can check on her daughter as she goes out to the movies thanks to her smartphone’s tracking app, and a myriad of other benefits these technologies can provide. I myself am a huge fan of both yoga apps and meditation mp3s to reduce stress. But overall, as human beings continue to interact with new technologies, the growing pains and consequences of enjoying and using them will continue to rear their ugly heads from time to time. The more you employ tech in your daily life, the more mindful you need to be about creating a stress-alleviating counterbalance to it.