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Life Interrupted: The Modern Living Challenge

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You can't get anything done. You're always on the wrong side of every door. You struggle with issues of identity, love, and purpose. It makes sense you that you feel this way. You are living in a "privileged" environment where freedom-of-choice and distraction make mince-meat of meaning with every ping, blip, and screen message issued. There's a Mississippian inflow of chatter coming at us through our latest, best, most engaging tech, and its tickling our neurons TO DEATH!

Beyond the technology proliferation explosion, modern life is marred by the rise of conspicuous and excessive consumption, political and religious polarization, mass-migration, the divorce epidemic, and a host of other psychologically draining developments. With so much social upheaval one could easily postulate that things are going especially poorly for the society of humankind these days. A quick examination of the history of humankind, however, will refresh the memory and that people never get a break, but that doesn't qualify as comfort anyway. Boo!

Not everyone who seems to have ADHD has ADHD. Many people just have a harder time focusing because they're creative, intelligent, competitive, and have a BRAND NEW SMARTPHONE, SOCIAL MEDIA APP, ONLINE ROMANTIC INTEREST, AND THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS! Bounding thoughts and interests coupled with the demands of an online business universe make it neigh impossible to avoid thinking with one's thumbs. The dopamine released with every fresh screen-swipe is addictive, and the swipe-habit has burrowed itself deep into society's every activity. Studies indicate that this deluge of stimuli and perpetual disruption of one's focused attention likely does affect the brain. The stress hormone, Cortisol, for example, damages the hippocampus, the part of the brain that regulates memory and our emotions.

There's hope, though. Here are a few activities shown to reduce stress on the mind associated with tech-overuse induced stress:

-Take a walk in nature. Slow, meditative walks in quiet, safe surroundings help regulate the sympathetic nervous system.

-Read a physical book. Reading from a tablet is potentially fine too, just try not to complete sudoku in a second window simultaneously. Allow yourself the pleasure of being engrossed in an idea or a story without judgement or distraction.

-Unplug your external hard-drive. The smartphone that does so much work for you won't quit driving you to work and obsess as long as you are holding it. Take a tech time-out every day for a couple hours. Some wise people unplug for one day out of every week.

-Dance, darn you! Taking up an activity that is physically and mentally engaging and requires a bit of balance is so helpful to one's brain. Tango and Irish Step Dancing have proven beneficial to Parkinson's patients. Dance for your neuroplasticity!

With all the stressors we encounter in our day-to-day lives, we search for big solutions. I have only a handful of simple-solutions to suggest, but I do believe small changes can make a big difference. There are many good ways to unwind. I wish you all the best in your journey.



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