I recently watched an interesting 60 Minutes segment called Brain Hacking by correspondent Anderson Cooper. The impact of our modern day high tech gadgets on human behavioral patterns and health is discussed. Allow me share some personal takeaways from the wellness perspective.
- The giant high tech companies that we all know (and perhaps love), which I will not name here (but you know who they are), have their software engineers design their systems to capture users habits and advertise and direct you to form habits that they desire you to have. This claim was made by Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager.
- Psychologist Rosen and his team at California State University Dominguez Hills have found that when people spend time away from their phones, their brain signals the adrenal gland to produce bursts of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol triggers a fight-or-flee response to danger. While our primitive ancestors would be using it for primarily survival purpose, you and I are being regularly bombarded by cortisol in our body due to anxiety created by the small modern day gadget related events.
- Anderson Cooper visited the California State University and was hooked up to their system to monitor for his brain waves and cortisol hormone response. The monitor clearly showed a small amount of cortisol injection into the blood system by the adrenal gland every time his phone rang and/or he gave thought to who/what might the incoming message be.
- Some experts believe generally speaking we go through this level of anxiety every 15 minutes or so while away from the gadgets. Thus explaining most of us check and recheck our mobile devices so very frequently throughout the day to calm our nerves.
- Cooper and the 60 Minutes team found that teens are among the most susceptible to phone anxiety. “The early science suggests that heavy users of technology, of smartphones, for example, become very anxious when they’re not using the technology,” says 60 Minutes producer Guy Campanile in the video above. “Teenagers already are the most anxious people you’re ever going to meet, so when you toss into that mix a device that, when they’re not using, makes them anxious, it just ratchets everything up three or four levels.”
Is it a wonder why there are more and more of us having anxiety attacks (some small and some not so small)? In my previous blogs dedicated to stress, I discussed about how low-level but frequent occurrence of stress events can affect our cortisol levels and insulin production. The cortisol and adrenaline stress hormones play an important role in preparing us to fight-or-flight from an adverse event at the expense of creating a temporary imbalance in our body’s mineral (salt), insulin (sugar), and hormone (sex) levels. If we gave it a time, our body has ways to bring back to balance these important areas of our health. However, the problem is that before the balance is restored, another stimulating event takes place and triggering another burst of adrenaline/cortisol into our system.
What are you and I to do when these small stress events are a part of our “norm” lifestyle? I suggested several ways in the following blogs that you are welcome to read on further:
- Eat Healthy – http://www.healthyindeed.com/top-5-anti-stress-foods/
- Supplement to help to cope with stress – http://www.healthyindeed.com/8-amazing-stress-relief-natural-supplements/
- Learn and keep healthy anxiety-free habits – http://www.healthyindeed.com/10-habits-of-anxiety-free-people/
- Consider that cell phone of yours as a nerve-stimulating device, set a time every day to put aside that mobile device and walkaway for at least 1 to 2 hours or longer.
- Create habits and lifestyle to help you diminish any unnecessary stressful events of life no matter how small they are. That is, keep your life simple and easy!
To your health and wellness….