21st Century Problems: Technology and Depression

In the early days of electronics, the notion that a computer could one day perform calculations as fast as the human brain seemed awe-inspiring. Now, in many ways, they are already processing information at a level that far surpasses even the most intelligent minds. Data can be gathered from every corner of the globe in mere seconds; so long as we are within reach of a phone or computer, we are all tethered to an unbroken line of communication with the world.

This interconnectivity is almost always billed as a sign of tremendous progress, and, in many ways, it is. It enables us to learn, grow, and develop our understanding of the world beyond our physical environment. There is, however, a devastating side effect to this progress, and it is one that has already made a significant mark on the world in just a few decades.

From the strain our minds are under to comprehend endless feeds of information, to the impact blue light has on our mood and sleep patterns, and the devastating new levels of EMF to which many of us are exposed twenty-four hours a day, the prevalence of technology is taking a distressing toll on our mental and physical health. The result is an unprecedented rise in cases depression among people of all ages and walks of life, and a conservative estimate of 264 million people currently suffering.

Blue Light

Our natural sleep cycles, or circadian rhythms, are largely influenced by the existence of blue light; like the sun itself, it is naturally present during the daytime, and gradually fades at dusk, signaling to our brains that it is time to slow down for the day. Unfortunately, our computer, tablet, television and phone screens are all guilty of emitting a constant stream of artificial blue light.

Looking at our screens is undermining our bodies’ natural rhythms, and driving them to a state of confusion, making insomnia an increasingly common affliction. Although you may know that it is night-time, your primal brain is rather more like moths drawn to a lightbulb; it cannot differentiate between the natural and the artificial, and the result is incredibly detrimental.

Of course, sleep is vital to our ability to maintaining mental wellbeing. Without following a natural cycle, our brains are put under tremendous stress in a way that previous generations were never able to experience.

EMF Radiation

EMF radiation is everywhere, and not only does it pose innumerable risks to our physical health, it can wreak havoc on our minds. It causes our bodies tremendous stress, to which the body responds as it would any other attack; it drains our energy, disrupts natural hormone production, and, often, anxiety and depression occur as a result.

Men, women, teenagers and children are all experiencing significant disruptions to their mental health. The market for antidepressants is expected to reach almost $16 billion in the next three years, but that does not give us the full story; there are likely to be many more people who disregard or ignore symptoms, and never receive a medical diagnosis.

What’s more, the use of antidepressants risks masking the issue, rather than getting at the root cause, which is that our modern habits are taking a severe toll on our health, and personal EMF protection must be a daily priority for all.

Exercising Caution with Technology

In the last ten years alone, our reliance on electronics and wireless technologies has grown exponentially, increasing our exposure to blue light and EMFs in ways that our bodies – and current, mainstream guidelines for safety – never intended.

We need to instigate better habits surrounding our use of technology now, rather than waiting to see the full extent of toll it will take on our minds and bodies. Most of us cannot entirely give up on modern technologies, but we can mitigate their impact. We can introduce zone protection into our offices, utilise cell phone radiation protection, make a constant effort to distance ourselves from our laptops and phones wherever possible, instate a ‘switch off’ time well before we go to bed, and prioritise our health over maintaining an unbroken connection with the world.

Modernity and interconnectivity have given us many advantages over previous generations, and enabled us to progress very quickly in a matter of years. What we must always remember, however, is that we are the first generation to live in a world led by this technology – and that, although progress is fast, our minds and bodies are not so quick to adapt.

The only successful advancement is one which allows us, and our planet, to thrive; if we cannot ensure our safety – physical or mental – then we need to find another way.



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