by Caesar R. Cabral, Jr., - Wellness Coach - Lake Nona
Given the complexities of modern life, it is all too easy to fall victim to some form of digital
distraction. The ease with which we have access to e-mail correspondence, shared calendars, teleconferencing, video conferencing, internet, and the myriad of news and social media platforms has created a near-existential crisis that truly no one could have predicted even a few generations back.
One such modern health epidemic born out of the rampant use of technology is digital dementia, which is essentially a sensory mismatch in the brain from overutilization of technology and excessive slouched sitting posture. We are spending so much time looking down at our smartphones that we are suffering from sensory dissociation where the back of the brain is overactive and the front of the brain is underactive. The symptoms associated to this malaise include short-term memory loss, social seclusion, lack of movement, anxiety and depression, balance disorders, and uncoordinated movement patterns.
Worse still is the result in children, which are suffering from developmental delays as a result of the excessive amount of time spent on modern gadgets. According to zippia.com, Americans are checking their phones on average 96 times per day or once every ten minutes. To put things in perspective, approximately 86 percent of the global population uses a smartphone, which is nearly 7 billion people across the world. In terms of website traffic, approximately 60 percent of all website traffic in the world comes from mobile phones, as of 2022.
Another byproduct of the pervasive usage of the smartphone is the negative impact it is having in terms of performance and productivity at the workplace as a result of attention residue. Research has established that by frequently switching between e-mail, social media, and your primary activity you hurt the efficiency of your performance and outcome of said activity.
The collective addiction to the smartphone can best be explained by the term continuous
partial attention, which is a term established by ex-Apple and Microsoft consultant Linda Stone. She explains that by adopting an always-on, anywhere, anytime, place behavior, we exist in a constant state of alertness that scans the world but never really gives our full attention to anything. We can handle this condition in the short term, but in the long term the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol create a physiological hyper-alert state that is always scanning for stimuli, provoking a sense of addiction temporarily assuaged by checking in to the smartphone.
Given the addictive qualities spurred on by our adopted behavior of constant accessibility to the smartphone, the first and perhaps most important recommendation that we should consider implementing into our daily protocols is creating block-out periods throughout our day to the smartphone.
In line with this recommendation is to create what is often referred to as a distraction-free zone, essentially a dedicated space whether at home or in the workplace where you block out all manner of external stimuli to really focus on your primary tasks and objectives for the day. In order to build these protocols into your day, the recommendation is to discern what are your peak hours for creativity and productivity and then ensuring that you carve out this same time blockage every day to work on your most mission-critical projects.
The benefits of meditation or attention and awareness training cannot be understated as far as aiming to not fall victim to distractions. Allowing for periodic check-ins throughout your day using meditative practices is critical in discerning where your headspace is at as well as your emotional space. Being distracted essentially means that we do not have the ability to fully focus our attention on something due to something else, whether the smartphone or any other form of distraction. Without some manner of awareness, we could easily wind-up spending hours of our day simply scrolling through social media, which ultimately will lead to a loss of motivation and self-worth.
Another useful tool to consider in combatting the modern distraction epidemic is to consider the challenge-skills ratio. This concept is capturing the notion that when we do hard and challenging things, we maximize our skills, and we have less susceptibility to being distracted. Whenever we fall into routine and take on the attitude that what I am doing is easy and requires minimal effort, getting distracted is more likely.
The number one commodity for us all is time, inescapable time. In aiming to lead missional and purposeful lives, the last thing that we want to do is donate our valuable time to worthless causes, such as building someone else’s social media platform through likes and follows.
In considering the implementation of these digital distraction tips, frame your efforts as an investment towards your brilliant future, your piggybank to success. With every added protocol shielding you from digital distraction and the baseline addiction to technology, you are one step closer to the life you have always envisioned. Your incredible future is in your hands!
About Our Village Contributor
Inspire A Movement
Lake Nona Resident & Wellness Coach
Inspire A Movement, Inc. is an Orlando (Lake Nona) based health and wellness company founded by Caesar & Sandra Cabral, which specializes in the organizing and provision of community wellness events, such as the quarterly Wellness Mini-Retreats, weekly Yoga On The Lawn, monthly Yogi Brunch, international wellness retreats (in Costa Rica), event planning, and health and life coaching services.
Visit with Caesar Cabral who will be presenting at an upcoming event!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Village Connect by 3rdArm, Inc.