You might often hear that “No news is good news” but it isn’t the case when we talk about recognizing mental health disorders. Those tend to be silent witnesses. People that suffer from depression and anxiety do not recognize so quickly that something is wrong inside of them until it explodes and manifest as external acts of aggression, sadness and suicidal thoughts.
What can we do to become more aware of it? Can we do something about it?
It is one of the deepest mysteries of human nature: with our thinking faculties and our capabilities to become over-conscious about life together with the speed of events happening around us, it is becoming more and more difficult to grasp and take back our ability to control our minds and our emotions.
I believe we have been losing our capability to become more resilient in difficult times. The progressive agendas in the era of hyper-industrialized and full-speed technological world is letting behind our human capacity to cope with difficult situations. It is simply too much for our brains to process and digest the vast amounts of information being received everyday by the little device we carry with us every single day.
The era of hyper-connectivity in all areas of our life is threatening our inner desire to be part of a small community. Slowly and dangerously, vast online network communities are replacing real personal connections. Some decades ago, it was unthinkable to have multiple contacts with vast amounts of people. Only our neighbours, school colleagues and family were the people we really had contact with. Now you are a click away from vast amounts of people in the social media world. But is this better? Is this an advancement towards a better and smarter civilization?
In many ways, it seems like it is. In the digital era, you can have everything available at your fingertips. On the other side, we train less our capability to be patient, to wait for proper and real human interaction. We become obsessed with superficial “likes” and attention, that lasts maybe a few seconds before the new feed shows you something new.
I believe that the increasing levels of anxiety and depression are a direct consequence of the new digital world that is being pushed towards us with high speed and which is not our natural human way of living. Therefore, it is important to take a step back and reflect on how much this hyper-connectivity to the online world is harming your mental health.
I propose these simple but powerful steps to reflect and gain back some critical thinking about how to use the online world more consciously:
- Recognize that you have an addiction to your mobile phone
It is a well-known fact that smartphone overuse is as addictive as any other drug. The apps we tend to use for social media interaction and other activities like shopping, gaming, etc. are designed to keep your attention as long as possible and as frequent as possible. Therefore, once you start to depend on the use of your smartphone for your daily activities, the higher the likelihood you will develop an addiction to it.
A well sound advice would be to go back to the old times when you just used your phone for making calls and use your laptop for everything else. Delete the apps that you know cause distraction. Try to stay a day or two smartphone free. You will realize that is not the end of the world- you will actually feel more calm and more relaxed!
- Make an effort to connect with your local community and meet your friends in person
Do you remember when you used to call a friend by phone and just talk for hours? Or go for a walk in the park, buy some ice cream and sit on a bench to observe people and have long conversations? Nothing the online world offers is more gratifying than that. A quick “like” or quick byline message gets lost in the enormous amount of info trash.
Go out, meet your friends, have some drinks and have fun the old-style!
- Do walks in the nature, swim in the sea or in a lake nearby
Direct contact with nature is a wonderful and natural anti-depressant. Just try it out- walk in a park barefoot and hug a tree. Close your eyes and see how this connection brings you a calming influence. Enough exposure to sunlight is a wonderful antidote against depression.
- Turn off the Wifi before going to sleep
Good sleep is key to maintaining a balanced and healthy mood. The increasing use of Wifi and the electromagnetic radiation soup to which we are exposed daily have negative consequences on our overall health, according to recent studies. Among the side effects of being exposed to EMF (Microwave electromagnetic frequencies) includes “oxidative stress, sperm/testicular damage, neuropsychiatric effects including EEG changes, apoptosis, cellular DNA damage, endocrine changes, and calcium overload”…
So, it is wise to avoid very long exposures to any place with strong wifi signals (be aware of 5G antennas!) and especially before going to sleep, turn off your wifi router.
- Talk about it and ask for help
I know it is very hard to talk to people when you feel down. If anything, we try to avoid people and feel like staying home watching tv at best. And sometimes that helps. But when you realize that you are feeling more and more down, it is time to reach out for help.