Ever since humans discovered fire, we have been looking for ways to make things easier and better our lives. These types of technological developments are described by some anthropologists and sociologists as the single-most important driving force in the progress of human civilization. Communication technology, in particular, guides the development of other advancements.
Simple alphabet systems allowed early societies to communicate through writing, which eventually led to the development of postal systems that helped people to keep in contact over long distances. The 20th century brought us major developments in communication technology, such as the printing press and the telephone. These inventions were the stepping stones leading to the way we live and work today.
Cellular phones and the Internet have connected us in an unprecedented manner. This constant access to one another tempts us into using this technology as if it were an extension of our bodies. In turn, our bodies suffer: muscles become stiff and sore, eyes are strained, and minds are fatigued. “Technology tension” is becoming a real and chronic condition. Learning how to preserve our humanity in a technical world can be challenging. Some of these effects can be reduced with a few simple steps:
1. First and foremost: disconnect! This can be more difficult than it sounds. We are addicted to instant information and distraction. However, it is a known health requirement that our bodies and our minds need rest. Here are a few tips to help you step away from technology:
• Choose a few times each day that electronics are eliminated from your activities. Mealtimes are a great place to start, as your focus can be easily diverted to the actual activity of eating.
• During the day, at the beginning or end of each hour, take five minutes to walk away from your computer or phone and do something different. Look at a magazine or, better yet, step outside.
• If you are having trouble sleeping, be sure to turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Your brain is stimulated by light so make sure you engage in activities that don’t include bright lights before you turn in for the night.
2. Spend time taking part of activities that allow you to spend time away from your devices.
• Exercise: Get your body moving! The importance of exercise can be demonstrated by listing just a few of the many benefits: It stimulates mental activity, relieves stress, improves self-esteem and body image, increases energy levels, combats the development of many diseases, increases flexibility and boosts energy levels.
• Crafts and hobbies occupy your body and mind in a positive way and keep your technical devices at a distance. Crafting requires focus, which keeps your mind off stress and worry. They also give you the satisfaction of creating something that has a tangible reward.
• Enrichment classes will not only teach you something new, but they can also be a social activity as well, meeting new people with similar interests.
3. Engage in daily self-maintenance.
• Take time throughout your day to stretch and consciously relax your muscles. If you are using a computer for several hours a day, pay special attention to your neck, arms and hands. These are the areas of your body that will suffer most.
• Your eyes can get stressed from the bright lights of the computer monitor or mobile device screen. Gently massage the muscles around the eyes a few times a day using light sweeping or tapping movements. Eye pads with relaxing herbal ingredients can be a nice treatment to do a couple times a week to treat your eyes. Heating the eye pads will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles around the eyes. Using a cooled eye pad can help with swollen and puffy eyes.
• Deep breathing is a quick and easy way to reduce tension. Deep breathing exercises bring oxygen to your blood, increasing circulation to the organs and strengthening them. Breathing also helps detoxify and improve the quality of the blood by decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. It is noted that placing the word breath in your viewing area will consciously remind you to take deep breaths throughout the day.
4. Schedule regular massage and facial treatments. Take the time to receive the benefits of massage and facials to enhance your health. To list just a few of the many benefits, these treatments relieve stress, stimulate your immune system, increase joint flexibility and promote a sense of overall well-being.
In short, technology tension can take a real toll on your body and mind. By picking up a few of these healthy habits, you can reduce the amount of stress in your life.
Patricia Martorana is a licensed esthetician and has been practicing skin care in the field over the past 13 years. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 1997 and holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology. Martorana then attended Florida College of Natural Health in 1998, where she received her training in esthetics. She is trained and certified in a number of product lines and techniques, and is a former skin-care instructor at Florida College of Natural Health. In addition to her position at Dermastart, Martorana is the owner and lead esthetician of her own practice, Sun Central Skincare. For more information, visit www.dermastart.com.