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The challenge of wellbeing in modern life

The pace of modern life, and the proliferation of ‘always on – always connected’ technology is disrupting the ability of human beings to reconnect with the simple happiness found in the present moment.

The health epidemic of our time

The World Health Organisation has identified stress as the health epidemic of our times.

Stress is necessary. It is stress that activates the Sympathetic Nervous System and triggers our fight or flight system. This allows us to deal with perceived threats in our external environment.

But we don’t need to activate our Sympathetic Nervous System every time we think about our mortgage, or when a co-worker sends a challenging email, or when we are rushing home from work to make the kids dinner. Constant and unrelenting stress that doesn’t allow our body to return to baseline, isn’t necessary.

It has been suggested that as much as 90% of disease and illness today is linked to lifestyle and stress rather than genetics. We know that prolonged stress compromises the immune system making us vulnerable to disease and infection, and stress-related work absence is at an all time high. ‘Always on – always connected, isn’t a good thing’.

The increased stress caused by the pace of modern life is compounded by the ‘always on – always connected’ nature of technology. Along with the good things social media can deliver, constant engagement with social media has been found to negatively impact self-esteem, disrupt sleep and even lead to depression and anxiety.

Whilst at work, the average person shifts their attention from smart phone to laptop 21 times in an hour. Human attention has fallen from an average of 12 seconds to an average of 8 seconds. That is less than a goldfish. One study has even found that participants would rather administer electric shocks to themselves than to be left alone with their thoughts … ‘Always on – always connected, isn’t a good thing’.

The pace of modern life, and the proliferation of ‘always on – always connected’ technology is disrupting the ability of human beings to reconnect with the simple happiness found in the present moment.