Week Five: How is Tech Affecting Your Mind?

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Photo courtesy of @alesnesetril via unsplash

Technology’s cause and effect

Anything we interact with — from the food we eat, to the people we meet, to the information we consume—can have an impact on our minds, influencing our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

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  • Googling a topic or watching a video tutorial might answer a question we’re pondering.
  • Reading a news report about a natural disaster might inspire us to donate to a charity helping its victims.

Where we run into trouble

Just like we sometimes eat food that makes us feel sick, love people who make us feel bad, or consume information that confuses or misleads us, sometimes our tech habits can affect our thoughts, feelings, and actions for the worse, not the better.

1. We don’t have a clear intention

Because of its ubiquity in our lives, we often use technology simply because it’s there, not because we want it to do something specific for us, (other than make the time pass.) When that’s the case, the feelings, thoughts, and actions that result from our usage are often unexpected, unintended, and counter to our goals.

2. We choose the wrong technology

When we do have a clear intention, we may not choose the right technology to achieve our goal. For example, many of us visit streaming sites hoping to watch a movie with another person “for fun.” Rarely though is that task so straightforward, often resulting in evenings spent endlessly scrolling and debating content, rather than actually enjoying the end result.

3. We get distracted by other people’s agendas

Even if we have a clear intention and choose the right tool, the thoughts, feelings, or actions that result can still be derailed by someone else’s more powerful agenda, (either one set by the people who own and operate the technology we’re using or by other users). For example, a quick visit to social media, “just to relax” can expose us to content posted by Facebook users (or the platform itself) that disgusts us, saddens us, or angers us, leaving us more stressed.

This week’s exercise

This week’s exercise is about slowing down and examining how technology is affecting your mind. Using the information you collected last week on your daily tech habits, monitor how these habits are influencing your thoughts, feelings and actions.

  1. After you’ve finished using the technology, write down how/if this action impacted your thoughts, feeling, and/or actions. How did this experience affect you? Did you get those laughs or tears? Did it send you off on a thought spiral (“Hey, didn’t I just see that Chidi guy in a movie I watched last weekend?”) Did you come away from this experience feeling refreshed, ready to tackle something else on your to-do list or did you simply sit and watch another show afterwards? Again, no need to be super detailed or even to get into the whys of your answers. Simply capture your first impressions.

Want to participate in this eCourse?

1. Continue to drop by my blog or Medium account each Saturday where you can read the weekly post at your leisure, or…

Author, advocate, educator, speaker, and chronic pain warrior. More info at jenkane.com

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