Technology is Disrupting the Brain. Here’s What To Do About It.

Jul 10, 2019 | By John Stackhouse


Technology is doing more than changing our world – it's actually changing ourselves, too.

Technology is doing more than changing our world – it's actually changing ourselves, too.

At this month’s RBC Disruptors, we turned our minds inward. How is all that time we spend on screens changing our brains?

Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a physician and brain scientist at Duke University, says there’s cause for concern: an estimated 8%-10% of people in North America show signs of a serious addiction to the Internet and gaming.

Nevertheless, he’s a techno-optimist. Thanks to its neuroplasticity, the human brain can rewire itself – it matches the tech that serves us. Going forward, we may become super good at typing, or mastering voice tech devices.

In 2019, the key is to balance our screen time and our time in the real world. Dr. Doraiswamy shared five things we can do today to keep our brains in prime operating condition.

1. Get Up From Your Desk

It’s a challenge in an era when everything seems urgent – but don’t sit in front of your computer for more than an hour at a time. It’s not good for your productivity. “We are so over-scheduled, we are constantly in a task-oriented mode,” Dr. Doraiswamy said. Get up and walk somewhere, go to a coffee shop. That break from emails and meetings will help to shift your brain from a task-orientated way of doing things to a more creative and productive mode.

2. Go for a Walk in Nature

Hands down, the best place to reset your brain is in nature. When you take a walk in nature, you’re combining the trance-like state that walking puts you in, with the sense of tranquility nature provides. This contemplative time activates the brain’s default mode network. This is the part of the brain that allows you to unlock solutions to deep problems, and inspires a sense of collective well-being in people. You just need to give it free time to do its job.

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