This week I want to reflect on mental wellness, technology, and sleep.
During this first season we didn’t set out to explore mental wellness but it became apparent that in the arc of their stories that mental fortitude, resilience, and strength were crucial to the achievements of our guests, even those that had experienced mental health challenges in their lives.
Reflecting on these many interviews, intentionality seems to define our guests. Intentionality of how they live their lives and how they live with technology. Whether Ryder Carroll through his Bullet Journal or Debbie Millman’s life design methodology where she writes a projected vision of her perfect day five years in the future, defining their future selves seems to be a common trait. Outside of the Podcast, I did a breakfast interview with Fabrice Grinda, Forbes listed No1 Angel Investor, where he laid out his life planning approach, writing 20,000-word letters to himself outlining his future life. This for me is intentionality.
We live in a world where It’s so easy to assume from the polished veneer of our socially connected world that everyone is happy, mentally strong and resilient. Contrast that with the common reality of the distracted lives of those who live in a constant state of what is often called Continuous Partial Attention.
I’ll quote from the visionary thinker and thought leader, Linda Stone:
‘In large doses, it contributes to a stressful lifestyle, to operating in crisis management mode, and to a compromised ability to reflect, to make decisions, and to think creatively. In a 24/7, always-on world, continuous partial attention used as our dominant attention mode contributes to a feeling of overwhelm, over-stimulation and to a sense of being unfulfilled. We are so accessible, we’re inaccessible. The latest, greatest powerful technologies have contributed to our feeling increasingly powerless’.
Just consider the neurological and neurochemical effects this is having a pandemic of global proportions
- 320m people globally are suffering from depression and anxiety and that’s just the reported numbers
- 16.1 million American workers are affected by Major Depressive Disorder according to Workplacementalhealth.org
- In the US alone the feeling of social isolation is on the rise – 50% of of the population claim to feel ‘alone…disconnected …that no one really knows us’
- Since 2011 depression rates have risen 60% amongst 12-17-year-old teens and young adults.
This is an individual and a collective problem
44% of adults say stress has increased in the last five years
56% of employees say stress and anxiety impact their job performance
62% of missed workdays are attributed to Mental Conditions
We need to confront this.
I think most of us have experienced the negative impact that social media and technology can have on wellbeing.
But we can’t turn back the technology timeline and we need to face emerging challenges of rapidly changing world where our identity and purpose as humans will be challenged by the advances in AI and Machine learning –
- where they can out think us,
- outperform us
- and out reason us…
Soon we will have to question more than ever
- who we are
- what we want to be
- and do
So as technology threatens to erode our humanity, we need to strengthen our collective identity and that starts with us to take action and confront the realities of how we live with technology today.
If you are a parent check out CommonSenseMedia.org
If your a business check out the Center for Humane Technology
And I urge everyone to read the important book by Matthew Walker called Why We Sleep. If we are to start anywhere we need to reclaim our right to sleep. As our celebrity trainer guest, Josh Holland stated, fitness and wellness start with sleep.
- The WHO lists lack of societal sleep as a world health epidemic
- More than 65% of US adults are getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours and 30% get less than 6 hours
- Insufficient sleep is impacting the fabric of human society, in our homes, in the workplace, in schools and even in hospitals.
- Lack of sleep degrades many of the faculties we rate as important at work, yet amidst all the policies on safely and good conduct in the workplace, anti smoking, substance abuse or encouraging ethical behaviours, sleep is not considered that important However it’s impact is more foundational as Insufficient sleep is not only tolerated but often encouraged – this needs to change
- Finally there is an economic argument The Rand Corporation estimated that lack of sleep results in $421bn in losses from inadequate sleep….. that is more than 2% of GDP – Equal to education budget in the US alone – makes me wonder why are investors demanding improved sleep strategies from their portfolios…maybe they are asleep on the job
In all seriousness, we will get into some of these issues in more detail in the second season of the Impossible Network.
But for now that all folks