Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gardening as a Cure for Tech Addiction

Have your ever found yourself ceaselessly checking your phone for text messages and unable to resist checking those facebook notifications? Is your teenager spending hours and hours on the internet?

Tech or internet addiction is now a recognized problem among adults and children. With every notification, a small "spike" of adrenaline rushes through our brains,  very similar to the "high" from other forms of addiction.

This can be very distracting from work and diminishes our interaction with other human beings. A recent publication on this topic found decreased functional connectivity in parts of the brain of teenagers. Other studies are looking at levels of neurotransmitters in kids who are chronically connected to their gadgets.

Gardening on the other hand is the polar opposite of technology. Whereas in the tech world, everything is fast and instantaneous, gardening is a slow process, where events happen over weeks and months rather than seconds. Plants are alive and depend on us for loving care, whereas our tech gadgets can rule our lives, in more ways than one. Long term effects of constantly engaging in technology, whether it's computers or smartphones, are unknown. More worrisome are the unknown effects of tech addiction on the developing brains of kids and teenagers.

A break from technology is certainly a good thing for everyone. With any form of addiction, there is a withdrawal period for a few weeks, but this goes away and is replaced by a feeling of being alive and more attuned to the environment.  Concentration improves, and tasks are easier to finish.  This summer, consider gardening as a way to take a break from all your gadgets.

1 comment: