How Technology Can Affect Our Happiness
Navigating the mixed messages about technology and health to find a way forward
In recent months, I have seen a growing number of posts discussing how bad technology is for our well-being. It is blamed for social isolation, disconnection, and corruption (to name a few). On the other hand, I’ve also heard and seen firsthand how technology can be used positively as a means to connect, to share knowledge, or even to save lives.
Given these conflicting messages, how can we determine whether technology is ultimately good or bad for us? Well, like many questions of importance in life, the answer isn’t so black and white. The trouble is that technology isn’t an entity in and of itself, which means we cannot define whether it is innately good or bad. Rather, technology is a tool that we utilize on a daily basis, which means the onus is on us to decide how we let it affect our happiness.
As technology continues to permeate nearly every avenue of our personal lives, we’ve been left with questions that undergird the modern family dynamic, shape workplace efficiency and engagement, and set the baseline for our interactions and communications with friends. It’s become almost natural for us to blame technology for the stresses of modern life, but technology is not our problem. On its own, technology is simply a powerful tool with the potential to increase our productivity, health, education, and happiness.
Our problem lies in our utilization of technology.
Instead of passively allowing technology to affect our lives, let’s take charge of our futures by becoming co-creators in the way that technology intersects with our work, our families, and our communities. The first way that we can do that is by acknowledging the ways that technology has been a positive influence in our lives. Training our brains to be more positive is essential to reaching our full potential. Why? Because when our brains are positive, we receive a boost of dopamine, which stimulates areas of the brain that allow us to recognize possibilities rather than obstacles.
In fact, a positive brain has been linked to:
• 37% higher sales
• 3x more creativity
• 31% higher productivity
• 40% increase in likelihood of receiving a promotion
• 23% decrease in symptoms of fatigue
• 10x increase in the level of engagement at work
• 39% increase in the likelihood of living to age 94, and
• 50% decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Believe it or not, every single one of us has the tools required to train our brains to scan the world for the positive, trumping our genes and our environment to reach our full potential.
My book, The Future of Happiness: 5 Modern Strategies for Balancing Productivity and Well-Being in the Digital Era,validates and advocates for all the good things that technology can bring to our busy lives, while providing us with a thoughtful framework on how to set boundaries on when, where, why, and how we use technology to increase our happiness, productivity, and wellness.
These five strategies can be used not only to survive—but to actually thrive—in the Digital Age:
1. Stay grounded to focus and channel your energy with intention.
2. Know thyself to strive towards your potential.
3. Train your brain to develop and sustain an optimistic mindset.
4. Create a habitat for happiness to maximize the spaces and places in which you live, work, and learn.
5. Be a conscious innovator to actively shape your future.
Like it or not, technology is here to stay, which means we must equip ourselves with tools that allow us to live harmoniously (and flourish) in a world fuelled by technology.