Depression can be caused by many things. One such cause is digital stress.
What is digital stress?
Digital stress is caused because we start to adopt unnatural life patterns through the use of modern technology.
How did digital stress develop?
The human species was developed for millennia in a slow, progressive manner. We were farmers. Farmers lived according to the rhythm of nature. Our body, and therefore also our brain, has adapted to that lifestyle. Now, in just a few decades' time, we change that lifestyle completely. We no longer live according to the rhythm or the rain or the sunlight, but according to the stimuli from our iPhone, blackberry, e-mail, text message, or mobile phone. We are constantly disturbed in our tasks and can no longer work until we fninish something. Each time when our brain needs to 'zoom in' on some new theme (text message, telephone, e-mail, chat), they break off one activity, and then have to pick it back up again later on. This takes extra time and energy, and tires out our brain.
Chronic digital stress leads to depression
In case we live according to this hellish rhythm for weeks, months, or years, chronic stress develops with an increase of the stress hormone 'cortisol' levels in the blood. This toxic overdose of cortisol will cause our brain cells to become tired, vulnerable, and even sometimes to die, which leads to less activity of those brain centers which are responsible for our optimism. Slowly, we slide into a depression, caused by digital stress.
How can you avoid digital stress?
Digital stress is best prevented by putting the moments during which you allow electrical communication all at the same time. For example, by reading your e-mails once a day at a set time and not more after that, you can prevent a lot of digital stress, and you might even save yourself from a depression in a long-term timeframe.
Self-test online for depression.
Would you like to know if you are at risk? Then take this free online depression test.
Paul Koeck, MD