Pushing in the opposite direction is the plethora of online content, social media platforms and 24 hour news cycles that keep us engaged, aroused and alarmed in equal measure.
The omnipresent 24-hour news cycle feeds chronic anxiety and hyper-vigilance in individuals and society.
The multiple sources of help and information can inadvertently make us feel worse, more confused, more alert and caught in an apparently never-ending cycle where anxiety increases and catastrophic thinking builds.
Tired but Wired
Of course it’s true that, since the industrial revolution, we endure far greater levels of stimulus, many involving light and noise, from busy office buildings and gyms, from multiple overlapping conversations and communications with others through ‘always on’ mobile devices and ‘streaming’ televisions. These simply didn’t exist in our parents’ or grandparents’ generation. When the sun went down they rested; but we get up and go out – and in several other ways try and override the natural rhythms of day and night. This overriding of the rhythms of nature alone leaves many people ‘tired but wired’ and with a feeling that we, along with our devices, are ‘always on.’
Staying connected, always on, feeds the deepest needs we all share as human beings – the needs to belong and to be seen. Social media in particular feeds, but never truly satisfies, both these psychobiological hungers.
The combination of the pressures of contemporary society and the multiple ‘solutions’ offered may in fact be distracting us from the sometimes more powerful underlying dynamics held in the system.