My Favorite Bit of Information For The Week:
Screen Time And The Brain
Introduction: My phone and computer both died over the past two weeks, and when I was unable to use them, I noticed a shift in my mental health. I felt more clear and happier. Was this because of less time on a screen? I have always wondered if screen time altered my mental health negatively, and after researching it this week, I have a new theory. When pouring through articles I found that we still have a surprisingly small amount of information or studies done on the brain and how it is affected by screen time, which makes sense, since screens really haven’t been around that long when you think about it. I didn’t own a phone until I was seventeen, and my phone didn’t have a screen on it until I was twenty-four. The first iphone didn’t come out until June 2007 (only 12 years ago!). However, the research that has been done is showing that screen time doesn’t affect our mental health negatively. If it does, it seems to be more related to the fact that more screen time usually means more time being less active – and less activity tends to result in depression or anxiety in folks – and to increase depression and anxiety to those who already are dealing with those struggles (most clinical depression is genetic).
Multitasking is usually associated with screens however, and something I am very guilty of and – I suspect – is the reason my mental health improved after I lost access to my main screens. I listen to Harry Potter, text people back (or forget to because I am listening to Harry Potter), respond to E-mails, and try to plan my week all at the same time. This results in a lot of brain fog and stress for me.
This article in Forbes from 2014 shares research from Stanford University stating that multitasking is actually damaging your brain, making it harder to focus, more challenging to complete tasks, and harder to memorize details or remember simple things. The study also showed that even though multitaskers tend to think they are being more productive than those who do not multitask, the opposite is true. Multitaskers are slower than those who take one task at a time. You can access the study here. The study was done in 2009, but substantial research has been done since as well.
My favorite recent article was written in Time magazine in 2017 and focuses on an interview with Dr. Kubu, a neuropsychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. I think it does the best job of breaking down what is happening in the brain, and also what occurs as a result. The article also mentions Supertaskers, the VERY small 2.5 percent of the population that can accomplish two tasks at once. For most of us though, “when we think we’re multitasking, most often we aren’t really doing two things at once – but instead, individual actions in rapid succession.” You can access the article here. The article also mentions “mindfulness” as being particularly helpful in healing the brain after too much multitasking has damaged it. For more on mindfulness you can access my previous blog post here.
The Research On Screen Time and Depression/ Anxiety: The research I found most credible on this subject was pretty dense, but fascinating. If you want to check out two of my favorite bits of information that lead me to conclude that screen time – in and of itself – isn’t a huge factor on our mental health you can check out the following links:
- Is Screen time associated with anxiety or depression in young people? Results from a UK birth cohort: Taken by the National Institute of Health in 2019. You can access the research here.
- Association between screen time and depression among US adults: Taken by the National Institutes of Health in 2017. You can access the research here.
BJORK- HUMAN BEHAVIOR: It’s not quite on topic, but it kept coming into my mind while reading this week and I thought I would share. You can listen to the music by clicking here, if you feel so inspired.
Update On My Show:
Fundraising: A few more steps have been set in motion in order to set up a fundraiser end of September or October! In the mean time, if you have a dollar, or a friend who has a dollar, ten dollars, or a hundred dollars – the project is free for audiences and therefore is completely independently funded – any support is appreciated! If you have already donated, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have made it possible to get this far. And if you are not in a place to give a dollar right now, thank you for being here and being a part of breaking the stigma on mental health. Much love!If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here.
Script Work: Reworking some more content from the script this week based on feedback from one of my amazing mental health professionals!
Please check out the One Woman Hamlet Website: www.onewomanhamlet.com
AND! my update Video.
Many, Many thanks: Margo Siwak and Joe Siwak for the design of the logo, and to Jillian Best and Bill Best for the Website creation and Design! I feel very blessed to have such beautiful humans in my life.
Ways to Support: If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here: https://www.gofundme.com/one-woman-hamlet
Thank You: Thank you VERY much to all who have donated thus far, making this project possible.