Just breathe

Is constant and accelerating change enhancing our lives or making us sick

When do we get a chance to breathe?

People tend not to be really good with change, but things always do.

Given time, we adjust and establish a new normal.

But how do we do that when the pace of change is so constant (and accelerating) that the plateaus to catch your breath have all but disappeared.

The World Health Organization estimates lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety costs the global economy $1 trillion U.S. annually.

Increasingly, mental health experts are recognizing the extent and pace of change is a major contributing factor.

A week does not seem to pass that doesn’t see some technological “advancement” that requires our attention.

In economics, there is a principle called “the law of diminishing returns.” Basically, there comes a point when the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

This principle could just as easily be applied to technological innovation.

At what point does it actually stop enhancing our lives?

Do we really need a fridge that tells us when we’re low on milk, or a pantry that reminds us we’re not getting enough fibre or a toilet seat that chastises us for getting too fat?

Is that new system, or procedure, or app at work actually making employees’ jobs easier, or is it just causing them stress and anxiety. Is it making money or costing profits?

Are we getting healthier as individuals and as a society, or are we becoming a nation of stressed-out, anxiety-ridden smartphone slaves?

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that in any given year, one in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness and that by the age of 40 half the population will have, or have had a mental illness.

Oct. 6 – 12 is mental illness awareness week, as good a time as any to reflect on whether all this change is contributing to a better quality of life, or making us sick.

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