The world we live in is replete with one major thing that dominates our entire lives: technology. We learn that technology is, in one respect, not to be feared but in other always we find that we’ve got to view technology with a raised eyebrow. And this is especially true when it comes to health. There’s a lot of benefits to health and well-being in relation to the digital lives we lead, but are we being too reliant on tech to improve our health?
The Immediate Benefits of Tech in Health
Technology and medicine go hand in hand, from CPAP devices that help with breathing issues related to sleep apnea to apps that can measure your heart rate, there is a place for every single one of them. However, it’s important to look at each device on its own merit. Something that comes medically recommended is not always the best thing for us. We only have to look at the respiratory problems and cancer caused by CPAP devices to see exactly how it can impact our reliance on technology to do the job for us. However, there is no denying the immediate benefits of tech in relation to a whole number of health concerns. From the aforementioned heart rate monitor to devices like a heart rate variability monitor, which has been shown to have an impact on your health based on the spaces in between the heartbeats, there’s a lot of technology out there that really does have a positive impact on our lives.
Is There an Over-Reliance on Technology to Self Diagnose a Problem?
This is where the waters become murky. If we use the technology as a way to self diagnose, rather than using medical professionals, this is where we all become amateur armchair doctors. And we’ve all experienced the flurry of worry that comes with self-diagnosing using Google. It’s one of the worst problems anybody has when they are unwell. In fact, the very nature of using Dr. Google as a way to diagnose problems can result in a multitude of anxieties that stem from something completely different. We live in an age where anxiety is more common than ever, and this could potentially be traced back to the overuse of devices. So if we are over-relying on technology to self diagnose, there is the fact that, with so much information out there, that we can pick and choose what our problems are.
What Is it Doing for Us in the Long-Term?
Because technology becomes a key part of our lives and is a gateway to a lot of solutions, we end up using technology to give us a simple answer, when, in fact, the answer is anything but. For example, the variety of unique illnesses out there where the specialists are spending years looking for a solution can cause us to believe that we have a unique illness. The internet can cause a range of psychosomatic symptoms due to the overuse of Dr. Google.
Is a Digital Existence Hindering Our Abilities to Sustain Well-Being?
In one respect, our digital lives are helping us tap into a variety of resources to improve our health. While there are people who are using the digital world to further improve their knowledge of health and choose the right resources to help, the very nature of the internet means that there are people exploiting it for their own means, to sell a product, or to bring people around to their way of thinking. Of course, this is a double-edged sword and can prove to be a very difficult line to follow, especially when it comes to health. We only have to look at the recent emergence of niche diets, such as carnivore and ketogenic. If it wasn’t for the internet and people espousing their benefits, most people would not have heard of them. And there are plenty of people who have changed their lives for the better thanks to these resources. But of course, the other side of the coin is the very nature of smartphone use. Children are addicted to devices and everyone is more educated on the detrimental nature of smartphones. Is tech a way to improve our health?
As far as well-being is concerned, connection is pivotal, and the internet is the ultimate means to connection and technology is being harnessed for the power of good. But we need to understand our own self-imposed limits. Reliance on something to do our thinking for us is very dangerous, and this is arguably the key to our own sense of well-being.