Distraction and Anxiety

I am a semi-regular listener to the podcast, This Week in StartUps with Jason Calacanis. This podcast focuses on the startup world and Jason is a venture capitalist who supports new and innovative companies. Part of why I enjoy the podcast is that Jason brings on really interesting people who are looking deeply at how to effect human behavior mostly within the technology sector.

This week he interviewed Adam Gazzaley, the Director of Neuroscience Imaging Center at UCSF, about his new book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World. Adam and Jason have an interesting conversation about how we, as humans, are wired to have anxiety that stems from responding to the outer world and anxiety that is generated from the inner world. Wired into the system of being human is the competing goals of the Wizard brain and the Lizard brain. The Wizard brain is for accomplishing goals in a responsive manner and the Lizard brain is for survival, which is a reactive manner. What is new is our technology that is tapping into is our Lizard brain to get our reaction and attention. As we all know some of our anxiety is just from all the emails, texts, vibrations, pings, lights, etc. Adam points out that technology has trained us to not tolerate the boredom of standing in line or waiting at a stoplight. Studies are really clear that it is through these time gaps, when we have nothing to do, that we have more creativity and feel more alive. What I often think when I am bored is that at the end of this tunnel is something creatively new.

If your are interested listen to the podcast, you can find it here.  

If you want to do an experiment: Schedule times to be on technology and have times that are tech-free. How long can you go without your phone? Can you block time that you will be creating verse responding?  


Categories: Technology, Anxiety