Finding Peace of Mind

Most of us live in our heads, consumed by what happened yesterday or might happen tomorrow while rushing around to get things done. This creates a lot of stress. 

Incidents of debilitating anxiety are rising in the U.S.; one could say it’s an epidemic among young adults. I recently discussed this with a young person and asked if anxiety was an issue among his friends.

“It’s a real deal,” he said, stating unselfconsciously that he and a number of his buddies were taking anti-anxiety meds. “The world’s a scary place,” he added! Knowing better but not being able to help myself, I hauled out a “back in the day” reply: 

“I get there’s a lot to be concerned about, but seriously, in my day, the U.S. military was drafting soldiers to fight in Viet Nam. By the time I graduated from college, interest, and inflation rates were in double-digit territory, and a global nuclear arms race was underway!

Undaunted, he countered, “Yeah, but where did you get your news?” 

“Mostly from Walter Cronkite on the evening news,” I replied.

“That’s the difference,” he said. “Today, the bad news is 24/7.”

That’s an interesting point! Modern technology has dramatically changed the way we connect with the world. Bad news and extreme views are the media’s business model. With eyes glued to our phones, the world can appear unhinged, absent of meaning, and headed in the wrong direction. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I love my iPhone, but I must admit that it amplifies extreme views and caters to narcissism, which is not exactly a recipe for emotional well-being! 

My brother told me he has stopped watching the news and dramatically reduced his screen time. He claims it’s made a significant improvement in his emotional well-being. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea!

Technology-enabled self-absorption results in a loss of connectedness to what is truly meaningful in our lives, leaving us adrift in a sea of concerns. We’re not going to return to rotary dialed phones and Walter Cronkite, but perhaps, reconnecting with each other and what is real might help. 

Currently, Minnesotans are blanketed with the deepest snow I can remember. It’s beautiful, but it can get old! When Spring finally arrives (4 months from now), the landscape will go from black and white to living color in the blink of an eye, just like in “The Wizard of Oz” when the movie changes from black and white to Technicolor. Watching nature navigate seasonal transitions is far more uplifting than staring into a retina display.

I’m not sure anyone knows exactly why anxiety is on the rise. Mental disturbances have complex medical and emotional origins. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that sacrificing a little “screen time” to connect with nature and each other might help dilute our anxiety-inducing times.


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3 Replies to “Finding Peace of Mind”

  1. Welcome back my good friend !!!! I have missed my weekly “Mental Fix”. You have such a great way of making us look at the World from a kinder and broader perspective….
    Today I latched unto your phrase—-“Technology-enabled self-absorption”. As I watch my grandkids grow I see this every day and I am very worried about it not only for them but for all of us. It allows each of us to see and hear only the noise, information, and points of view that we WANT TO HEAR. It blocks out other good common sense opinions and thoughts. It makes each of us more divisive about about other people and what they think and do……and it keeps us indoors and alone so much more……….All bad things in my mind.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us—–



    1. Wren, I like the way you expressed that more than what I put down. The world is changing, which in the past has always given “elders” pause for concern. I guess we are living proof!


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