With a growing body of research proving yoga’s healing benefits, it’s no wonder more doctors—including those with traditional Western training—are prescribing this ancient practice to their patients.
Yoga therapy is now recognized as a clinically viable treatment, with established programs at major health care centers, such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, and many others. In 2003, there were just five yoga-therapy training programs in the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) database. Today, there are more than 130 worldwide, including 24 rigorous multi-year programs newly accredited by IAYT, with 20 more under review. According to a 2015 survey, most IAYT members work in hospital settings, while others work in outpatient clinics or physical therapy, oncology, or rehabilitation departments (and in private practice).
Some therapists focus on physical mechanics, while others bring in Ayurvedic healing principles and factor in diet, psychological health, and spirituality to create a holistic, customized plan.
“Researchers take blood samples before and after yoga practice to see which genes have been turned on and which were deactivated,” says Khalsa. “We’re also able to see which areas of the brain are changing in structure and size due to yoga and meditation.” This kind of research is helping take yoga into the realm of “real science,” he says, by showing how the practice changes psycho-physiological function.
Roughly half of U.S. teens say they spend too much time on their cellphones, according to research from Pew. About the same proportion of teens report taking steps to limit their use of the devices. Another survey found that about two-thirds of parents also worry their children spend too much time in front of screens; nearly 60% of parents report setting screen time restrictions for their children. The findings come as some technology companies introduce features to cut back on phone addiction.
Amid roiling debates about the impact of screen time on teenagers, roughly half of those ages 13 to 17 are themselves worried they spend too much time on their cellphones. Some 52% of U.S. teens report taking steps to cut back on their mobile phone use, and similar shares have tried to limit their use of social media (57%) or video games (58%), a new Pew Research Center survey finds.
Overall, 56% of teens associate the absence of their cellphone with at least one of these three emotions: loneliness, being upset or feeling anxious. Additionally, girls are more likely than boys to feel anxious or lonely without their cellphone.
The vast majority of teens in the United States have access to a smartphone, and 45% are online on a near constant basis. The ubiquity of social media and cellphones and other devices in teens’ lives has fueled heated discussions over the effects of excessive screen time and parents’ role in limiting teens’ screen exposure. In recent months, many major technology companies, including Google and Apple, have announced new products aimed at helping adults and teens monitor and manage their online usage.
Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to say they spend too much time on social media (47% vs. 35%).
Meanwhile, 31% of teens say they lose focus in class because they are checking their cellphone – though just 8% say this often happens to them, and 38% say it never does.
Girls are more likely than boys to express feelings of anxiety (by a 49% to 35% margin) and loneliness (by a 32% to 20% margin) when they do not have their phone with them.
Anxiety is increasingly becoming a serious issue for American teens. Sixty-two percent of incoming freshman surveyed by the American College Health Association said they’d experienced overwhelming anxiety the year before, up from 50-percent in 2011.
says David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut:When we hear a ding or little ditty alerting us to a new text, email or Facebook post, cells in our brains likely release dopamine — one of the chemical transmitters in the brain’s reward circuitry. That dopamine makes us feel pleasure
“It’s a spectrum disorder,” says Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, who studies addiction. “There are mild, moderate and extreme forms.” And for many people, there’s no problem at all.
Signs you might be experiencing problematic use, Lembke says, include these:
Interacting with the device keeps you up late or otherwise interferes with your sleep.
It reduces the time you have to be with friends or family.
It interferes with your ability to finish work or homework.
It causes you to be rude, even subconsciously. “For instance,” Lembke asks, “are you in the middle of having a conversation with someone and just dropping down and scrolling through your phone?” That’s a bad sign.
It’s squelching your creativity. “I think that’s really what people don’t realize with their smartphone usage,” Lembke says. “It can really deprive you of a kind of seamless flow of creative thought that generates from your own brain.”
Consider a digital detox one day a week
Tiffany Shlain, a San Francisco Bay Area filmmaker, and her family power down all their devices every Friday evening, for a 24-hour period.
“It’s something we look forward to each week,” Shlain says. She and her husband, Ken Goldberg, a professor in the field of robotics at the University of California, Berkeley, are very tech savvy.
A recent study of high school students, published in the journal Emotion, found that too much time spent on digital devices is linked to lower self-esteem and a decrease in well-being.
Media technology—from mass media to social media and from video gaming to computer-mediated communication—plays an increasingly central role in people’s lives. Due to exponential increases in computing power, people now carry incredibly powerful computers—their smartphones—everywhere they go. This ever-greater access to media technology is generating an ever-greater conflict between media activities and the unmediated activities critical for psychological well-being—from our face-to-face conversations and family time to our down time and work lives. What are the costs and benefits of people’s modern media technology use for psychological well-being? Using a complementarity-interference (CI) framework, I review research to illuminate key psychological processes (i.e., mediators) and conditions (i.e., moderators) of the relationship between media technology and psychological well-being. Based on the existing evidence, I propose an initial theoretical CI model of the effects of media technology on psychological well-being. I use this CI model to outline important directions for future research, providing guidelines for an integrated, theoretically informed research on media technology.
Keywords: Media, Communication technology, Computer-mediated communication (CMC), Subjective well-being, Human-computer interaction (HCI)
Definition Media Technology
Media technology. In this chapter, we will explore psychological well-being in the context of modern media technology. In common parlance, we often think of the word ‘media’ as referring to mass media, such as news media (e.g., TV, radio), and more recently, to social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). But media—the plural of medium—broadly refers to any technological tool that serves as a bridge or conduit to stimuli not otherwise available in the immediate physical environment. Thus, media technology refers to books and newspapers, radio and television, video and computer games—or to any device or method people use to transcend the constraints of their immediate physical environment: from yesterday’s dial-up telephone to the today’s smartphone, and from writing a hand-written letter to texting a friend (c.f., Okdie et al., 2014). Related terms also exist in the literature including information and communication technology, or ICT, as well as computer-mediated communication, or CMC. Most of the findings discussed here apply to—and in fact come from—the literature on ICT and CMC
While using the broad term, media technology, this chapter will focus primarily on the effects of media technology developed in the past century or so, including television, video games, and, most recently, mobile computers such as smartphones. In other words, we will be focusing on screen media technology. I will use the term mediated to refer to the stimuli afforded by the media technology, and the term unmediated to refer to behavior that does not involve the use of media (e.g., face-to-face interactions). Even though media technology itself is physical, I will use the term immediate physical environment to refer to the environment in which the media technology use occurs.
One of the founders of Facebook, Sean Parker, explains that these social media devices exploit the vulnerability of the human essence. The dopamine that is social media only creates a narcissistic, self-validating loops that consume valuable time and conscious attention. “Liking”, “commenting”, and “sharing” (which are virtually useless in reality) causes us to run around an endless cycle of insignificant information documentation in hopes of acknowledgment, which later on propels us to create more of the same.
Social media platform owners and creators are aware of this weakness in human psychology, and are taking advantage of it. Parker is just one of the many individuals who regret having a hand in creating these life-stagnating technologies. The mental health of the global population is deteriorating and is mostly due to anxieties produced by social media.