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Speed Trap Psychologist Stephanie Brown talks life in the fast lane, the havoc it wreaks, and how to fight back.
Why do you say that many of us are addicted to fast-paced living?
These days we are all tethered to our phones, our tablets, and our computers. Thanks to these devices, we have more information at our fingertips, and we have it faster than ever before. The constant notifications and incessant pinging conditions us to look forward to the next email, the next text, fueling an agitated inner state. Physiologically, it’s very similar to an alcoholic looking for the next drink or a drug addict seeking the next fix. But technology isn’t the only contributor; the link between speed and success is continually reinforced by American culture.
How can you tell if you’re addicted?
You add activities without taking any away. You work longer hours but don’t finish tasks. You act first and think later. The first and last thing you do every day is reach for your phone. Most people will laugh when they read this and say, Doesn’t everyone? For many of us the answer is yes.
What do we sacrifice when we prioritize constant connection?
Our relationships suffer the most. Fast-paced living gives us the illusion of connection, but it’s all button-pushing. A relationship is not information input; it takes time, attention, and reciprocal interaction.
What are some strategies for slowing down?
Start small. Refrain from looking at your phone on your commute to and from work. Declare a block of time every day technology-free. If you can implement these simple changes on a consistent basis and surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable, you’ll eventually learn to pause and reflect naturally, thus regaining control over your life.
Stephanie Brown is the author of Speed: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster—and Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down.
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