We are restless

How often do you think? Not the few minutes in the shower or the few seconds before you sleep, but the moments when you can drop everything to just ponder the meaning of life. Personally, not enough. Perhaps this can simply be attributed to a busy lifestyle, but more than likely, it is a byproduct of the overstimulation created by technology.

If you Google the words “restless generation,” you’ll find a plethora of articles that attempt to define it, from a rising culture of rock music to radical shifts in political beliefs to, literally, a group that is mobile in residency. It is also worth mentioning that although a generation can specifically refer to millennials — who actually come before the current high school age group — the usage here refers to the current period of time that encompasses both groups.  

To me, however, being restless is defined by rising anxiety contributed by invasive technology, a relatively unique feature of any generation. And this generation is certainly one that seems to feel the whiplash of our changing and developing world as we are battered down by the rapid influx of information. Often, I see people entranced by the pixels on their screens — right after looking up from my own — whether it’s in a waiting room, restaurant or during free class time. Often, I wonder how things would be different if there was more interpersonal interaction, more time to digest rather than consume. But can you blame us?

After all, at our fingertips is an infinite source keeping our minds occupied.

Technology plays no small role in encouraging a busy lifestyle, as it is constantly growing in efficiency, accessibility and utility — a fifth limb that has not only sped up the physical processes of our daily lives, but also the crowding of our mental ones. As we begin to assimilate into a consumer-based culture in the capital sense, the same is applicable to the amount of entertainment we mindlessly consume.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety levels of current students rival those of psychiatric patients from the 1950s. And it goes further than that — anxiety levels as a whole seem to be rising on an upward curve. Ironically, as the age of social media has seemingly bridged whatever gaps physical distance create, a lack of social connectivity, as theorized by the APA, is a plausible reason for this significant increase in general anxiety. Of course, the effects of overstimulation are not necessarily that drastic, but it undeniably contributes to a stressful atmosphere.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a passionate advocate for technology and the advancement of it. It would be unfair to paint technology as purely evil; in fact, I still believe more benefits than disadvantages are to be reaped from it. But sometimes, participating in a few minutes of meditation, or taking a break by just staring blankly at a wall, instead of using our downtime to surf the Web is conducive to slowing down the rapid pace of life. In the end, it’s merely a matter of doing things in moderation.


By Angela Cao, Opinion editor
Photo by Samuel Compolongo