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A Resilient Brain In A Digital Economy

May 02, 2017 Silvia Damiano

I still remember how sad I felt when my father told me many years ago that the local cinema was closing its doors. The appearance of home videos drastically affected the movie theatre business around the world. For a while at least.

i4 Tales 2017 Image: Silvia Damiano

A few years later, renovated theatres began to appear again, one after the other. Small and charming, they featured popcorn and soft drink combos that became almost as expensive as the movie tickets.

Despite the increased costs, people flocked to watch movies on the big screen and enjoy the social and novel experiences of movie marathons, gold class seats, great food, and a glass of champagne. Going to the theatre was a social activity once again.

For some reason, movie theatres are one of the social changes that have impacted me the most. This change helped me understand that certain things follow an inevitable cycle. Technologies are continually being developed, but technology completely ignores how important it is for humans to keep in close contact.

As I read the Google digital trends report for 2017 and statistics provided by Code Computerlove, I couldn’t help but smile. Mobile payments are thought to be the most sought-after technology this year, which would definitely make our lives easier. But at the same time, surveys also show that 1 in 5 people are aiming to spend less time in front of screens, and 9 out of 10 consumers claim no interest in using augmented reality anytime soon.

Perhaps we are beginning to understand that to have happier and more joyful existences we need to remain socially connected with our friends, our families, and our peers. Maintaining the balance between technology and our humanity is necessary to stay resilient in this fast-paced world.

The digital economy that we live in can be overwhelming and unsettling, particularly if our biological systems gets out of balance. Too many hours of work, the overuse of technology, and the lack of physical movement, sleep, and healthy relationships can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, making us less resilient.

It is probably worth it to take the time to educate ourselves and make technology choices that truly serve us, rather than desperately jumping on the latest trend without thinking of the consequences.

While perusing the current literature on resilience, I discovered that despite the continuous advancements in trying to understand what makes up a resilient brain, the neurobiological underpinnings are not yet well defined enough to establish the profile of a stress-resilient individual. There are complex genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved, as well as neurochemistry processes and personal experiences that when combined, can impact the capacity of someone to deal more effectively or not, with life stressors.

Even though the research is still unclear, we know that when we exercise, create, meditate, socialise, help others, travel, and experience loving relationships that life tastes, sounds and feels much better. Consequently, we are more likely to become stronger in the face of adversity.

Though it is useful to find scientific evidence and unravel the molecular mechanisms of a resilient brain to help in the healing of the most difficult cases, let’s not disregard the positive effect that social support and connectedness can have on those who are less resilient. 

I invite you to slow down and pay attention because great solutions can be created if we are willing to be creative. A good example can be found in the Netherlands. An aged care home invited university students to live with the older residents, creating a dynamic that benefited both parties. The students now had a free, safe place to call home. The elderly residents profited from the positive energy, exuberance, and attention of the students. Residents felt the effect of the youthful joy and humanity around them.

We may have gone from living analogously to living digitally, but the reality is that humans are still humans and the feelings of love are still prevalent, no matter how many videos or kinds of technology surround us.

“Having electricity readily available doesn't mean that you can’t have dinner under the moonlight.”

Every so often we need to take a moment, silence our phones, turn the lights off, and enjoy dinner under the stars with someone we love.

Silvia SPOKE AT THE 2017 i4 tales conference

i4 Tales 2017: Silvia Damiano

A Resilient Brain In A Digital Economy
In the past 10 years, educational institutions have shifted the focus to build digital skills to better prepare the next generation workforce. Building our digital capability is not only about knowing how to live surrounded by technology but also about how to develop our internal resourcefulness and adaptability so we can face a world that constantly changes.

Shrugging off the uncertainty caused by the speed of change requires knowing how to maintain a healthy state of mind and how to truly connect with those who can support us through the up’s and down’s of this digital economy.

Check out our website and stay tuned for our upcoming event!

About the Event

Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist and filmmaker. Silvia is the Founder & CEO of the About my Brain Institute, author of ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology and Writer/Director/Producer of the 2018 documentary ‘Make me a Leader’.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, ASX, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox, Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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