The Tech Drug


We've come a long way in recognizing the needs of humans that stem beyond sustenance alone. While food and nutrition are essential to our existence, they contribute to only a portion of what allows us to operate at our highest aptitude. For instance, we've grown to understand concepts such as attachment styles and love languages that identify an individual's specific needs to feel reassured in partnerships. Additionally, the stigma behind seeking therapy services, primarily among African Americans has undergone a tremendous downward shift within the last two decades. Each year in May, we observe Mental Health Awareness month, which I champion as a public health professional largely because many have overlooked its significance. We hear many people talk about the benefits of taking mental health days and devoting quality time to themselves. However, I feel that conversations surrounding mental health are not complete without understanding the importance of proper mental hygiene. Mental hygiene refers to the practices one exercises to improve and maintain their mental well-being. After all, you brush your teeth before bed and again as you wake to protect oral health. So, what routines do you commit to for the upkeep of your mental?

We live in a digital era where our phones reign supreme. They're at our sides 24/7. It's almost as though you feel naked out in public if you don't have it on you. Even toddlers know how to operate iPhone 11's and 12’s these days. Think about that... What is the first thing you do when you wake up? The last thing you do before you go to sleep? How about throughout the day when you take a break from your work screen? For many, the answer to at least one of those questions likely consists of picking up a phone and visiting social media. I'm not here to shame or act as though I'm above any of that. I'm guilty sometimes. The steady advancement of technology has tremendously made life easier for us as a contemporary society. We practically have access to anything we need at our fingertips. With the advent of social media, we can remain connected with a network of people we know [or hardly know] and exchange discourse without much effort or planning thanks to apps such as Instagram.

We all love pictures, and they say a picture is worth a thousand words - the beauty of a still frame that allows us to travel back to a moment in time with our eyes. However, similar to paintings, the true meaning of a picture can be left entirely to interpretation when the artist is not present to describe the significance. This phenomenon occurs all the time on our social media feeds. These days, 90% of our Instagram timelines resemble much of a highlight reel - still frames consisting of wins (highs) while withholding the lows, leaving you to your own interpretation of the stories behind the pictures. Nice cars, seemingly beautiful marriages, new homes, amazing job promotions, and so forth flood our timelines. Let me be the first to say I love when my people are doing great for themselves. I'm always here to champion their successes and big them up. However, I know life is consistent in its episodic ebb and flow moments. While we will experience the joy of our highs, so will we deal with the lows. So when we talk about mental hygiene and how it relates to the steady consumption of the "highlight reel" timeline, it's essential to take note of the potential side effects.

We as humans tend to compare ourselves with others, especially during seasons of waiting and enduring. Consequently, remaining patient and steadfast in your journey can become particularly difficult when subjected to timelines that omit many of the realities behind the dazzling photos we consume regularly. In an era where social media has become all about optics, it's easy to forget that we are all running our own race. Take a moment to disconnect and be present in your marathon. Don't let the facades or the smoke and mirrors disrupt your pace because you are positioned exactly where you are meant to be in life. 

"The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." - Steven Furtick