Kids and parks have always been for me synonymous with a place for playing, running, physical activities and letting off steam. In the image above I’m glad that there are two young boys who share my thoughts.

In a recent article in Psychology Today Victoria L Dunckley MD reports some alarming findings … Gray Matter: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain.

Dunckley states… “But what about kids who aren’t ‘addicted’ per se? Addiction aside, a much broader concern that begs awareness is the risk that screen time is creating subtle damage even in children with ‘regular’ exposure, considering that the average child clocks in more than seven hours a day (Rideout 2010). As a practitioner, I observe that many of the children I see suffer from sensory overload, lack of restorative sleep, and a hyper-aroused nervous system, regardless of diagnosis—what I call electronic screen syndrome. These children are impulsive, moody, and can’t pay attention.”

Lin, Zhou, Lei, et al also report similar findings in …“Internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control.”  –research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction (Lin & Zhou et al, 2012)

Multiple studies have now shown that there is shrinkage or loss of volume of brain tissue where the processing of information happens in the brain by too much screen time. We also know that the excessive production of cortisol in the body when people are constantly living in a state of over-stress or dis-stress causes the brain to shrink and our frontal lobe can be greatly affected.

With the loss of brain tissue our capacity to develop empathy and compassion for others is also reduced and the depth and quality of our personal relationships becomes a challenge.

As our kids continually move (and adults also) to more screen time with numerous devices, both at school, work and at home, it is moving the pendulum to breaking point I believe. We now need to create daily ‘screen free’ time every day free of devices. This becomes our health and wellbeing time to re-charge our bodies and minds.

Daily having time walking the streets in your neighbour-hood, a walk in the park, play in the park, walking the beach, swimming, cycling, going to the gym, meditating or having time reading a regular book enhance your health.

They are also good brain food, de-stress activities and they allow the pendulum to start to swing back in the opposite direction.

If you would like to immerse yourself in two days of creating your own unique Stress Management Toolkit with tools and strategies that build your resilience and lead you to the calm, then join us in Brisbane on 13 & 14 August for the Stress to Strength Experience Workshop. We have a fantastic team of qualified Stress Management Practitioners who will guide and mentor you through the processes. Plus you’ll have lots of fun and go home relaxed and de-stressed.

To join us, register at www.stresstostrength.com/experience/

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