The technology driven meltdown – in Lockdown
We live in a world where we have become accustomed to *easy*. From microwaves, Nespresso, smartphones, or uber… our lives have been and continue to be simplified through technology. Therefore, on a good day, experiencing a problem with technology can be frustrating. This is because we have a reasonable expectation that technology should enable certain functions and in the process make our lives a little ( or a lot) easier, even better. So, if this expectation is not met it is natural to feel frustrated/ angry/ disappointed/ stressed and even sad. Frustration is the gap between our expectations and reality.
As we all know, emotions are complex. Psychologists say that we have only 6 basic emotions, which are happiness, anger, sadness, fear, surprise, and disgust. All of our other emotions are built from the 6 basic emotions. For example, jealousy stems from a combined feeling of anger or sadness, while satisfaction can be a type of happiness.
Emotions are regulated in the brain. “Any experience causes neurons in our brains to fire. Repeated experiences cause neurons to fire repeatedly.” — explains author and clinician Linda Graham — ”Neurons that ‘fire together wire together,’ strengthening neural connections.” The amygdala is the reason why we are afraid of things that are out of our control. This region of the brain, located in the medial temporal lobe, assesses every experience, for safety or danger, and assigns an emotional charge.
When you relive “bad” experiences, you are causing more neurons to fire in your brain. The negative emotional charge creates a vicious cycle. You are turning your brain into a frustration addict. A healthy dose of frustration can be useful leading to determination and resilience. But when “stupid frustrations” take over your life, that’s a waste of time. Frustration is a contagious emotion.
Emotions compounded during Lockdown
It is well documented how the experience of lockdown plays havoc on our emotions. Anger and frustration, fear, hopelessness, anxiety, sadness is navigated on a daily basis. Furthermore, we crave human touch. In addition, life, as we know it, changed overnight and we had no time to navigate that new normal: work from home; homeschooling; online church; online everything; meeting people behind masks. So, while we are in this state and our neurons are firing over time, it makes sense that the smallest technology challenge can throw us over the edge and lead to an emotional meltdown.
How to cope, with Mindfulness
Therefore, firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself. You are not alone. Take a moment, step away and do whatever helps you release tension.
Then, becoming more aware of our thinking can improve how we experience and deal with our emotions. In the moment, stop and ask yourself:
⁃ What happened
⁃ How did I react
⁃ How do I feel
This will create awareness and assist you in putting things into perspective. It will then enable you to reframe the problem, that it’s just a machine that’s broken. Not all the associated fears, anger, frustration, and whatever else you may be feeling toward people. Then, release it…
Thank you for reading and I trust it brought enlightenment.
About the Author
Dr. Natasha Winkler-Titus is an Organizational Psychologist in private practice; teach OD and Change theory and practice; supervise internships and serves as a board member for the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology- SA. She enjoys the outdoors, run the occasional half marathon with her husband and mine for opportunities to impact human lives.