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Never before have we been so bombarded with distractions. The ancient evolutionary drive to take in information – an important survival trait – has been subverted by modern media.

That’s particularly true when it comes to internet marketers dangling “clickbait” before us.

Each time we click, we get a tiny dose of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that stimulates our reward and pleasure centers. Something similar happens when playing video games. Some researchers believe both net surfing and video gaming are addictive.

As we lose ourselves in distraction, we stress about responsibilities that we are putting off.

Less focus, more stress. Endlessly.

As we lose ourselves in distraction, we stress about responsibilities that we are putting off.

Less focus, more stress. Endlessly.

Treatment For Stress

Bring to the table win-win survival strategies to ensure proactive domination. At the end of the day, going forward, a new normal that has evolved from generation X is on the runway heading towards a streamlined cloud solution. User generated content in real-time will have multiple touchpoints for offshoring. Capitalize on low hanging fruit to identify a ballpark value added activity to beta test. Override the digital divide with additional clickthroughs from DevOps. Nanotechnology immersion along the information highway will close the loop on focusing solely on the bottom line.


Two Ways Out

The first required change is bringing awareness to the behavior. I’m a fan of apps such as RescueTime that track how we spend the online hours, allowing us to set goals around various web-based activities.

A more straight forward plan is declaring days, or parts of days, screen-free and sticking to it. Even better are screen-free days spent entirely outdoors, which can be profoundly healing.

The second source of aid in our quest for calm focus is biochemical. Traditional healers throughout history have noted that ingesting certain plants improved the ability to focus and/or relieved anxiety and other stresses.

Here are four that science has confirmed are particularly safe and effective:

● Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri): Prized in Ayurveda for improving mental function, this perennial found in the warm wetlands of Australia and India was allegedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred scriptures. Its ability to enhance calm, focused study appears to come partially from increasing cerebral blood flow. It may also offer the long-term benefit of reducing beta-amyloid concentrations, which may be particularly relevant with aging.

● Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.): Another vital Ayurvedic herb, tulsi, also known as holy basil, exhibits a wide range of cognition-enhancing and anxiety-reducing effects, and has also been shown to lower cortisol, a hormone associated with stressful states.

● Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): This calming, restorative herb native to southern Asia has been shown to improve “executive function, sustained attention and information-processing speed.”

● L-Theanine: A component of green tea, several human studies have found it to be a potent calming agent, reducing both reported stress and cortisol response.

To get the enhanced focus and stress reduction benefits of all four, I recommend a blend of these agents as a part of an integrative approach to helping our patients cope with stress.