Modern Problems We Shouldn’t Ignore … And What To Do About Them
The concept of a “first world problem” or a “21st Century” problem is something you’re probably familiar with, even if those terms are not ones you would use yourself. You’ve almost certainly experienced such a problem, possibly just in the last 24 hours.
It’s easy to take the attitude that because it’s the kind of problem that could only happen because of years of progress, it’s somehow ungrateful to feel annoyed about it. The truth is, though, that just because an issue falls under the umbrella of “21st Century problems”, that doesn’t make it any less annoying, worrying or important to address.
We’ve all seen cases where someone has been highlighting a modern issue and expressing the importance of doing something about that issue, only for someone to reply “You’re complaining about this from your iPhone”, as though participating in modern society makes it hypocritical when you point out the shortcomings of this society. But as we’ll see in the rundown of modern problems before, they shouldn’t be ignored and it is right to want to do something about them.
If you’ve ever felt guilty about your first world problems, you should certainly read on…
Hands up: how many of us in the final months of 2019 knew what a coronavirus was? By March 2020, how many of us knew more than we’d ever have imagined there was to know about virology? The pandemic has given us time to absorb news, and a lot of news to absorb, and it’s one example of how it’s very easy for a person to become overloaded with new information.
This can have profound impacts on your mental health.
With 24-hour news, social media, and a growing level of connectivity in the world, more of us than ever are being exposed to the many ways in which life can be brutal, scary and cruel.
While we should never turn our backs on the problems in the world – because, rest assured, they’ll find you anyway – there is something to be said for switching off every once in a while. Take the information you need in order to stay safe and protect those who matter to you, but the practice of “doomscrolling”, which can become addictive, is to be avoided.
Not least because while the news runs for 24 hours, it can often go over the same points in punishing detail multiple times – so you’re no better informed than you were, but you are more terrified.
If the you of 2001 could see the you of 2021 when your internet service is on the blink, what would they say? Countless numbers of us spend more time than we should grimacing at our digital devices when they fail to show us the information we asked for within the fraction of a second we’ve become used to waiting.
Even just 20 years ago, if you wanted to know the outcome of, say, an election in Germany, you’d usually have to wait for hours after the polls closed, and probably until the following morning. These days, we don’t usually need to wait, so when we are forced to, it feels like we’re being failed.
Then there is the amount of content that we can lay our hands on without even needing to wait. We can only store so much of this on a device, which can make it disturbing when we look to download something new and find our iPhone storage full. It may seem like a privileged problem – but when everything from claiming furlough funds to applying for a new job needs to be done online, our devices failing can be highly distressing. Once a week, take time to delete files you no longer need – and once a month, check your devices for bloatware, which can slow your phone or laptop speed to a crawl,
Blue Light Insomnia
It’s a fact that often goes unrecognised, but in 2021 every new television on sale is a flat-screen model, and larger than the average TV was even just 15 years ago. So when people snarl about someone struggling to make ends meet “even though they have a big flat-screen TV”, they’re really not making the point they think they are.
That point aside, though, there are definite drawbacks to the newer models of TV – drawbacks that a lot of us aren’t aware of.
The most concerning of these is Blue Light Insomnia. Plenty of people realise that this is a threat from their phone, and from their laptop, both of which will usually have a setting that allows the screen to be dimmed and blue light removed. However, a new TV will usually be backlit by LEDs which emit blue light that you never even notice – but which can zap your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, believing that you should be up and even releasing stress hormones.
Not only will you struggle to get to sleep, but when you do doze off it will be less than restful. So set a point in the day, no fewer than two hours before you go to bed, when the TV is switched to a dimmer setting – this will allow you to relax more fully and get a better night’s sleep.
Finally, a brief note about dietary intolerances. Some people will argue loudly that there is really no such thing as an intolerance to gluten, or to other ingredients in certain foods, because for the most part diet-related conditions seem to be a new thing. The truth is that as medical science develops, and more conditions are successfully treated, we’re learning more about conditions that weren’t recognised before.
In fact, people throughout time certainly have had dietary intolerances, but these issues were often attributed to other causes or were not spotted because general levels of health were lower. So if you have a diagnosed dietary intolerance it is your right to seek for adjustments to be made by restaurants and at dinner parties – and anyone expressing scepticism is misinformed.
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