Nearly 17% of Americans will experience major depression in their lifetimes, according to data from the National Institutes of Health. Weil believes that data overload may be largely to blame. Data is slim, he says, but notes that a 2005 Swedish study found heavy use of communications technology — your smartphone, your iPad, your computer — to be associated with feelings of stress, sleep problems and symptoms of depression in young adults.
So, in a world of unlimited data plans, Weil suggests capping your flow. It’s not easy — there’s a reason the term “Crackberry” has appeared in our modern lexicon — but Weil, noting his own battle with depression, describes three “resolute actions” to wean yourself from the digital data pipe. These behaviors “freed me to pursue more restorative activities, especially spending time in natural settings. My mind is clearer, my attention span longer and my real (as opposed to virtual) friendships closer,” Weil writes.