The Critical Ways Technology Affects Mental Health
In the past few years, there has been an increase in mental health problems. There are many factors that contribute to this, but one of the main ones is technology. The use of social media and screen time can lead people to have a lower quality of life and even depression.
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important not only to reduce how much time you spend on your phone or computer each day but also to find alternative ways for self-expression such as art or writing which will help keep your mood up!
It has been proven that with more time spent on screens, there are increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It seems that these disorders are most common when people use their phones for prolonged periods of time or have little face-to-face contact with others.
For example, someone who spends all day on social media may not feel fulfilled by their interactions online because they lack the human interaction needed for emotional well-being. A way to combat this would be to limit your screen time so you don’t get too wrapped up in it or find other ways to enjoy yourself.
For teens, it is more difficult because they’ve grown up with technology and may not know a world where it didn’t exist. With all these devices at our hands, we must ensure that mental health doesn’t become compromised as more screen time means less human interaction.
The Effects Of Technology On Mental Health
The amount of time you spend on social media may have a larger impact on your mental health than you think. According to a recent study, roughly 90 percent of adults who use the internet feel that social media has “some” or a “great deal” of influence on their lives.
Social media has been one of the largest factors in depression and anxiety among young people, with many teens spending hours scrolling through pictures and statuses from other people rather than talking to real-life friends.
This constant interaction with social media can make someone feel like they are missing out on some sort of inside joke because they aren’t following along. In reality, though, this isn’t true and the only person it’s really doing harm to is yourself.
A 2013 study found that over half of people between the ages of 18 and 34 who were surveyed reported having suicidal thoughts, compared to only 15 percent in the 1980s.
Technology is so ingrained in our society today that it can be hard to take a break away from social media or certain online forums without feeling like you are missing out on something important.
The key is to use technology in moderation. Don’t let yourself get sucked into hours spent online when you should be enjoying life offline with friends and family instead.
When you feel the urge to check your phone when you’re not expecting an important email or text, step away for a few minutes and go look at pictures of cats or read about what Kim Kardashian is up to instead, to keep yourself from mindlessly reaching for your phone.
Certain forums are known to trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety since they tend to bring out negative self-talk in users, so if you have a history of these types of disorders it is best to avoid being on those sites for any length of time.
Also, be sure not to check your email first thing in the morning. This is now one of the most common bad habits people fall into. If you start each day by checking your email before anything else, you are setting yourself up for stress before you’ve even gotten out of bed!
Otherwise making sure to establish a healthy media diet. Refrain from watching violent shows or movies, and try to stick with activities that promote positive feelings within you.
Technology Is Not All Bad
However, technology is not all bad when it comes to mental health. The biggest benefit is the ability to connect with people who truly understand what you are going through.
A person’s mental health condition can lead them down some alone roads, but having chat rooms, forums, or anything similar available at your fingertips can be an invaluable tool for feeling less isolated in your struggles.
One study indicates that internet use for social purposes actually has a positive effect on one’s overall mood! The findings go on to show this type of activity also reduces feelings of loneliness and promotes better sleep quality.
This study also reported that individuals who used social media as a way to connect with others experienced positive effects on their mental health. Short-term effects often seen in those suffering from a mood disorder, such as the ones mentioned above, can benefit tremendously from being able to access these tools at any given time.
Most Common Conditions
The two most common mental health conditions are anxiety and depression. Many people living with either of these never seek help or support because they feel ashamed or embarrassed, which is extremely unfortunate because both of these conditions have proven ways to be managed by those willing to try.
In one study, analyses were performed on data collected from 2000-2013 as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
The goal was to determine if there was a relationship between an individual’s mental health condition and their use of technology. The study determined that those who sought help for a mental health condition were more likely to utilize technological tools than those with no history of treatment.
The primary technology used is the computer, followed by tablets, smartphones, and video games.
When considering what technologies are being used most commonly, it makes sense that they would be the ones most accessible at any given time.
It also makes sense that people living with chronic conditions would want to have easy access to therapies they’ve been prescribed without the obstacle of scheduling appointments every week or making multiple trips to the therapist’s office; this happens often within rural areas where access to these professionals is limited already.
Examples Of How People Are Affected By Technology
When you have a headache, do you decide to take something for it or go about your day? Do you choose to rest and try to manage the pain with over-the-counter drugs that may only relieve symptoms to some degree?
As technology becomes more prevalent in our lives, physical therapy is becoming less common.
In the past few years, there has been a trend of patients who after having been prescribed exercise by their therapist or doctor to help them recover from an injury but have failed to do so. Instead, these people have chosen to rely on technology as a means of recovery while neglecting to implement what was recommended by professionals.
It’s not uncommon for someone to come into my office with aches and pains and for me to prescribe physical therapy, but I have noticed a recent pattern in the patients who reject my advice. Nowadays, when it comes time for them to recover from their injury, instead of investing in physical therapy (which is one of the most crucial components in recovery), they choose to limit technology use and begin devoting more time to exercising.
There are several studies out there that link increased technology use with negative health effects; however, what about the positive ways it can be used?
Technology has become such an integrated part of our lives that few people put much thought into how consuming too many media platforms or playing video games all the time could impact their mental health. That is why it’s imperative to discuss how technology is impacting mental health, whether it’s for the better or worse.
People often turn to technology as a way of coping with mental illness and processing trauma. There are countless support groups online that people can join and discuss their issues with others who may be experiencing similar symptoms. However, there is also a risk of developing an addiction to technology as an escape from your problems, which will only exacerbate your condition and make recovery more difficult.
We all know someone who seems to have difficulty regulating their use of social media or video games or smartphones – sometimes even feeling “addicted” to these apps – and have we ever thought about what this could mean for them psychologically. Instead, find other ways to relieve stress such as physical activity, hobbies, or a dedicated time for relaxation.
In short: Social media and technology, in general, can be contributors to mental health problems but they can also be used to help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. As with anything, finding a balance is key.
How To Use Technology In A Healthy Way
It’s important for us to utilize the true health benefits of technology. Some of the ways you can use technology to improve your way of life are by utilizing apps, taking a break from your phone every now and then, and finding new ways to let loose.
Here are some examples of how you can use technology in a healthy way:
Apps such as Headspace and Calm can be used as tools for relaxation, mindfulness, and maintaining positive mental health. A quick search on the app store will show you the positives of these apps.
A study by Wellcome Open Research found that meditation apps can help with stress and anxiety. If you find yourself stressed or anxious after scrolling through your social media feeds for too long, put down your phone and pick up a book instead.
The best part? You don’t need an e-reader for this; libraries usually have books available physically, and you can also borrow Kindle books from the library.
To improve your mental state, try to differentiate between “needs” and “wants.” Some people find it helpful to keep a daily journal about what they need (for example, sleep) versus what they want (to binge-watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
If you’re having trouble deciding whether something is a need or want, ask yourself: Is this item sustainable if I don’t do it? This one might help you remember that you should go to sleep right after an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine every once in a while!
Staying active will help relax your mind. Not only does physical activity release feel-good endorphins, but it’s proven to reduce stress over any other activity.
Getting your mind off of your worries can also be a great way to relax. Try going out with friends or doing something you enjoy, like drawing or running.
Limiting Your Time On Technology
It should go without saying that limiting your time on technology is important.
The more you use your phone, the more likely it is that you’ll feel stressed by it.
One study even found that just being around a cell phone increases stress, a strong indicator that a daily detox from technology may be beneficial.
But if you do need to use technology for work or school purposes, there are ways to become less attached to it. Try limiting yourself to “internet-free days” so you can give yourself some time off from Facebook and Twitter.
It will help keep your mind free of worries and increase productivity in other areas of your life!
It’s clear that technology is a major contributor to mental health issues. And, while it may be difficult to limit your use of devices and social media in this day and age, there are ways you can better manage your time spent on these things without feeling like you’re missing out.
We’ve discussed how you can harness the power of technology for mental well-being – not just at work but also during leisure time. Technology has been shown to have both positive and negative effects on mental health. Exposure to technology, social media, video games, or other digital devices can be addictive in nature.
It is important for parents of children who are using these technologies at a younger age to monitor their usage so they don’t become addicted. However, there are also many ways that technology impacts people positively.
It increases the amount of face-to-face time with friends and family members by providing alternative means of communication instead of being physically present which could increase happiness levels; it provides an outlet for creativity through blogging or vlogging which may improve self-esteem; etcetera… The list goes on!