The overuse of smartphones has a bad reputation for negatively affecting your mental health, increasing anxiety and worry and degrading your quality of connections. While there are significant consequences resulting from the prevalence of smartphones and rise of social media, there are also noteworthy benefits of the smartphone for your mental well-being if you know where to look and how to use it to your advantage.
Evidence now suggests that smartphones can be used as a tool for treating and easing mental health issues and can have a positive effect on your mind. Here are some of the ways in which smartphones can boost overall well-being:
Mental health-focused apps
There are millions of apps downloadable at the touch of a finger, and many of them are dedicated to improving mental health and well-being. Users can find everything from digital life coaches to tools for meditation, yoga and even suicide prevention.
The accessibility and easy-to-use nature of these apps mean that users can use it anytime, anyplace and anywhere they choose, making it not only a positive influence on their mental health but less daunting to pursue well-being, too. Apps offer privacy and convenience which means more people are joining the mental health revolution in their own time and pace.
While social media can breed jealousy and “FOMO” or the “fear of missing out,” it has also opened up the world at the touch of your fingers. You can now connect with anyone, anywhere in the world instantly; gone are the days where you would have to wait days for a letter or reply from a loved one.
This new way of communication encourages people to connect in ways that were not previously possible and helps people who have mental health issues to reach out to others with the same illness. It provides support, feelings of connectedness, reassurance and much needed hope that things will get better and that they are not alone. This feeling of belonging can contribute to positive well-being.
As well as being able to connect with people all around the world about their mental health disorders, people are now able to learn about their illnesses and how to treat it as well as track their progress. A wealth of tools are available for those who want to monitor their mental health, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression.
These tools also provide greater access for people to mental health professionals via online chat, emails and video calls regardless of distance. This telemedicine has a made a way for online therapists where people can now talk to licensed professionals with complete confidentiality. Battling through their mental health issues in a time and place that they feel safe to undertake contributes to a sense of ease and empowerment.
Access to a smartphone and the internet can be a lifeline for many people. Not only are people able to easily access well-being tools, connect instantly to other people with the same struggles and monitor their mental health with the aid of professionals, they are able to self-educate themselves and normalise conditions that have a lot of stigma around them. We can choose to embrace technology as a pathway to greater awareness of issues facing the human mind and encourage the engagement it so wonderfully creates for the mental health community and beyond.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.