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There Are Mental Health Benefits of Technology, As Are Afflictions - It’s Time We Talk About It

Are you affected by technology overdose? Chances are that you'd say no. Let’s now go ahead and understand how we can improve our lives by using technology.

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CIOL Bureau
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Are you affected by technology overdose? If anyone asked you this question, chances are that you would answer ‘no’.

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Now, let’s take a look at the way things are around us.  Right from the time you wake up, to the time you sleep, there is a lot of technology consumption. The first thing that most of us do in the morning is to check the phone for social media and WhatsApp notifications. Frequent checking of notifications and responding to chat messages, social media comments and emails etc., continues throughout the day.

Go to your office cafeteria for lunch, or even a restaurant for dinner, you will find plenty of people across age groups lost in their smartphone screens. The pandemic last year made things even tougher as even small children who were earlier kept away from screens were now required to attend online classes and use laptops for most of their social/learning activities.

Such widespread prevalence of technology might have a lot of benefits for the world and various work processes. However, this digital lifestyle also has adverse impacts on our mental health. Let’s go ahead and find out what are the negative as well as positive effects of technology on our mental health.

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Negative effects of technology on mental health

Isolation

Social media is assumed to be a channel that brings people together; helps stay in touch, and enables us to make new contacts. Contrary to this perception, social media can actually cause people to feel lonely and left out. For instance, think of the times when you check others’ Instagram posts about their exotic travels and vacations with family and friends! Didn’t you feel lonely and left out as you haven’t travelled to any place for a long time? According to a study by the AJPM, heavy social media users were twice as likely to report experiencing social isolation.

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Sleep disorders

The majority of us keep our phones right next to our bed at night. We need to ensure that we can access them without needing to get up at any time. In fact, many people even put the phone under the pillow. It is also not uncommon to see someone fall asleep while holding on to it. It is a natural consequence of such habits that those people are prone to waking up due to sound and light alerts from the phone. They suffer from poor quality of sleep and decline in productivity as well which can lead to mental health disorders. A University of San Francisco research found that the longer time spent on technology each day shortens your sleep. Further, another study indicates that 47% of adults miss out on sleep due to internet usage.

Depression, stress and other mental health problems

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Widespread use of social media and screens especially for long hours has been found to cause anxiety and mental health disorders in users especially among teenagers or those in their early 20s. People crave approval, social acceptance, likes and comments etc. A new study links excessive smartphone use with higher incidences of anxiety and depression. At least a third of the smartphone notifications we receive leads to the worsening of our mood. People who spend several hours a day on social media find it difficult to focus on their work, social life, health and academic pursuits. This decline in performance leads to frustration and depression issues.

These harmful effects of tech overdose don’t imply that we need to avoid technology. In fact, there are countless benefits of technology if we use it in the right way.

Let’s now go ahead and understand how we can improve our lives by using technology and smartphone apps in the post-pandemic world.

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Social Media

There is no need to either delete your social media profiles or the apps to protect your mental wellness. A balanced and regulated social media usage can actually be highly rewarding and enrich your life quality. Here are some of the tips that can transform your social media experience:

• Log off periodically and take social media breaks

Be mindful of the content you want to share and with whom

• L
imit the number of social media apps and profiles you use

Create a schedule, turn off notifications and delete the apps which can specifically drain you of your productivity at work and studies

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Using the right apps for mental health

Mental health has become a key area of focus in the wake of the pandemic. There are now several apps and app-based platforms which offer opportunities for learning, mindfulness, and meditation etc.

You can choose an app that has nature-based, guided meditation and mindfulness lessons and live sessions. Further, use practice videos to manage challenges such as sleep, stress management, mindfulness, and benevolent parenting. Some good apps even offer an extensive bank of audio and video sessions that can help you practice meditation at home. You can also find free and paid options on such apps for mental wellness for you, your friends and family members.

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Conclusion

Technology is an integral part of our digital lives now and there is no reason why you should avoid it. However, there is a need to balance your digital interactions and restrict usage of apps and tools which don’t yield any benefits for your mental wellness. Go ahead and choose the right options and you will always be able to see the brighter side of technology!

technology mental-health