How Technology Can Help You Up Your Mental Hygiene
How Technology Can Help You Up Your Mental Hygiene

When it comes to declining mental health, many may point the finger at technology, as new media urges us to stay constantly updated and on-the-go – through ringing emails, messages and social media notifications.

The constant need to be updated can be overwhelming. However, this does not need to be the case; we can use technology as a means to practice meditation, mindfulness and better our mental health.

Taking a break

According to research by scientists at Stanford, rhythmic music may “treat a range of neurological conditions, including attention deficit disorder and depression.” [1]

Patients who deal with anxiety can use phone applications that use sound as an outlet for relaxation. By listening to soothing sounds – of music or the ocean’s waves – patients can feel more relaxed, away from the buzz of the world around them.

Some of these mindful apps zone out its users from everything; they even disable incoming notifications or emails so that there is no distraction while meditating. Often, the app’s meditation session lasts for a couple of minutes and can go up to 20 minutes or more, depending on the user’s preference.

Letting off steam with artificial intelligence

Personal assistants on phones have been around for years. Recently, apps powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have been helping people deal with loneliness.

More than 2 million people over 75 years old are living alone in England, while one-third of people over 45 years old in the USA report feelings of loneliness. [2] [3]

Alongside physical company, AI-powered apps that respond like humans and hold up conversations help patients deal with loneliness. It also provides them with an outlet to speak to someone if they cannot reach a friend – though a psychologist is always recommended and cannot be replaced by apps.

Other uses for AI in the sphere of mental wellbeing include voice detection, which a tech startup borne out of MIT has leveraged to identify signs of depression through speech; the software is also used in call centers to detect customer satisfaction levels. [4]

Noting down your habits

Around for many years, people have been noting down their habits on fitness apps to track their calorie intake and physical health.

Users can also note down their emotions to track their mental health over time. By noting down how they feel throughout the day (from a scale of very happy to very upset) users can identify which activities bring them down, and which activities make them happy.

Accordingly, users can reflect on their habits, which aids them in finding solutions where possible, and practice better habits slowly. In fact, noting down what you did throughout the day also helps with reflection, according to the rehab facility, Newport Academy, which states that writing as a form of journaling helps manage stress and increases awareness on thinking patterns. [5]

Practicing reaffirmation with notifications

Similar to receiving news, users can download apps that remind them to follow good habits such as remaining hydrated. Also, some apps provide positive reaffirmations that appear in the form of simple notifications on their phone, such as “have a great day” or “you can do this”.

Cities in the 21st century encourage hustle and productivity, which can distract us from caring for our mental hygiene. By dedicating some time every day to caring for our mental health, we can practice mindfulness with the help of these simple and encouraging apps.

Sources:

[1] Stanford, Symposium looks at therapeutic benefits of musical rhythm, 2006
[2] NHS, Loneliness in older people, 2018
[3] AARP, Loneliness and Social Connections: A National Survey of Adults 45 and Older, 2018
[4] Business Insider, A new company just launched that can detect depression based on the sound of your voice — here's how it works, 2018
[5] Newport Academy, The Power of Writing and Journaling for Mental Health, 2017