We often hear about the negative effects of technology, and social media in particular–but is it possible to use technology to your advantage, in order to improve your mental health? The answer is that, when used mindfully, yes! It is absolutely possible to seek out specific apps, websites, and other resources that will help you on your journey of self-improvement. Some are targeted toward specific mental health disorders, while others provide help with meditation and more. Check out five great ways to use mental health-enhancing technology below.
1. Download apps that fit your mental health needs.
Happify is a great example of an app that can improve your mental health. Through fun games and activities, Happify relieves anxiety and stress. It can also teach you healthy coping skills and aid in building resilience. Breathe2Relax is another app that can help reduce stress through breathing exercises. Intellicare focuses on managing worries, while Headspace has a huge variety of themed sessions to target various mental health issues. There are plenty of other apps out there, too–be sure to take a look at your App Store or Play Store to see what it has to offer. Apps can be a helpful tool, especially in conjunction with counseling or therapy, to keep you on track and teach you valuable skills.
2. Join online support groups.
We’ve all experienced the feeling of relief that arises when you tell someone about a problem you’ve been experiencing, and they respond, “I know exactly what you mean!” The ability to speak with others who have gone through similar situations and experiences is truly invaluable, and feeling supported by others can have a hugely beneficial effect on your overall mental health. Plus, the number of online support groups has grown quite a bit in recent years, and there are support groups for just about anything you can think of. Some online support groups are even facilitated by mental health professionals who can steer the conversation and provide educated suggestions.
3. Enroll in online counseling services.
There are many different online counseling platforms to choose from, and with research showing that online counseling is just as effective as traditional counseling, there’s no reason to shy away from these easily accessible services! Most online counseling platforms allow you to communicate with your counselor in a variety of ways: live video sessions, phone or audio sessions, asynchronous messaging, and live chat. Plus, you’re typically able to switch counselors until you find one that is a good match for you. Although online counseling isn’t usually free, some platforms offer financial aid and others accept insurance. Engaging in the counseling process using your computer or smartphone is one great way to use technology to benefit your mental health.
4. Watch guided meditation videos of Mental Health.
Meditation comes with a vast array of advantages, but for a lot of people, it’s a struggle to sit and meditate without any guidance. That’s where online guided meditations come into play. YouTube and many other sites have tons of different guided meditation videos from a variety of people, so you can explore until you find a style that works well for you. Following along with a video, even just for a few minutes, can benefit you mentally by helping you slow down your breath and clear your mind.
5. Stream music without lyrics for relaxation or concentration.
If you have a go-to music streaming app or website, take a look at the instrumental music they offer. Many people need background noise of some kind while working, so streaming music that doesn’t have distracting lyrics can be very helpful. Apps that produce different types of noises, like a babbling brook or a rainstorm, can have the same effect as well. In addition, there’s a lot of music out there that’s meant to help you relax. Just sitting and listening to this music while focusing on your breathing is a great way to calm your mind and body.
The Bottom Line
Technology comes with its downfalls, but it also has plenty of benefits. In fact, you can improve your mental health using resources that you can access using simple technology such as your smartphone and computer. There are many apps available that target various mental health concerns, and online support groups are a great place to go if you’re seeking understanding and support. Online counseling platforms offer the full counseling experience in a more affordable and accessible way, while guided meditation videos can offer a few minutes of calm and relaxation during your busy day. Finally, your favorite music app or website is sure to have plenty of relaxing music that you can use to your advantage, whether that means playing it in the background while working or listening to it to help you relax.