DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: HOW WE CAN MAKE OUR SMARTPHONES WORK IN OUR FAVOUR
When we mention smartphones and their effect on our mental health, some may be quick to say that they are extremely detrimental and should be avoided at all costs during times where our mental health may be low. However, despite some of the inherent issues that come along with the capabilities of modern smartphones, there are many ways that we can reverse the norm and make our smartphones start to work in our favour.
There are lots of debates surrounding the topic of smartphone addiction and, whilst there is no evidence to show the development of a physical addiction to our smartphones, it is clear that there are some seemingly ritualistic behaviours that we can associate with a powerful attachment to them.
To many of us, this comes as no surprise. You may already be aware of various ways in which we can track our smartphone usage - Apple iPhone users may frequently check their screen time within their phone's settings...or may have done this once and now avoid ever looking at it again. However, whether you are currently aware of the amount of time you spend on your smartphone or not, it is important to identify some of the warning signs of smartphone features that are negatively impacting our mental health. (psssst...don't worry, we wont be nagging you for much longer - feel free to scroll past the negative side of this post and go straight to the ways in which we can make our phones work in our favour!)
One of the many ways that we can start to become addicted is through our apps constantly sending us notifications. It can almost seem like someone is in the room with us shouting and screaming for attention, and, the only way to get rid of it is to click and load the app. Once we've clicked on it, we're much more likely to actually use the app or play the game instead of disabling the notifications.
Another one is the way in which many of our favourite apps refresh themselves. How many times have you been on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and caught yourself in a vicious cycle of pulling the page down to refresh the feed. It can become somewhat of ritual for us to constantly in need of seeing what's new...and the nice little noise it makes when refreshing only fuels this fire.
So...finally, what can we do to make our smartphones start to work in our favour? Here's some of our top tips!
There are loads of ways in which we can become more at ease and mindful when using our smartphones and many of these come in the form of relaxation or meditation apps. One of our favourites is the Headspace app. Headspace is an app that teaches you all about meditation and the process of relaxing the body from head to toe. There are several different courses available within Headspace ranging from meditation for sleep, to coping with a traumatic event, to recovering from rigorous exercise. Headspace delivers these meditation courses through a soothing guiding voice with very calming sounds in the background - this proves to be particularly useful when utilising Headspace for sleep.
Another useful app for mindfulness is Calm. When downloading Calm you can input what it is that has brought you to try meditation. The choices include developing gratitude, easing stress, building self-esteem, and trouble sleeping. Calm is similar to Headspace in the way that it utilises meditation and relaxation techniques to guide you through the process from start to finish. You may want to test out both Headspace and Calm to find which one works best for you.
SOCIAL MEDIA CLEAR OUT
Social media can be a wonderful thing when it comes to keeping us connected with loved ones, inspiring creativity, and staying up-to-date with the world. However, not everything we see on social media will be positive. It may be beneficial to go through our social media accounts and have a bit of clear out. This may include looking at who is on our friends lists and the accounts that we are following. If you find something that may be upsetting or create a rise in negative emotion - consider removing or unfollowing them. If, in the future, you think it will be beneficial to reconnect then you can simply add or follow again. Although this may mean small, it can have a huge effect on our mental health as the accounts we follow will dictate what we see on our phones on a daily basis.
GET THOSE NOTIFICATIONS OFF
As we said before, the notifications that our apps send us can sometimes become overwhelming. The easiest way to reduce this cause of stress is to go into the settings of the app itself or your phone and disable the notifications. This way, you will be free to have some downtime away from your phone without the risk of hearing or seeing these constant alerts. Not only does doing these remove the stress of the alerts, but it is also a sign of us taking back control and dictating how things work on our own terms - not our phones' terms.
This one can work both ways. On one hand, seeing memories of our past photo uploads or statuses may remind us of happier times and fond memories. However, there is a risk that there are some memories that we would rather not be reminded of. You can take control of this by accessing your settings on your Facebook profile and deciding if the "On this day" feature is a good one for you to have enabled or not.
So there we have it. We know now that our smartphones can be both a helping hand as well as a hindrance. So let's start taking control and making them work for us...not against us.
We would love it if you would consider sharing this post with friends! Who knows, they may find it useful!