Technology and Wellbeing
Technology can be a great tool for mental health when used in the right way. At the same time, it can also be a cause for stress, anxiety and sleep problems.
In our busy, technology-oriented lives, it’s nearly impossible to get by without access to a phone or laptop. Although this dependence can feel overwhelming, we’ve still got the freedom as individuals to decide when and how we use technology.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of technology and how it can affect your mental wellbeing.
Ease of information
With technology in our hands, we can access information that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find. There are countless sources on the internet that can help you take control over your health, such as wellbeing guides, podcasts, online textbooks and articles.
This knowledge can empower us to make changes for the better, and understand how to deal with mental difficulties without professional intervention.
Although messages can’t replace face to face interactions, technology means you can always be in touch with someone no matter the time of day. Whether you’re in need of a shoulder to cry on, a person to vent your frustrations to or with whom to celebrate small victories, online chats and video calls can provide you with this source of connection.
It’s also possible to connect with people who you wouldn’t otherwise have met. For instance, you might join an online forum where you chat with individuals facing similar struggles who live in different parts of the world. This is a great way to feel understood and listened to wherever you come from.
Work from home
Following on from the pandemic, many people have had their first taste of home working. Whilst it’s not for everyone, working from home has its advantages. When combined with time spent in-person with your colleagues, it can create great job flexibility.
In a survey by Microsoft, around 56% of people said that working from home made them happier. This could be due to not having to commute, being better able to balance caring responsibilities with work and having more control over their work schedule. Whatever the reasons, it’s only due to technology that we can work from home.
As with many other aspects of our life, therapy is having to evolve to suit our modern needs. This has been especially true since the pandemic.
Being able to access therapy via technology means that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home or worry about scheduling it into a busy schedule. There are financial perks too – online therapy is generally a more affordable option than face-to-face talking therapy.
Ed can Help’s therapy subscription app is an example of a modern solution to therapy. With our monthly subscription, you have unlimited access to a clinical tool that gets to the root cause of your problems. The sound-based therapy sessions use specially-designed acoustic frequencies to break apart difficult thoughts and feelings.
Lack of boundaries
It can be difficult to switch off from electronic devices – in both the literal and figurative sense. Whereas, before the invention of technology, you would come home from work and instantly have distance from your workplace, now you can access work emails 24/7 on your phone or laptop.
You might find yourself constantly receiving messages from anyone and everyone you know, even when you’ve told yourself it’s time to relax or focus. This constant mental stimulation can soon lead to overwhelm and burnout, or feelings of stress and anxiety.
Blue light emitted from electronic devices can be damaging for your health. If you’re using devices just before bed, it can be difficult for your brain to switch off and get a restful night’s sleep.
We all know how important good sleep is for our wellbeing. Without it, we’re more likely to feel stressed, annoyed and exhausted. These struggles can quickly form a vicious cycle, whereby worries are exacerbated by a lack of sleep, but a lack of sleep leads to more worries.
Reading messages or watching videos late into the night will also disrupt our sleep schedules. Unfortunately, social media and television series are designed to be addictive, which can easily lead to sleep deprivation and poor brain function.
Technology brings with it the constant need to be switched on and entertained. Many of us have grown accustomed to scrolling through social media when we’re bored, which leaves us struggling to just “be in the moment”. Sometimes we just need to sit back, relax and process our thoughts. However, with a mobile device or laptop always to hand, this can be extremely challenging.
Studies show that when we receive “likes” and positive comments on social media, this triggers the release of dopamine in our brains. Although dopamine is a “happy hormone”, the fact that it’s so easily accessible can be damaging for our mental health. Seeking out our next dopamine hit can quickly become addictive.
Social media can be especially harmful to our well-being. When we’re constantly seeing people who are perfectly posed and airbrushed on Instagram or Facebook, it can make us feel inadequate and unattractive.
These social platforms also make it easy to compare our lives to the highlights of other people’s. Even if your day is going well, it can be difficult to feel positive about yourself when you’re constantly being exposed to everyone’s proudest achievements and best life experiences. This level of social comparison can quickly degrade our self-esteem. We don’t have the option to see what’s really going on behind the camera, so it’s important to remind ourselves that not everything we see is an accurate representation of someone’s life.
What role does technology play in your life? At Ed can Help, we believe it can be a great force for good when used in moderation.
Take our sound-based therapy sessions: with our app at your fingertips, you can access a clinical mental health tool whenever and wherever you need.
Access your 7-day free trial today on IOS or Android.