Despite the bad reputation technology has for some of its ill effects on mental health, there’s no doubt that having the internet at our fingertips can do a lot of good, too — if approached in the right way.
In the mood to work out? No problem, pull up a live-streamed fitness class and your living room becomes your gym. Want a warm dinner after a long day? There are plenty of delivery apps to choose from. Feel like being social without leaving your couch? Video calling friends is just a tap away.
The trick is tapping into the good without getting bogged down. To learn how to do that, we asked Aaron Albert, co-founder and CEO of Mine’d, a digital platform and community that connects you to emotional wellness experts, to share his insights on how to use technology to support your mental health.
“We have our phones with us everywhere, [and] we have more access to information than ever before,” Albert says. “Where it gets tricky is navigating what information is helpful and what isn’t. That is one big area Mine’d is helping folks in.”
To use technology to your benefit, you’ll also want to be connected to a great wireless provider — like Total by Verizon, which runs on the network America relies on, so you don’t have to worry about bad service or buffering.
Keep reading for Albert’s insights on how to use technology to support your mental health.
1. Establish a Consistent Routine
You’ve probably heard the phrase “consistency is key,” and that’s still just as true when applied to mental health. According to a March 2019 Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews article, routines can induce calm and help manage stress.
To apply the behavior to technology, Albert suggests establishing a consistent, achievable and intentional routine of interacting with your phone or computer rather than mindlessly scrolling. “Whether it is watching our daily Mine’d Minute, doing a journal prompt or just reading and sharing our daily quote, Mine’d [makes] it easy … to build a daily habit of self care,” Albert says.
You can also use your phone to help you establish other non-technology-based habits — such as setting an alarm to remind you to stretch, take a walk or go to bed at a certain time, all of which can have mental-health-boosting benefits.
2. Take Inventory of Your Triggers
Finding a healthy approach to technology starts by getting honest with yourself and cultivating self-awareness, Albert says. “At the end of the day, life is all about how we relate … in the context of others,” he says. “Understanding that starts with understanding ourselves more deeply, but in turn starting to recognize where we feel triggered, reactive, etc.”
So ask yourself: When and how do I feel most negatively affected by technology? Once you identify your triggers, you can work on spinning them into positives.
Do you find yourself getting distracted by text messages during the work day? Set your phone to automatically enter “do not disturb” mode during business hours. Does playing games continually keep you up at night? Try leaving your phone in a different room before you get in bed. Does comparing yourself to others on social media tend to make you feel insecure? Take a week-long break or download a social media app that’s designed to make you feel good, such as Wunder or Mine’d.
3. Explore Mental Health Resources
Gone are the days of physically sitting in a counselor’s office being a requirement for participating in therapy. Now, you can use the internet to get connected with teletherapy, on-demand resources like Mine’d or even to seek out inspiration for free ways to improve your mental wellbeing.
“Mine’d has shown me so many areas of my life in which I am able to fully own my growth and expansion,” Albert says. “This has allowed me to move into many different areas of my life with an incredible sense of accountability and ownership over my actions.”
Who says technology can’t be beneficial for mental health?
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