5 Ways Technology Affects Your Mental Health
Technology is an unavoidable part of life these days, and it clearly comes with many advantages. We’re more connected than ever before, and any information you need can be found online in only a matter of seconds. But how does technology affect our mental health? Below, find five ways that the use of technology can actually be a detriment to you mentally.
Excessive use of technology can lead to problems with focus and concentration.
It has been found that the average person checks their phone every 12 minutes, and the day often begins by catching up on social media and phone notifications. Unfortunately, being in this “always on” state actually erodes the ability to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. Constant distractions and interruptions from your phone throughout the day have long-term negative consequences. Luckily, it’s possible to work on this issue by turning off your phone or leaving it in another room when you need to focus on a specific task.
The use of technology and social media can lead to isolation.
It’s somewhat ironic that although we are all very much connected online these days, this online connection can lead to real-life isolation. One study showed that young adults who were very active on social media were more than three times as likely to feel socially isolated! This social isolation was not seen in young adults who did not frequently use social media. So if you’re a Twitter and Facebook fanatic, be sure to take regular breaks and to connect with the people you care about in person. Although likes and comments can provide a quick dopamine boost, they simply can’t replace real-life interactions and connections with others. To speak to a mental health professional about isolation and other issues, click over to MyTherapist.
The blue light from televisions, computers, and cell phones can cause issues with sleep.
Sleep plays a huge role in our overall health and mood, so anything that disrupts your sleep should be taken very seriously. The light that comes from electronics prevents the brain from producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. This is why you often hear the recommendation to avoid using electronics for at least an hour before bed; this way, your brain is able to keep up its regular sleep and wake cycle and produce melatonin as it should naturally. Staying away from the electronics before bedtime is an easy and effective way to improve the quality of your sleep as well as your mood and energy level the following day.
The use of technology and social media has been linked to increased anxiety.
While the internet is a treasure trove of information and can provide answers to any number of questions, it can also provide its users with unnecessary anxiety. Anxiety can develop as a result of constantly seeing negative or upsetting news headlines online; another source of anxiety is the common practice of typing symptoms you’re experiencing into a search engine to see what type of illness you may be experiencing. In addition, the use of social media can increase anxiety in some people. However, studies show that those who have overwhelmingly positive interactions on social media can actually have lower levels of anxiety, so results may vary depending on a case-by-case basis.
The need to stay connected on social media can lead to depression.
It’s very sad to think that social media platforms, which were originally intended to help people stay connected with others, are now associated with mental health issues such as depression. The reality is that depression and low self-esteem can result when people rely on social media to provide them with validation and affirmation. The need to appear perfect on these platforms can add a significant amount of stress to a person’s life, and it can keep them from enjoying their life in the moment as well. Those who are prone to social comparison can also experience negative emotions and even mental health issues when they use social media regularly. The simple solution is to disconnect and take a break from social media on occasion, or even to stop using social media altogether if you’ve noticed that it has a detrimental effect on your mental health.
The Bottom Line
It’s clear that today’s advanced technology comes with many different advantages and benefits. But just like everything else in the world, there are drawbacks to technology and social media as well. The use of technology has been associated with issues such as not being able to concentrate, isolation, anxiety, depression, and problems with sleep. If your mental health has suffered as a result of technology use, be sure to evaluate the situation or even talk to a mental health professional in order to alleviate the issues you’re experiencing.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.