The Positive Effects Of Technology On Mental Health

The Positive Effects Of Technology On Mental Health

People who think technology can only harm people's mental health are living in the Stone Age.
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Flying cars, self-tying shoes, and time travel. When you think about the future of technology, what comes to mind are usually these amazing, fantastical innovations. Even though today we may not have flying cars or hoverboards we do have technology that people 50 years ago could only dream of.

The best part of these new advancements, though, is that they help people suffering from the most common affliction in the country: mental illness. I know that there are a lot of people who will say technology does more harm than good for those with mental instabilities, but it’s important to recognize how today’s technological advancements help the people already afflicted.

Despite the major psychological damage social media has on people, a study done in 2017 at Duke University concluded that adolescents who were allowed to use their phones during the week showed lower levels of anxiety and stress. This is because children who are able to connect with more of their friends and family feel less isolated. It provides others with a sense of belonging.

Another study done at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that “When people have one-on-one interaction on social media (e.g., getting a “like,” a message, or a comment), they feel more bonded." These positive effects of social media are rarely discussed when it comes to the impact it has on people with mental health issues.

On Mental Health America’s webpage, online support groups are listed for a variety of mental health problems, from Alcoholics Anonymous to Suicide prevention.

Support groups have always been a way for people to know they are not alone. When groups for certain illnesses are locally unavailable to those who need them, online support groups are used to connect people with the same struggles and who need the same support all around the world.

There are also telephone hotlines set up for people who are struggling with dark thoughts that allow them to speak with real people who listen to them and try to comfort them. There are hotlines for suicide prevention, domestic abuse, eating disorders, LGBT people, and addicts, just to list a few.

Another technological advancement that is beneficial to those with mental illnesses are apps made for cell phones. There are thousands of apps available that are used to help with various mental illnesses.

Meditation apps such as Headspace help manage stress and calm people with anxiety and panic disorders, giving them an easy way to take a second and breathe.

Apps like Mood 24/7 and Optimism track moods and thoughts, giving people who suffer from depression a place to keep track of all the emotions and experiences they have had in a day.

There are also apps like Calm Harm which are used to avoid self harm by giving the user distractions such as games to play until the urge to hurt themselves has passed.

All of the apps I just listed are free in the app store, showing how technology has made getting help so accessible.



Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.
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It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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If You Want To Die Tonight, Please Read This

I want you to live. More importantly, I want you to want to live.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Drowning.

Drowning.

Drowning.

Drowning.

The thoughts are deafening, screaming at you that the world would be better off without you and that no one would care if you were gone.

So, you find yourself on the Internet, searching for ways to die in a relatively painless way that will leave the least amount of mess for others. You find yourself thinking about the bridge a half mile from your house or the assortment of pills lining the walls of your medicine cabinet. You remember that your roommates will not be home from class for a few hours; that you are totally alone.

And then, in your Internet search for ways to finally escape the pain, you happen upon this article.

Yes, this one right here.

This one telling you to stay.

And, well, you find yourself still reading along because a piece of you, even if it is the smallest piece of your existence, wants a reason to live.

* * *

I am not sure what is causing you pain, and maybe you honestly are not sure either. All you know is that you have this pain — this never-ending pain — and it's become enough.

Society tells us that we need to tattoo a smile onto our faces and pretend that everything is OK even when we are aching on the inside. If you take one thing away from this article, I want you to remember this — it is OK not to be OK. It is OK if you are not OK today or tomorrow or next week or a year from now. However, one day, it will be a little better and there will be a little bit of sunshine peeking out through the clouds.

I want you to live. More importantly, I want you to want to live.

And, sometimes, wanting to live is about just noticing the little things that make you happy and remembering them.

Like the way the sun looks glistening off of the lake by your house at 5:47 p.m. on a Thursday evening.

Or the way the scent of your coffee creeps up your nostrils while it cools to a drinkable temperature.

Or the fact that a new episode of your family's favorite show is coming on this Thursday.

Or the way your Lush bath bomb colors your water into beautiful shades of blue and green and yellow and pink.

Or the dinner your Mom cooked for tonight to share with you, your Dad, and your sister.

* * *

Life may not turn out how you plan, but perhaps that is not a bad thing.

God has a plan for you.

Why the plan involves you feeling this way, I do not know, but I do know that God did not bring you into this world to suffer.

You deserve help.

You deserve love.

You deserve to be supported.

Even if you feel alone, I promise you are never alone.

You can text "Hello" to 741-741 at any hour of the day and someone will be there to support you.

* * *

So, tonight while you want to die, please just think about the last time you smiled so hard that your face physically hurt or laughed until you almost peed. Just think about a time that you felt something besides what you are feeling now and hold onto it.

Hold onto it, lie down, and go to sleep.

And wake up tomorrow knowing that you are a survivor.

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