How are technology and mental health related? Better yet, how can technology actually help one’s mental health? Can it hurt it? The answers to these questions may not be so obvious as we don’t normally associate good mental health with gaming or being online frequently. Society is much more likely to say that technology has led to a decline in overall health in the population. The reality is that technology can be just as bad for you as it can be good. It’s all about balance and setting yourself up for success from the start. If you’ve been noticing your mental health getting worse, visit https://www.mytherapist.com/advice/ for more advice on seeking help and feeling better. You should also take a chance to consider how your use of technology may be helping or holding you back.
How it Helps
- More access to resources: If you’re someone with a busy schedule, it may be hard to find the time to make it to therapy each week. Or you might be a homebody who enjoys the comfort of their home. Whichever it is, it might be more practical for you to receive mental health care virtually. You can now meet with a therapist online over video, the phone, or through chat. This makes it a lot easier for people to seek care.
- Helpful apps and games: Some video games specifically address mental health, now that it’s becoming a much less taboo topic. There have also been apps created specifically for mental health. You can utilize these apps to meditate, become more mindful, journal your thoughts, or reduce anxiety and stress.
- Social connection: The gaming world gives you a chance to connect with other gamers all around the world. You can even have your friends over and play alongside one another. While social isolation is another possibility if you choose to always play alone, gaming offers just as many chances for creating a solid support team of pals who share the same interests that you do.
How it Hurts
- Overuse: Moderation in any activity is key. If you’re spending all your spare time playing video games or online, it’s likely you’re using it too much. The trick is to limit the amount of time you play video games and stare at a screen each day and make sure to take lots of regular breaks as well to give your mind a chance to relax. Video games can be both time consuming and require all your attention, so be careful not to get sucked in by their allure.
- Harms physical health: If you aren’t making time for exercise on top of playing video games and being online, your physical health is likely to suffer for it. If you have a tendency to snack during gaming, like most do, that can also pose a risk to your physical health. If you must snack in front of the screen, be sure to eat healthy snacks like fruits and veggies.
- Loneliness, anxiety, depression: Many mental health conditions can come out of spending too much time on technology. Loneliness can occur if you spend too much time alone and don’t have a friend group outside of gaming. Sitting inside a dark room all day playing video games can make you feel depressed and lead you to develop anxiety too. Some people get so used to being online all day they feel anxious leaving their home.
- Addiction: Anything can become an addiction, from food to activities and more. Addictions are like compulsions that feel uncontrollable, even if it begins to harm yourself or those around you. Your job, schooling, relationships, or other aspects of life might suffer because of it. Gamers are especially prone to addiction because of how much focus video games take. Video game situations can feel real and stepping away even for a short amount of time can feel almost impossible. Those who have a healthy relationship with gaming are able to step away with relative ease, knowing the game will be waiting for them right where they left it last.
As you can see, your relationship with technology largely depends on you. You’ll need to set up healthy habits from the start to ensure your hobby is a fulfilling one. Video games and other types of online activities can keep your brain stimulated and active, which is great to keep mental health conditions like dementia at bay. Be sure to combine your hobby with other helpful activities, though. It can be hard to tell when you’ve crossed that line into a full-blown addiction, so if you’re ever concerned, speak with a therapist or other professional. Sometimes you need an outside perspective for these types of matters, so don’t be afraid to get others involved. Your mental health is the most important thing, so make sure to prioritize it in every aspect of your life.