Technology is a wonderful thing. With new inventions releasing and old technologies being constantly upgraded and worked on, the standard of living has increased drastically as time goes on. Without technology, traveling from one side of the world to the other would take weeks, rather than hours; communication would be at a snail’s pace rather than instantaneous; curable diseases could be far more dangerous rather than preventable. 

 

Even with all of the improvements technology has brought us, it’s important to consider the negative impacts in addition to the positives, especially when it comes to our mental health. Keeping this in mind will help us better understand the consequences of the world we live in, and allow us to better react to situations as we see fit.

 

Positives

 

  • With technology, reaching out for help has never been easier. Crisis Text Lines are available for those who need someone to talk to, and apps have been developed to specifically help those with mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, and more. 
  • Blogging is often considered therapeutic. It has the same effects as handwriting in a journal does, letting you put your thoughts out onto the web (anonymously or otherwise). The blogging community is often encouraging and supportive, which creates a support system for those who need it.
  • Scientists are currently testing virtual reality (VR) to use as exposure therapy.
  • Online therapy is available to those who need it through sites such as BetterHelp and 7 Cups, going as far as offering one-on-one sessions with professionals through video and text.

 

Negatives

 

  • An excess amount of exposure to technology can dramatically break up your sleep schedule, to the point that some people end up with a sleep disorder. 
  • Studies have shown that those who feel like they need to have their phone consistently available and with them are more likely to have depression. Likewise, with social media at our fingertips, it’s easy to slip into the thought process that your life isn’t as interesting or fulfilling as others. This can quickly lead to the development of an anxiety disorder.
  • Believe it or not, it’s possible to become addicted to technology. Studies have shown that the number of times someone checks their devices can be enough to trigger the addiction-oriented parts of the brain.
  • Isolation often crops up due to increased technology use. People can feel isolated and, eventually, end up isolating themselves as a result of the fear of missing out, or FOMO, on what’s happening with their social media feeds. This detracts from reaching out and making in-person connections with people, and since humans are a social species, this has negative impacts on our brains.

 

Of course, nothing is completely good or completely bad. There are risks and benefits to everything, and technology is no exception. Be aware of the positives and negatives technology has on your personal health, and take care of yourself above all else.