Virtually everyone has a cell phone, and most people have a smartphone that they use for everything from an alarm to a gaming system to an encyclopedia, and yes, even to talk to people. If you have the right features and apps, it can also help you improve your mental health in a variety of ways. Here are just a few.
1. As a Therapy Tool
Traditional therapy happens in an office in a face-to-face conversation. However, some therapists are now communicating with patients through their smartphones. You may be able to use your smartphone for teleconferencing sessions with your counselor. Or, your therapist may allow you to send texts to them so that you can address urgent issues as they come up and receive replies as soon as the therapist is available.
2. For Guided Meditations and Relaxation Exercises
Excessive stress can bring on anxiety and even depression. To maintain your mental health, you need safe and effective ways to deal with that stress. For many, meditation and relaxation techniques offer very helpful solutions.
Meditation apps can not only guide you through a meditation session, but they can also remind you to take time out to do it and tailor the meditation experience to your individual needs. Relaxation apps give you instructions for tensing and releasing muscles, breathing deeply, and clearing your mind.
3. For Tracking and Recording Habits
Because your physical habits can affect your mental health, healthcare professionals often ask their patients to track and record habits like:
- Drinking alcohol
- Taking medications
No matter what habits you need to track, there is probably an app or wearable device that can help you. You can use the data you gather to create better habits. And, if you decide to discuss the issues with a doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist, you have all the information you need, right at your fingertips.
4. To Boost Your Social Connections
Having strong ties with your friends and family helps your mental health by giving you a feeling of safety, a sense of purpose, and the motivation to get out and do things that will improve your life. Unfortunately, you don’t always have time to sit around and visit with the ones you love.
Your smartphone offers several different options for reaching out to them. You can call, of course, but you can also see them as you talk if you use a video-calling app like FaceTime or Google Duo. Even a quick text message can help your mental health if it makes it possible for you to set up a face-to-face meeting or activity, resolve a miscommunication, or reach out to them for support.
5. To Get Help Quickly
There may be times when your emotions are so overwhelming that you’re considering doing something drastic. Yet, you may not be ready to put yourself in the hands of an ER doctor or mental health counselor quite yet. If so, you can call a hotline, like the Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you’re depressed or The National Domestic Violence Hotline if you are being abused by someone in your household. These contacts probably won’t solve all your problems, but they may get you through the night and help you make plans for what to do next.
There’s a lot of talk these days about how technology like smartphones is ruining our lives. But the truth is that technology seems to be here to stay. It makes sense to use these devices as tools whenever possible to improve your mental health.