How your connected devices can boost your mental health

How your connected devices can boost your mental health

In the ultra-connected world in which we live, the presence of apps, podcasts or even trackers that invite us to meditate or move better could well be a solution to preserve our mental health. How ? To use without moderation ? Answers.

Health or well-being applications and trackers are multiplying. Apple, to name just this brand, has made mental health a recurring theme in all of these devices, which now help you track your sleeping habits, your mood, and even invite you to mindfulness. According to an article in Healtline magazine, our connected devices could even help us form good habits and maintain our mental health in several different ways.

A way to understand your mood

Through your smartphone or connected watch it is now possible to keep track of your mood, via an application like State of Mind. The interest? Eventually discover what contributes to your good mood or, on the contrary, what makes you unhappy and be able to act on this in the future. Tracy Richardson, the therapist and wellness consultant consulted by the magazine confirms that when you recognize the thoughts, behaviors and external factors that contribute to your mood, you can learn to better support yourself and manage your emotions and to achieve emotional regulation. A study published in 2022 found that practicing emotional regulation contributed to a reduction in rumination, suppression, and worry, as well as an increase in positive affect and reappraisal.

And assess your mental health

Likewise, a new functionality at Apple would allow you to describe and evaluate your mental health by recognizing phases of anxiety, or even depression.. “Using these pre-assessments over time can provide benchmarks and an objective view of the state of your mental health” indicates the therapist.

Still, using an assessment tool like this to measure your risk for anxiety and depression should only be a first step. If you are at risk, it is important to discuss your results with your doctor.

Help with mindfulness

The Mindfulness app on smartphones, iStore, Android and your Apple Watch encourages you to set aside a few minutes a day to focus and connect with yourself while you breathe. One of the biggest benefits of a feature like this is that it allows you to press pause on your busy schedule.

The benefits of practicing mindfulness are well documented by now. It is recognized as an effective remedy for stress, anxiety and depression.

An invitation to meditation

Meditation applications are also flourishing on all our connected devices. They generally invite brief daily meditation sessions, which would have the benefit of improving attention, memory, mood and emotional regulation, according to a study published in 2019.

Better sleep at stake

If you have problematic sleep, you may already know the function of a sleep tracker. Typically worn on the wrist, they use heart rate, body movements and other measurements to assess the quality of your sleep. But new trackers or apps also offer the ability to create a bedtime routine, adapted to your needs to achieve your sleep goals. However, good quality sleep is an essential element of good mental health. This improves memory, learning and problem-solving skills, which has a positive impact on overall mental well-being.

More daily activity

Finally, applications and programs that encourage you to complete small physical challenges can also be useful to remind you on a daily basis to move, or encourage you to go outside. Some apps, like Time to Walk, even allow you to walk to the sound of encouragement or while listening to a story. However, as we know, there is a well-established link between physical activity and mental well-being. A reminder in our pocket can therefore influence our physical and mental health.

Gadget or real tool: the opinion of Johanna Rozenblum, psychologist

It is not a question of rejecting these new tools. If a method works, we’re no one to tell patients don’t do it. So, connected devices? Why not ! You have to keep an open mind and try different tools to get better. On the other hand, what you need to know is that these tools do not take into account the person’s behavior and paraverbal: a facial expression, a blush, an emotion, a somatic expression. These are therefore good theoretical tools, which can act as a guide, but they are not elaborate tools, at least not in depth. This can suggest ways to us, avenues of reflection, but which will never be in response to everything we feel which is verbalized, but also suggested by behavior, by the paraverbal.