Can Technology Be Used to Improve Mental Health?
By Taylor Smith
Most people use some form of technology throughout the day. Whether it’s listening to music, ordering an Uber, booking a dinner reservation, or responding to emails. Have you ever thought that those apps on your phone could be used to improve mental health? Below are some specific apps that can be used for potentially improving thoughts, feelings, sleep, and general happiness levels.
Headspace is a meditation app that focuses on sleep and relaxation. A gentle voice leads you to return to the present moment, which in turn helps to combat stress, anxiety, and depression. Headspace is a financial commitment with a subscription cost of $12.99 monthly, $94.99 annually, or $399.99 lifetime. Before subscribing, experiment with some mindfulness meditations on YouTube. Better yet, read through the Headspace blog, which is the best indication of what type of content the app offers.
Insight Timer is a free app featuring over 3,000 teachers and seven million meditators. New meditations are posted daily on a variety of subjects including sleep, stress, love, gratitude, fear, addiction, self-compassion, envy, and more. There is also a meditation music setting if you prefer to listen to nature sounds, rather than someone’s voice guiding you. This is a very helpful app for novice practitioners, since guided meditations last anywhere from three to 45 minutes.
Moodpath is a free app where you can make note of any dramatic changes in mood and/or stress levels during the course of your day. At the end of two weeks, the app provides a summary of concrete data that may reveal if there is a specific time of day or a particular circumstance that causes the most trouble. For example, many people will see a correlation between a particular time of day when their mood or mental concentration dips or a corresponding time of day that is indicative of inadequate sleep from the night before. Whatever the case, if you are looking for a tracking app as it applies to mood, this is the app for you.
For those who are big on recording or journaling, Moodnotes allows users to select and “rate” emotions that they are feeling during a specific time of day. The app allows you to be very specific, such as if there are any noteworthy bodily sensations accompanying the emotion. Also, questions like “how does this specific thought or thought pattern impact more significant areas of your life like your career, romantic relationships or eating habits?” Moodnotes is priced at $4.99.