By Maria Silvia Paoli, Certified Life Coach
In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted exploring technology’s effects on mental health. The findings of these studies have been alarming. They have demonstrated a clear correlation between technology use and the prevalence of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. Excessive social media use reduces meaningful face-to-face interactions. This can lead to loneliness and disconnection.
Technology is undergoing rapid development. Many experts believe this is an exponential growth rate; too fast for us to comprehend. It is clear that technology’s growth is unstoppable, and the consequences it brings are both exciting and potentially dangerous.
New technological advances open up an additional dimension of interaction, such as the metaverse, and artificial intelligence. It is difficult to predict what impact this will have on psychological and emotional well-being. So, how can we protect our mental health in the face of this massive accelerated technological movement we are experiencing? This is a question many people and many experts in the field are asking themselves.
When reflecting on ways we can safeguard our mental health in the uncertain times ahead, I find it interesting and helpful to look at findings that have been proven study after study, for a very long period of time. These findings show factors that interact with our mental health regardless of time, place, or circumstances. I will call them well-being laws.
I will describe as an example 4 laws that have proven, no matter the circumstances,
we should always foster when promoting our well-being. I will also describe how they interact with technology.
- Law of social support: We are social creatures. We are wired for connection. Extreme loneliness harms our mental health. We should always work towards positive interpersonal relationships and community belonging. Technology can help create a sense of community and keep in touch with people, which is incredibly valuable. In any case, we must be careful that this does not lead us to neglect personal contact.
- Law of self-care: Self-care has many dimensions. These include our physical care, but also our emotional and psychological care. We need to be mindful of our tech use to protect our mental health. This could involve setting limits on our technology use, taking regular breaks from social media, and seeking out healthier activities such as physical exercise and spending time outdoors.
- Law of emotional expression: Not expressing our emotions in healthy ways can harm our mental health. Being mindful of technology and our emotions is essential for our overall well-being. Technology can be an excellent tool for expressing our emotions, but it is also imperative to know how
it can suppress our feelings. Taking the time to check in with ourselves and practice self-care can help us find a healthy balance between our use of technology and our emotional well-being.
- Law of cognitive flexibility: Adapting to changing circumstances and viewing situations from different perspectives can improve resilience and overall well-being. In these uncertain times, being aware of our cognitive flexibility and looking for ways to improve it can be very useful.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Unplug so YOU can unplug.”
Emy Fernandez, Certified Life Coach