This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with a focus on stress, so we’ve asked our mental wealth Ambassador Natalie from @CalmerRama to share some insight into what she sees most in her work as a stress & anxiety therapist, including the effects of social media on mental health and wellbeing. Here’s her top tips and coping strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety in your life...
Research has shown that two-thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this. By tackling stress, we can go a long way to tackle mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and, in some instances, self-harm and suicide. So how can our digital world help us can tackle stress and help improve our mental health?
Technology is essential to our working lives; however, it can sometimes feel pervasive, and being able to set boundaries and switch off can prove challenging. BUT it is so important to do so, as it’s such an easy way to bring awareness to your digital use.
Your Phone - The Pocket Slot Machine
On average we look at our phones over 200 times a day! Even if we only looked for 1 minute each time, that is already over 2 hours a day, but we know that in reality most of us do the “App Lap” and spend much longer than this scrolling through our phones.
This has proven to have a huge impact on our stress chemicals throughout our day. Our dopamine spikes when we see ‘likes’, but then our cortisol when we feel comparison or “FOMO” – it’s like a rollercoaster for our mental health throughout the day!
So How Can You Rescue Time for Good Mental Health Habits
Getting away from technology, and your desk, and into nature, mindfulness and movement. Whilst there are over 2,000 apps to support mindfulness & meditation on our phones, most of us tail off as users within the first week.
Check out some of the time-tracking app’s, such as Moment, Checky or RescueTime, to see how much time your spending on your phone each day and think about what you could do with this time instead. How about choosing to spend this time working on lowering your stress & anxiety levels day to day?
So here are some top takeaways from my anxiety clinic –where I help tech-addicts create daily good mental health strategies:
- Disconnect daily to reconnect with stillness
- How many hours are you NOT looking at a screen today? Remember to do more time offline than you did yesterday!
- Install an app to monitor your social media/digital usage – it’s eye-opening. Be curious about when your stress spikes – it’s all connected!