The Power of Tech To Boost Your Mood
The immediate nature of modern technology means the literal click of a button has the power either to ruin our day or make it. A clear example of this is the way technology impacts our moods. All it takes is one scroll through Facebook and we’re likely to encounter both devastating headlines and cute pictures of puppies. It’s emotional whiplash.
It often feels as if the technology is so embedded in our lives we’ve lost control over its power; we’re at its mercy. Realistically, however, while we can’t remove the presence of technology in our lives, the power is still ours. Technology doesn’t have to be scary. Instead, it can be one of the many tools we use to make our lives easier, better and, best of all, happier.
When life feels a little too hard or we’re too bogged down in feeling sorry for ourselves, gratitude is an effective antidote for our depressed mood. There’s something powerful about naming the things for which we’re thankful, and that’s the idea behind apps such as Gratitude Journal for iOS and Attitudes of Gratitude Journal for Android.
Even if you only spend a few moments reflecting on all the positive things in your life, this practice can significantly improve your outlook and boost your mood. Downloading these apps is a great first step.
Move Your Body
The benefits of exercise are endless. Fitness fanatics will tell you endorphins are the best. These neurotransmitters, or chemicals, flood our bodies at the height of physical exertion, providing a feeling of euphoria. The release of endorphins plays an important role in the brain’s reward system.
It makes sense that exercise is one of the easiest ways to elevate your mood. To support you in this, there are a number of activity trackers on the market. The most famous among them is, of course, the Fitbit.
However, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ has taken the fitness world by storm. It’s novel tracking features and extensive data collecting methods set it apart. It’s an excellent motivational tool and will make exercising a little more fun and interesting until those endorphins kick in.
Sometimes all it takes to turn around a bad day is an upbeat tune or two. One study found that by listening to upbeat music, study participants were able to improve their moods in just two weeks.
Other studies have shown that sad music can sometimes have a comforting effect, but more often it can bring the listener feelings of expression and grief. So play it safe and tune into some upbeat, high-tempo songs to get your mood on the upswing.
Apps such as Pandora and Amazon Music allow you to make playlists based on genre or mood. Spotify and Pandora are free to use and have thousands of artists in their archives. You’ll have no trouble finding songs like “Happy” or even some classic Taylor Swift.
Bonus points for getting your boogie on to take advantage of those endorphins we already talked about.
Talk It Out
Sometimes we all just need someone to talk to. Of course, finding someone to fit the bill is tricky. Most of our friends and family members are too close and are full of biased suggestions to improve your situation. In fact, they can actually leave you feeling even more frustrated and hopeless.
In recent years, teletherapy has become a viable way to seek counselling and therapy. In fact, Talkspace, an app that employs thousands of licensed therapists available for online counselling sessions and round-the-clock messaging capability, offers a successful subscription plan for a low weekly cost.
While teletherapists must abide the same privacy laws as a therapist in an office setting, there is an additional risk inherent in online communication. When sharing sensitive information, it’s always a good idea to take extra measures to protect your privacy.
The best way to do this is to funnel all your Talkspace messages through a Virtual Private Network, avoiding the insecurity of public networks. Taking this important step will give you peace of mind as you share your deepest thoughts and feelings.
Taking the time to explore your mental health can greatly improve your life. Talkspace allows you to do this in a digital-age-friendly manner.
Mindfulness is all the rage and with good reason. While mindfulness techniques are newly popular, the practice, most often expressed through meditation, is thousands of years old. Researchers are constantly implementing this practice, designed to increase awareness and compassion, in new settings with great success.
Businesses, schools and therapists are seeing vast improvements in mood, productivity and overall performance of their employees, students and clients alike thanks to the many benefits of mindfulness.
While anyone can be mindful anywhere at any time, the folks at Headspace have cultivated a unique environment for digitally supported meditation. This app offers several free guided meditations, as well as a subscription service that unlocks an enormous inventory of guided meditations for any situation or experience.
Listen to Your Body
While fitness-oriented wearable technology has been available for some time, only recently has similar equipment become available to monitor emotional well-being. Spire is just such a device that clips to your clothing and tracks your breathing patterns.
The developers of Spire note the connection between learning to breathe well and the ability to control your emotions. Using research from Stanford University’s Calming Clinic, they developed the Spire to track not only breathing patterns but also to provide the wearer with feedback that can be used to change unhealthy breathing behaviours.
This combination of information and behavioural modification can greatly impact your emotional life, teaching you how to bring yourself into a calm and happy mood more often.
Technology is an inescapable and influential part of our daily lives. Instead of bemoaning that fact, a far healthier approach is to look for and utilise the tools it offers to make our lives happier and more balanced. Intentionally using technology in this way will help reduce emotional whiplash.
The great thing about technology is that it never stops developing. While the tools listed here are a great place to start, know that as time continues on, the tech world will continue to advance and influence our emotional and mental lives. By becoming involved in what it offers now, we have the opportunity to shape our health and influence its future.
If you’re feeling blue, we hope these ideas will get you on the road to a happier day and, ultimately, a happier life.
How about you? Have you ever used an app for therapy or listened to a guided meditation? How has technology helped or hurt your emotional well-being? Tell us in the comments below!