Smartphones:Bane and boon to mental health - Tech News

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Smartphones:Bane and boon to mental health

Like most people, Jay (not her real name) is very dependent on her smartphone. It is the first thing she reaches for when she wakes up, and the last thing she puts down before going to sleep.

While she is happy to own a piece of technology that makes her life easier and makes her more available and connected to her colleagues and loved ones, Jay is afraid that the smartphone will one day become the bane of her existence, as it has for many others.

“I often feel stressed and have had a few bouts of anxiety thinking that I can never escape my work email and WhatsApp messages because of the smartphone,” she says.

“There were even times when I felt jealous looking at my friends’ social media feeds because they seem to be having fun while I’m stressed about life,” says the 30-year-old executive at a multinational company.

So she gave some apps a shot and found a few that were really helpful. “My go to app is a gratitude journal, in which I jot down all the good that happens everyday. It makes me aware of my surroundings and focus on the positive things in my life.

“I think it’s quite funny that the very smartphone which causes me to feel stressed, is now my outlet to de-stress,” she says.

Universiti Malaya Department of Psychological Medicine Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari says that technology, in particular the smartphone, is a double-edged sword.

“Yes, smartphones can change peoples’ lives. It can be both good and bad to one’s mental health,” he says.


in step with the 2015 country wide Morbidity Survey, 29.2% of Malaysians elderly 16 and above have had some form of mental health trouble.

“using it without any regard can also predispose a consumer to issues like despair and dependancy, but when used nicely, a cellphone has the capability to enhance one’s intellectual fitness,” he provides.

Malaysia intellectual health association president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj says that intellectual health apps should likely provide users a platform to be extra open and expressive with their mind.

“some humans may open up extra when they are at the back of a display screen as opposed to looking for assist face-to-face for worry of being known. real-time chat rooms and counselling services have tested to be of incredible help to the ones in misery,” he says.

“there is nonetheless a first-rate deal of stigma associated with intellectual contamination or even minor psychological distress so anonymity in searching for guide and guidance may be a fantastic improve for those reluctant to pop out in the open,” he says.

The regulation Of enchantment Centre Malaysia dealing with director Sivapragasam Arumugam believes within the old adage “prevention is better than remedy”, so his overall performance training corporation launched the Reset app for Android and iOS.

it's far inspired by the “reset” concept shared with the aid of motivational teacher Michael J. Losier who believes that one must flip a negative scenario into a advantageous one.

You try this at the app with the aid of hitting the “reset” button and answering one question – “What do I want?”

Sivapragasam believes this practice could encourage one’s mind to are seeking for positivity and discover ideas or answers to conquer hard conditions.

meanwhile, researchers like Dr Thomas Insel, who left Alphabet Inc’s existence sciences unit Verily to co-discovered the startup Mindstrong, is operating on technologies that delve deeper.

In an interview with CNBC, Dr Insel says his startup, together with Verily, is working on an app that monitors customers’ smartphone behaviours – with their permission, of direction – to detect the onset of suicide, manic or depressive episode.
The app tracks how users swipe, faucet and sort on their smartphones, and compares the info with a database to detect differences in behaviour.

“There’s a lot to the changes in how we kind on keys, it’s the rate, it’s the latency,” Insel became reported announcing. “There’s rich facts there that hasn’t honestly been mined.”

This information, which Insel refers to as “digital phenotype”, ought to provide facts approximately the customers’ mind fitness and propose preventive treatments.

Dr Andrew believes that smartphones handiest upload pressure to one’s lifestyles if they're used wrongly.

“the majority do now not quite recognize the function of their smartphones. as an example, WhatsApp messages are simply that – messages. there's no need to hurry to study them without delay or respond in an instantaneous, and if there's something certainly important, human beings are predicted to name.

“it's far all as much as us to understand a way to utilise smartphones to make our lives easier. We cannot desire smartphones and devices away but how we use them is important if we want to live a life of fulfilment – not only to be glad but to convey happiness to the lives of others,” says Dr Andrew.

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