ISLAMABAD: Tech can improve many areas of your life, whether it’s streamlining your schedule or organizing your finances. You might be surprised to learn that tech can also be helpful for your mental health.
Technological advances are often cited as one of the main reasons our lives have become increasingly busy and stressful. However, new wellbeing-focused features from Apple may allow you to use tech to your mental health advantage.
The global tech company has recently added a number of features to its iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad devices that enable you to prioritize your mental health and wellbeing.
Here, we ask two experts for their opinions on six Apple features and how they can support your mental wellness.
State of mind
Available on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, State Of Mind is one of Apple’s newest features.
It allows you to keep a record of your daily mood and emotions, offering insight into what is contributing to your state of mind.
Therapist and wellness consultant Tracy Richardson, MSc, says this habit can build self-awareness, allowing you to notice what is happening both internally and externally in your life and take steps to remedy it.
“Using the feature may be an easy way to check in with yourself and assess what you are feeling and how these emotions are contributing to your mental wellness,” she points out. “If you notice patterns or the same things cropping up, then you can use this to implement change.”
In particular, Richardson says when you recognize what thoughts, behaviors, and external factors contribute to your mood, you can learn how to better support yourself and manage your emotions.
Having better control of your emotions is often referred to as “emotional regulation.”
One studyTrusted Source published in 2022 found that practicing emotional regulation contributed to a reduction in rumination, suppression, and worry, and an increase in positive affect and reappraisal.
Assessments is another new feature from Apple. Available on iPhone and iPad, it gives you access to the same depression and anxiety assessments used in clinics.
“Using these screening assessments over time can provide benchmarks and an objective view of the state of your mental health,” says Richardson.
She believes a feature like this has the potential to help you identify positive changes to your mental health over time as well.
“For example, over a period of six months or a year, you may be able to clearly see improvements, and make correlations between those improvements and the changes you’ve implemented.”
Of course, using an assessment tool like this to measure your risk of anxiety and depression, should only be a first step in your mental health action plan.
If you are at risk, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about your results.
The Mindfulness app on your Apple Watch encourages you to set aside a few minutes a day to focus and connect with yourself as you breathe.
To make mindfulness a habit, you can even create a Breathe watch face that encourages you to breathe mindfully throughout the day.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness are well documented. It’s recognized as an effective remedy for stress, anxiety, and depression.
In particular, one study published in 2023 found that practicing mindfulness with an app could improve children’s mental health.
One of the biggest benefits of a feature like this is that it allows you to press pause on your busy schedule. “Becoming present, aware and conscious of what you are experiencing within yourself — as you do while practicing mindfulness — allows you to tune into your needs and drown out the noise,” Richardson points out. “This provides an opportunity for silence, stillness and space; something that has a profound effect on calming the sympathetic nervous system.”