So many of us rely on our smartphones to remain connected.
No matter where we go in the world, no matter how far we move away from home --we can always be as connected to friends, family and acquaintances as if they are sitting right next to us. Obtaining every bit of information out there has never been easier!
But the thing is ...too much information is never a good thing. You know what they say, ignorance is bliss, and the desire to know *everything* is becoming a growing issue.
Our Desire to Snoop is Depressing Us
The connectivity that comes with our smartphone allows us to update others not only about our own lives, but be updated on the lives of everyone around us, and beyond. This overflow of information --both relevant and irrelevant to your own life, can potentially push your brain towards jealousy, and even signs of depression as we compare our own lives to that of others.
That overwhelming feeling you get when you see everyone around you "succeeding" while you're sitting alone at home on a Saturday night opens the gates to a feeling of depression that you never felt ever before. You always knew that people (possible friends, coworkers, relatives…) were going out and living out their lives on their own, but now, more than ever, there is physical proof of just how much fun you missing out on.
And seeing how much fun others are having without you... it hurts.
Smartphones have become a source of widespread depression, glibly labeled as "FOMO". This Fear Of Missing Out has become an overwhelmingly common mental state, especially with younger smartphone and social media users.
Many sufferers of FOMO feel a constant need to reach and check their phones for any and all possible notifications, hoping in the back of their mind that their smartphone that allows them to peer out at everyone in the world --will show a message from someone out in the world reaching back to them.
You Can Use Your Phone to Turn Your Mood Around
According to recent studies, your smartphone is capable of reversing signs of depression, too.
“Given the wide availability of mental health apps, ensuring that consumers and clinicians have access to evidence-based interventions is vital for informed decision making” says Jennifer Nicholas, a co author of the initial study and PhD Candidate at Black Dog Institute.
“The ability of smartphones to immediately register entered mood data, compute if responses exceed a certain threshold, and if so activate emergency response systems, offer real time safety monitoring absent from traditional depression treatment.”
To get the most out of smartphones minus their ability to negatively affect your mood and mental status, the trick is to eliminate the compulsion to scan and study the uploaded lives of your friends and followers. The more you compare your life to that of others on social platforms, the more likely you are to feel negative symptoms similar to depression.
Past that, being in control of just how much time you spend on your favorite applications can also have a determining factor on your mental status.
A Little Time In Isolation Can Do Your Brain Some Good
Self contained applications (apps that have no mention of others or share any information with or about others) are the secret to diminishing these depressive emotions. Simple games that have you playing by yourself, apps that promote you and your own personal accomplishments, and programs that have you moving toward a more successful version of you are all apps to utilize.
More self contained apps, and less social media connected applications are recommended.
With the goal of promoting the present you over the “what could be” version of you, you can diminish the symptoms similar to depression caused by your smartphone.
Firth, Joseph et al. "The Efficacy Of Smartphone-Based Mental Health Interventions For Depressive Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis Of Randomized Controlled Trials." World Psychiatry. 2017.
"App Ratings - What's the difference between apps we cherish vs.regret?” Time Well Spent. 2017.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.