In today’s digital age, it can be difficult to limit the amount of time we spend on social media, watching television, or consuming other types of digital content. From smartphones to computers to televisions, we are constantly connected to screens. Screen time can offer numerous benefits, it also has the potential to impact our mental health, both positively and negatively. At HPA/Livewell, in Albany, NY, our therapists often see the relationship between screen time and mental health. In this blog post, we will explore how screen time can be used for mental health and offer tips for finding a healthy balance.
Productive Screen Time:
Mental Health Apps: There is a growing number of mental health apps available that can help individuals manage their well-being. Apps for meditation, mindfulness, mood tracking, and therapy can provide valuable tools forimproving mental health. Using these apps daily can provide users withmental health coping mechanisms and are an excellent use of screentime.
Online Support Groups: Many people find solace in online mental health support communities where they can connect with others facing similar mental health challenges. These groups provide a safe space for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and offering support.
Educational Content: The internet hosts a wealth of educational resources. Online courses, webinars, and informative websites can empower individuals to learn about mental health, coping strategies, and overall self-improvement. These are excellent alternatives to scrolling through less productive use of digital media, especially for those of who are looking to learn new skills or pick up a hobby.
Negative Impacts of Screen Time:
Social Media Affect on Mental Health: While social media platforms can be a source of connection, they can also lead to negative effects on mental health. Studies have shown the negative effects of social media on mental health, with a correlation to higher rates of adolescent depression1. While spending time on social media, it is imperative that you are mindful of how it impacts your mental health.
Binge-Watching: It is important for adolescents to have hobbies outside of content consumption. Watching hours of television or online streaming can be entertaining, but it can also lead to sedentary behavior and isolation, which can negatively impact mental health1.
Blue Light and Sleep: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation2. It is common for adolescents to develop unhealthy sleep habits, as they use mobile devices late into the night before bed. It is critical to practice and establish healthy night time habits that are conducive to quality sleep, as poor sleep is linked to various mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
How to Balance Screen Time
Screen Time Limits: Establish daily limits for recreational screen time to prevent excessive use.
Prioritize Quality Content: Be selective about the content you consume. Focus on informative, positive, and inspiring material that supports your mental well-being.
Digital Detox: Regularly take breaks from screens to recharge. Spend time outdoors, engage in physical activities, or simply disconnect to reduce screen-related stress.
Mindful Media Consumption: Practice mindfulness when using screens. Be aware of how certain content makes you feel and adjust your screen time accordingly.
Screen time can have both productive and unproductive effects on mental health. It’s essential to strike a balance that supports your well-being. It is critical that you are aware of the relationship between screen time and mental health. By setting limits, managing sleep, and prioritizing quality content, you can harness the benefits of technology while safeguarding your mental health. If you found this blogpost helpful and are interest in more mental health-focused educational content, visit our blog . If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, or are looking for a therapist near Albany, NY, call 518-218-1188 to reach out to HPA/Livewell or learn more about our Intensive Outpatient Program. Our dedicated team is here to address them and provide you with the care you deserve.
With our new online therapy capabilities, HPA/LiveWell can now offer mental health services to anyone within not only the Capital Region, the Hudson Valley region – Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Newburgh, White Plains, Kingston, and surrounding New York cities, but we can offer mental health services and eating disorder treatment to anyone throughout New York state.
Boers E, Afzali MH, Newton N, Conrod P. Association of Screen Time and Depression in Adolescence. JAMA Pediatr. 2019 Sep 1;173(9):853-859. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1759. PMID: 31305897.
Czeisler CA. Casting light on sleep deficiency. Nature. 2013 Oct 24;502(7470):S4-5. doi: 10.1038/502S4a. PMID: 24108027.