Original material by Devonne Carter, LCSW
Have you ever experienced anxiety or panic when due to someone not returning a text? Have you ever had spiraling or out of control thoughts when someone does return a text? Have you ever counted how many times you checked your phone in one hour?
According to a recent study by Anxiety UK, 45% of media users felt worried or uncomfortable when email and Facebook were not available. 60% of those polled stated they felt a NEED to switch off their social media. In another study by Lookout, 73% of people would panic if they lost their smartphones.
Anxiety, stress and depression due to technology presents itself in many ways, such as:
Coping skills and practical solutions:
Electronic fasting from technology is a great way to not only see if you can go without electronics for a time, but it is a great way to commit some time to God. Practicing our faith, by worshipping, by praying and fasting and by fellowshipping and communing with others is a great way to lower mental health symptoms.
Time blocking means that you FOCUS on one thing at a time. Instead of working on your Math homework with your phone sitting next to you while also answering texts, put your phone away for 30 minutes and just concentrate on Math.
Eat Right, Sleep Right and Exercise: our minds and our bodies are one. At times we try to take our heads off our bodies and we want to treat the symptoms separately. For the BEST mental health and the best brain activity, take care of your body!
By eating healthy foods, you are fueling your body with good chemicals. Mental illness occurs when your body and brain chemicals are off-either people have too much of one chemical or too little. Every time you eat, you change the chemicals of your body, and if you will mostly eat fruits, veggies and protein, and keep the junk food to a minimal, you are helping the good chemicals in your body maintain and stay in balance.
Another way to even out your body chemicals, especially that good and bad adrenaline, is to exercise. Exercise creates good adrenaline, and it keeps your Cortisol, the worrying chemical lower in your body. It doesn’t matter what you do, just move.
To help with Insomnia, turn your phone off and get a good 7 to 8 hours of restorative sleep. This will help you function at your highest. Turn off your phone an hour before you go to bed at night. Do not sleep with your cell phone-or even with it in your room. Incoming texts will disturb your sleep and social media pings, even if they don’t wake you up can disturb your REM sleep. Read a good old fashioned book before going to bed at night.
Building relationships with people is key to helping keep technology from harming your mental health. With Facebook and texting we have tried to replace people with technology, but it won’t work long-term. God has a plan. He created the church as a support system, because we need relationships and other people in our lives.
How to be a friend:
Get professional help. You probably have a great counseling center on your college campus, and there is no shame for using it. If you don’t want to see someone on campus, find a counselor your insurance will pay for, close to campus. Local churches also might have a great counseling program that you can utilize.
Be a good support system when your friends need it, and help encourage healthy habits in your friend group.
Our U!Shine Seminars are a 7 part seminar series designed to give every student a better understanding of their mental and emotional health. Our holistic seminars help students understand the science of our emotions and feelings, find spiritual strength and hope in God's love, and learn practical tools to help them better their well-being: mind, body, and spirit. The seminars are offered in the fall and spring semesters, and each are written and presented by trained professionals in the topic field. Find out more about our topics on our website.