World mental health day – A mental health awareness day, 10 October 2019
Mind matters – Healthy mind leads to healthy life!
Increasing digitisation has been identified as one of the contributors to poor mental health. Human kind is 24/7 connected to the external world. The readily available internet along with ever evolving smartphones means electronic communication is at our fingertips! The insurgence of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook has made it possible to spend hours online. In a fraction of a second we can access social platforms on our smartphones, faster than our brains can even react to a mere thought of wishing we were online.
This instant connectivity should no doubt bring us joy, happiness and a sense of satisfaction and yet research shows it is putting people at a higher risk of anxiety, depression and isolation. Increasingly, people are living in a more and more distracted world. Bombardment of notifications and message alerts is a constant distraction. The urge to check messages, as soon as they are received, means our minds are easily taken away from the task at hand. We are living less and less in the moment.
As a result, productivity goes down and so does the ability to focus.
What started as a platform to bring people closer, reconnecting with distant families and old friends has taken a different turn. Competition is being fed when people portray only perfect side of life. Youngsters are deciding their self-worth on the basis of numbers of likes. Feeling of isolation is high when people see they are excluded from the fun pictures posted by their friends, making them feel even more ‘left out’.
So what can we do to reduce the negative impact of digitisation, something that can be truly useful?
Be mindful – limit the use of social media by checking it only once or twice a day.
Develop awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Check how you feel, your thoughts and posture when you reach for your smartphone or a tablet.
Take 5 deep breaths to anchor in the present moment.
Do not automatically reach for your phone – know why you are on the social media in the first place.
Restrict the time spent online.
Stop when you notice incessant scrolling.
Turn off notifications.
Do not download social media apps on your mobile phones.
And power down all electronic gadgets at least an hour before bedtime.
Reach out, treat yourselves with the same degree of kindness and compassion you would treat a close friend or a loved one. Be kind to your mind – practice meditation, yoga and spend some time in nature on a regular basis because your self-worth is priceless!!