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Anyone who has spent late nights scrolling
through their social media feed or grinding on video games knows one thing is true:
Technology can be a good thing, but only in moderation. Like too much of
anything, spending a lot of time on the internet or social media can lead to unhealthy
consequences. Since May is mental health awareness month, we thought it would
be a good time to remind ourselves of the importance finding a healthy balance when
it comes to using technology.

Social distancing on social media

The global coronavirus pandemic continues to
test our own personal resilience. While most of us are sheltering at home,
we’re also relying more and more on technology for work and staying connected to
family and friends via virtual conferencing and social media. But too much
social media can be a bad thing, too.

The more scientists
study social media use
, the more they find negative side

  • Young
    people who use social media more than two hours a day tend to rate their mental
    health as fair or poor compared with less frequent users.
  • Occasional
    users of social media are almost 3x less likely to be depressed than heavy
  • People
    who restrict social media use to a half-hour a day have significantly lower
    depressive and anxiety symptoms.

If you’re someone who finds periods of
abstention reinvigorating, you may want to add a digital detox to go along with
New Year’s resolutions and Sober October.

Data loss blues

When you spend a lot of time on a computer,
it’s only a matter of time before you lose something important. It could be financial
documents, or an album of precious family photos, or maybe a big work
presentation. Worse yet, you could have your entire system taken over by
ransomware. Stressed yet? You’re not alone. We
IT pros what they would rather lose than
their data and here’s what they had to say:

Things IT pros
would rather lose than data:

  • Internet
  • Cell
  • Internal
  • Wedding
  • Robot
  • Bacon

That’s right. Bacon! Kidding aside, losing
data can be stressful. And many businesses don’t survive after major data loss.
That’s why using strong cybersecurity solutions, like cloud-based antivirus, is
so important, as is backing up the important files and folders on your computer.
Do it for the sake of your data, or do it for the bacon, but just do it! You’ll
thank us.

Technology never sleeps

If you think it’s hard for those just using
technology, think of the people who have to work in technology. If you’ve ever
thought about a career in tech, you better like the night shift. Technology
never sleeps. The best time to perform upgrades or installations is late at
night when most users are offline and there’s less traffic on the network. Want
to launch a new website? Midnight is probably the best time. But all this
late-night system testing and debugging can lead to loss of sleep and, in turn,
an unhealthy dose of stress.

And it’s not just tech pros doing tech things
late at night. If you’re up late scrolling your feed and posting comments, you
may not be sleeping as well as you should. The
blue light
from phone screens and computers reduce your
levels of melatonin, which is the hormone that controls your sleep. And lack
of sleep
can lead to several harmful side-effects,

  • Anxiety,
    insomnia, depression, forgetfulness
  • Impaired
    thinking and slow reaction time
  • Increased
    risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes
  • Sleep
    apnea, low testosterone and decreased sex drive
  • Skin
    lines, dark circles under the eyes, weight gain

So, avoid using tech too close to bedtime if
you can. Reduced stimulation works wonders for good sleep habits. The news will
still be there in the morning.

There’s an app for that

It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to
technology and mental health. In fact, advancements in health technology are
emerging at a rapid rate. One area of progress is apps that help people with
mental health issues. The
National Institute of Mental Health
has identified several
promising trends, including:

  • Apps
    that provide tools for managing stress, anxiety and sleep problems
  • Cognitive
    remediation apps that help people develop thinking and coping skills
  • Illness
    management apps that put trained health care providers in touch with patients
  • Mindfulness,
    meditation and relaxation apps

Resilience online and offline

It’s a measure of our personal resilience when
we’re able to persevere through something as disruptive as coronavirus. Having
social media and the internet can help. But we have to be mindful to avoid
overdoing it. We also have to be careful to protect the digital devices we’ve
come to rely on with appropriate cybersecurity. That’s cyber-resilience. And it
can do wonders for your peace of mind and your overall mental health.

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