Despite living in what many consider a time of abundance, mental illness is at an all-time high.
In fact, it has been estimated that at least 300 million people across the globe are suffering from some form of diagnosed depression, with over 250 million more suffering from anxiety.
For those of you playing at home, that is over 500 million humans in pain every single day.
It is a problem of epic proportions.
However, things are looking up.
Over the last few years, we have seen huge investment into the development of new technologies that can help treat a variety of mental illness — some of which are now making a huge splash in the mental health space.
Have you ever wondered why you tend to be happier in the months of summer — especially compared to the cooler months of winter?
Well, there is a reason for it, and let me tell you, it doesn’t have anything to do with the temperature.
In fact, it comes down to light.
Natural light from the sun helps regulate your body’s hormones, and even enhances your nervous system function – both of which have big effects on your mental state.
But the kicker?
In modern-day, it can actually be really hard to get enough sunlight. I mean, between work, travel, and everything else in between, some days we don’t actually get outside at all.
Which is right where light therapy enters the discussion.
Light therapy has you stand next to a ‘light therapy box’ for 30-60 minutes per day. This box produces a light that is exactly the same as sunlight — and as a result, it has the same positive effects on your body.
Through this incredible interaction, light therapy has been shown to help treat both depression and anxiety.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years to improve mood, enhance wellbeing, and even help people achieve spiritual enlightenment (whatever that means, anyway…).
While this may sound like total woo-woo to some, there is a large body of evidence demonstrating that mediation can have some rather profound effects on your emotional wellbeing.
You see, meditation teaches you how to manage your emotions better, while simultaneously reducing stress levels.
As a result, meditation has been shown to help improve self-esteem and happiness, while acting as a treatment for depression and anxiety,
Now, if mediation has been around for thousands of years, you might be wondering why in the world it is on a list about technology?
And there is a good reason for this too.
Traditionally to start meditation, you needed a teacher. This would then require time spent away on a meditation retreat, learning from a true mediation expert.
Obviously this is not something that many of us can do.
However, with the wonders of modern technology, we now have apps to walk us through it step by step!
Some of our favourites include:
Through the use of these amazing apps, you can have access to a world-renowned meditation teacher where and whenever you want.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
One of the latest and most interesting technology-based mental health treatments to hit the mainstream is known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (or simply TMS for short).
The reason we use the word ‘interesting’ is because TMS uses magnetic fields to activate important cells found in your brain.
During a single TMS session, an electromagnetic pad is placed on your forehead. This pad then sends magnetic pulses through your skull, which activate the nerve cells of your brain.
Assuming that the pad is placed in the right spot, it will actually stimulate the nerve cells that control your mood and emotions. This increases their activity, creating feelings of emotional wellbeing.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT (Online)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT for short) is a well researched mental health treatment that shows you how to change your mindset, and subsequently, your behaviours.
Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are thought to develop through an unconscious and negative change in your mindset. Through this change, you start to develop a negative outlook in an everyday situation – and your mental health plummets.
However, CBT has the power to change your mindset and turn these negative thoughts into something positive.
Through this amazing change, CBT has been shown to help treat a number of different mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, bulimia, as well as anger issues and general stress.
Talk about powerful.
The cool thing about all this is that over the last few years there have been several online CBT programs popping up — and they have been shown to be just as effective as face-to-face options.
Most people know that sleep is important — but in our opinion, they fail to realise just how important it truly is.
Especially when it comes to mental health.
Sleep is when your body and your brain recover from the stress of the day. As a result, good quality sleep helps keep your nervous system functioning efficiently and your hormone levels even.
Hell, sleep even allows the removal of nasty toxins and chemicals from your body.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that poor sleep has been linked to nearly every mental health disorder under the sun — and yes, that includes depression.
Which is why some of the new sleep trackers on the market offer so much benefit. They not only tell you how much sleep you are getting on a nightly basis but also what steps you can take to improve it.
They can have a profound effect on your mental health.
Technology has undoubtedly changed our lives for the better — and now it is being used to successfully help people improve their mental health across the globe.
And the big thing to take out of all this? Over the next decade, it is only going to get even better.