7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health With Your Phone, Experts Say
Whether you're checking your Instagram account when you first wake up or find yourself fielding work emails on weekends, our phones have become an integral part of our daily lives. However, in many cases, being tied to your phone often feels more like a burden than an escape. The good news? When you're feeling blue, your phone may actually be the key to improving your mood fast.
Read on to discover how to use your phone to improve your mental health, according to experts. And for more expert-backed ways to boost your well-being fast, check out The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.
Download a guided meditation app
Even if you don't have time for a therapy session or yoga class, guided meditation apps on your phone can help you enjoy a profound sense of calm fast.
"Apps like Headspace or Calm offer complete libraries of guided meditation scripts that can help with everything from anxiety to self-esteem to chronic pain. YouTube offers countless free resources for meditation as well," says neuropsychologist Alexander Burgemeester, founder of The Narcissistic Life. "Meditating for even 10-15 minutes per day can make a tremendous difference in how you feel."
Listen to some mood-boosting music
Whether you prefer Prokofiev or Paramore, listening to your favorite music can help take your mind off what's bothering you and lift your mood fast.
"Music streaming allows you to create specific playlists based on your mood. You can listen to any song you want whenever you want. This can be highly beneficial for your mental health," says Burgemeester. If you're looking for some songs that can brighten your day in a hurry, check out this Spotify playlist curated by cognitive neuroscientist Jacob Jolij, PhD, which he created specifically created to improve listeners' moods.
Book a teletherapy appointment
While it used to take months to find a therapist who could take appointments, the pandemic has increased the availability of telehealth services to those who need them.
"Connecting with a therapist has never been easier, and you can often log in to your confidential, virtual therapy office right from your phone," says Burgemeester. However, if your need is more immediate, "You can receive confidential support through resources like the Crisis Text Line or National Suicide Prevention Hotline. These organizations offer both calling and texting options, and they will provide you with resources to get the help you need," Burgemeester explains.
Text a friend to explain what's going on
Sometimes, just having someone listen to what's going on with you—even if it's not a therapist—can help alleviate the problem.
"This can be helpful because it is a way to connect and vent about some of the things going on in your life. It is always better to express your emotions when dealing with mental health struggles, rather than holding them in. This is also a great way to improve on communication skills, by sharing things you are experiencing with others," says Lauren Schapiro, LMSW at Liz Morrison Therapy.
Look at happy and positive social media accounts
While there are plenty of ways social media can make your mental health worse, it can also be a tool for improving it, experts say.
"Sometimes following accounts that can be triggering or cause you to draw unhealthy comparisons can make you feel worse. If this is the case, I encourage you to unfollow those accounts. Try following accounts that inspire you or support you—your feed can be filled with content that makes you feel your best," says Schapiro.
Delete apps that aren't serving you any longer
Sometimes, it's not just a single social media account that makes you feel worse. If you find that certain apps are making you feel bad about yourself or you spend too much time on them, feel free to make a clean break.
"Take apps off your phone that aren't necessary," suggests therapist Taneille Smith, LMHC, LMFT. "A lot of people I've worked with have taken the Facebook app off of their phones so they can only get on when they are at home or have access to a computer. They've found that their screen time goes down and they limit those times when they find themselves aimlessly scrolling their phones."
Leave your phone at home
Sometimes, the best way to improve your mental health with your phone is to simply leave your device behind.
"Go on a walk and don't take your phone. Believe it or not, people used to do this all of the time," says Smith. Instead of looking at your phone, "Spend time noticing your breath and your surroundings," Smith suggests.
For more simple ways to improve your mental health, Doing This Can Cut Your Stress Levels By 25%, New Study Says, and for the latest mental health news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!