Let’s face it. We’re all glued to our phones. And in the age of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, we hear a lot about the negative effects social media has on our mental health. We use it too frequently and often replace human interaction with digital which can adversely affect self-esteem, sleep, social skills and attention span. But used in moderation, can online communication actually provide a positive boost to our mental health? A recent study published by Oregon Health & Science University via Science Daily says it can, especially in people over 60.
The study compared multiple forms of communication like email, chat, instant messaging and social networks, used by people 60+ over a 2 year period and gauged symptoms of depression based on answers to survey questions during that time. What they found was that those using video chat communication (Skype or FaceTime) were 50% less likely to suffer from depression.
Although the study focused on older adults, we think it has merit with anyone that might be feeling isolated. It certainly shouldn’t take the place of face-to-face interactions – that’s still best – but when that is not available, a good video chat or connecting with friends online can be a good thing. The same can be said with Video Therapy or Skype Therapy, something we use at Limitless Potentials when a patient cannot make it into the office.
At the end of the day, modern online communication can be an incredible boost to our mental health, but moderation is key.
Limitless Potentials is a center for Psychotherapy, Mindfulness Training, and Yoga led by Kathy Shafer Ph.D. Known for her expertise as a certified EMDR practitioner and her mindful approach to cognitive behavioral therapy, Dr. Kathy is also a Certified Addiction Professional, and yoga therapist (E-IAYT). She is the author and creator of the FUN(TM) program which challenges thinking and behavior in her tool box of clinical skills to address trauma, challenges in relationships, mood disorders, anxiety, pain, parenting, family dynamics, and chronic health issues. She gives presentations, conducts workshops on these and related topics, and when appropriate, integrates mindful skills in sessions. Group and family therapy are also offered. To learn more, please call (561) 799-6789.