03 Nov 4 ways technology can make you happier
by Tchiki Davis via Greater Good Magazine
These days, you can’t go anywhere without hearing about how technology is ruining everything, including our happiness. There is some truth to this, but it’s not the whole story.
Technology can be bad for us—for example, when social media gives us FOMO (fear of missing out) or traps us in filter bubbles that prevent us from seeing multiple points of view on important issues. As a society, we are increasingly concerned that technologies like smartphones and social media result in more social comparison, bullying, and loneliness—all stumbling blocks to happiness. Technology seems to be bad for our happiness when it interferes with the mental, social, emotional, and behavioral processes that contribute to well-being.
But we often fail to realize (and discuss) the ways that technology can also support happiness and well-being—for example, when video calls let us talk to people all over the world or when apps or online articles give us a sense of purpose, joy, or excitement.
While researching my new book, Outsmart Your Smartphone, I discovered many of the ways technology can and does hurt our happiness. But I also discovered many ways technology can and does support our happiness…especially if we use it in the right manner.
If you’re trying to limit technology use for yourself or your kids, don’t forget about some of its potential benefits. Here are four research-based ways to spend your time on technology that can boost your health, happiness, and well-being.
1. Engage in activities that promote happiness
Social media is a space where we can connect socially and engage in kind and helpful behavior—activities that have been shown to boost health and well-being. For example, by sending messages on social media, we can express a kind word or share our gratitude—Thanks again for listening when I was having a rough day last week!—anytime we want, with ease, even to people far away.
A recent study suggested that among young people with symptoms of depression, social media was very important for helping them express themselves creatively, get inspiration from others, and even feel less lonely. A whole 30 percent of young people with elevated depression symptoms say using social media when they’re feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious usually makes them feel better, while only 22 percent say it makes them feel worse.
One participant shared, “Social media makes me laugh and keeps me distracted so that I have time to breathe and collect myself.” Another shared, “It just helps me feel outside myself for a bit and find interesting topics I’d like to ponder on.”
While social media does seem to be beneficial for some, it may not be the best strategy for overcoming mental health challenges, given certain problematic habits it might encourage—like comparing ourselves to the seemingly perfect lives of our friends and people we follow. But when we use it in conjunction with face-to-face social interactions, it does indeed appear to be a useful tool for self-expression and social connection…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE