Navigating through the Digital Era: How IT Impacts Our Mental and Well being.

The 21st century can be considered an era in which IT has become an integral part of our lives. As “Digital Natives” in a contemporary professional environment, IT has revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate. Since IT is linked to our lives, it has a potential impact on our mental health and well-being. Social connection is an extremely important human need that significantly contributes to our mental health and well-being.

In today’s digital world, information technology (IT) has become a powerful tool for easing connections through social media. It has revolutionized communication by giving people the opportunity to connect with their friends, family, and loved ones regardless of geographical distance. Social media platforms and video conferencing tools have provided convenient and accessible means to stay in touch and maintain relationships, even when the users are far apart. They also enable people to share their interests, hobbies, and passions virtually, which creates an encouraging platform for those who may feel isolated. As mental health and well-being are essential, IT can encourage social engagement and reduce feelings of loneliness by providing virtual interactions and activities. Social media platforms also provide a safe and supportive space for individuals to seek advice and offer encouragement to one another. It plays a crucial role in increasing awareness about mental health issues and providing access to mental health resources. Online platforms, social media, and mental health apps such as “Headspace”, “Mindshift”, and “Happify” have helped people learn about mental health conditions, seek support, and connect with mental health professionals.

The field of technology has brought significant positive changes in terms of delivering mindfulness and relaxation techniques. These techniques have proven to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood and emotional regulation, enhancing sleep, increasing focus and attention, and developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment without any judgment, where one pays attention to their thoughts and emotions. Technology provides various relaxation techniques that help reduce physical and emotional tension, promoting calmness and relaxation. The use of technology has resulted in the creation of various apps, websites, and online platforms that provide access to these techniques.

The accessibility of mental health resources has increased with the rise of IT. In the past, seeking mental health services meant scheduling costly appointments with in-person therapists. However, online mental health platforms are now available that allow people to access a comprehensive range of mental health services, including therapy, counseling, and support. As digital natives, IT is the best way to ensure the mental health and well-being of people. These platforms offer a convenient and accessible way to connect with mental health professionals from home, which increases accessibility and reduces stigma. However, it is important to ensure that these platforms are of high quality, evidence-based, and provided by qualified professionals.

The rise of information technology has made creative platforms and tools more accessible to anyone with an internet connection. This has opened up a world of possibilities for self-expression, whether it’s through writing, music, painting, photography, or programming. With IT, users can now discover their inner landscapes and explore their emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a safe and peaceful environment. In addition, IT helps people identify and develop their unique abilities, interests, and values, allowing them to create unique personalities that promote mental health and well-being. Moreover, IT provides invaluable resources for introspection and unrestricted access to information. Internet resources offer information and viewpoints on a range of subjects, enabling people to investigate diverse identities, convictions, and principles. Social media, blogs, and online journaling tools can also offer a forum for introspection and the examination of one’s beliefs, objectives, and aspirations. Finally, IT helps people connect with like-minded individuals through online groups and forums, providing support and direction for those on their path to self-discovery.

Although IT has a positive impact on mental health and well-being, it also has a negative impact. Social media is an integral part of modern life and is used for communication, connection, and entertainment. However, excessive use of social media can have harmful effects on mental health, such as increased anxiety, depression, and decreased self-esteem. Social media platforms often present an idealized version of people’s lives, creating a constant stream of social comparison. Seeing others achieve or experience things that one cannot lead to dissatisfaction, which can negatively affect one’s mood and reduce self-esteem. Additionally, excessive exposure to negative content such as cyberbullying, hateful comments, or disturbing news can contribute to a negative mood and reduce self-esteem.

Technology has had a significant negative impact on mental health and well-being, with addiction being the worst of them. In today’s technology-driven world, technology addiction has emerged as a major issue that affects people’s mental health. Smartphones and social media platforms have disconnected the digital world from the physical world. Addiction in the IT world is characterized as excessive and uncontrolled use of technology that interferes with daily life and causes significant distress. Social media platforms are designed to be engaging and addictive, and excessive use can interfere with daily activities, relationships, and overall well-being. This addiction can lead to negative emotions such as irritability, anxiety or depression, sleep disruption, and self-esteem issues.

Technology can have both positive and negative impacts on mental health. While it can promote social interactions and provide access to mental health resources, excessive use of technology can also lead to negative effects. However, there are ways to overcome these negative impacts by consciously developing healthier habits. This includes setting limits and boundaries, scheduling technology breaks, and seeking support when necessary. By promoting mindful technology use and seeking help when needed, individuals can take care of their mental health and encourage digital well-being. By practicing healthy behaviors, people can reduce the negative impacts of technology on mental health while increasing its positive effects. 

In conclusion, information technology (IT) has both positive and negative effects on mental health. By recognizing its potential benefits and drawbacks, individuals can adopt a mindful and responsible attitude towards technology use. This means maximizing its positive impact while minimizing the potential harm it can cause. Ultimately, promoting mental well-being in the digital age requires a balanced integration of technology into our lives. This will enable us to harness its power for connection, growth, and personal empowerment.

Nessaya Jayawardene
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