What is Digital Wellness & Why You Should Care About It?

Written by Shambhavi Mathur

Digital health and wellness is the ability to use technology such as computers and mobile phones and not to use it too much to hurt your mind or body. For example, leaning over while sitting down or behaving unhealthily. Using technology could cause lifelong problems affecting your daily lives and the ability to do things.

As technology evolves and our time is spent online more and more, society needs to learn to adapt and overcome the dangers of digital dependence. Many tech companies are committed to attract and engage users in their business. That means the design of irresistible online experiences, from addictive games to endless feeds on social media. And it's no surprise these new habits cause users anxiety, depression, and addiction.

Most tech companies have recently been under pressure to include new features of the "digital wellness" in their services. The digital revolution in wellness has begun, and users must remain aware of their prolonged use of computers or mobile phones. Digital technologies in healthcare are constantly evolving and finding new applications, even as the industry is struggling with adoption and digital transformation. New advancement emerges each year, some of which are listed below:

· Google has launched a tool called digital wellbeing inside Android that allows you to track your usage across apps and even set limiters. It then released a series of experiments last year, like a paper phone with all the critical information from your smartphone, but none of the distractions.

· Apple introduced its own version of wellbeing. A new digital wellbeing 'screentime' feature designed to help users monitor and manage their screen time. Apple's new digital wellbeing feature offers, when enabled, A number of summary usage statistics – ranging from the number of times you pick up your phone, the number of notifications you receive, and the amount of time you spend on apps and websites. And to manage your screen time, users can set their own time limits and phone usage schedules, app categories or individual apps. These screentime features can be managed from one device for multiple phones if permissions are set.

· PUBG Mobile probably is India's most popular smartphone game. But the battle game has been getting flak for having a negative impact on one's health, according to the "State of Online Gaming" report by Limelight Network; Indian gamers are sacrificing for gaming on sleep, food, and even social life. To overcome this problem, the creators launched their own screentime version in which a warning will be issued after the user has used the app continuously for 2 hours, after which a short 30-minute break will be given if the time increases to 3 hours. Not only pubg but other popular game developers have taken a step forward in the same direction.

Do Fitness Trackers Actually Improve Your Health?

Fitness bands or wearables have become an important part of digital healthcare; in recent years, they have become extremely popular. What started out as relatively simple appliances like Pedometers, heart monitors and calorie counters have evolved into an all-in-one device that can connect to the Internet or your smartphone for long-term fitness data tracking, as well as data sharing with other fitness fans.

Some main features of fitness bands are:

· Step counter- Evolving from the old pedometers, activity trackers not only count the steps you are taking, but they also use accelerometers and altimeters to calculate the total distance you have traveled.

· Heart monitor- Many devices have special senses, which can calculate the exact heart rates and tell them.

· Calorie monitor and counter- This feature can tell you how many calories you've burned while walking, working with the step counter. You can also track how many calories you have eaten all day.

· Sleep monitor- Not only does this featured track how much sleep you get but it also tells you how relaxed your sleep is.

· Connectivity- These devices can be connected to apps on your smartphone or the Internet to track your progress over the long term. You can also share data about your fitness online and interact with others.

Fitness trackers aren't necessarily improving your health, according to new research in the American Journal of Medicine. However, the researchers found that fitness trackers do help boost your workout motivation.

Chances are, you'll probably use some kind of fitness tracker to log your runs, other workouts, and steps all day. The more fitness trackers you use, the better your overall health, right? Well, kind of.

University of Florida researchers crunched the data from six previous studies and found little evidence that wearing a fitness tracker was directly correlated with lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels or significant weight loss.

Fitness Trackers: Where to Start, How to Stick with It

Try a couple of pedometers, smartphone tracking apps or wearable devices, until you find one that is comfortable for you and your budget. Once you have made a match, the next steps:

  1. Consistently use the tracker, every day.

  2. Set one goal. The most common figure is 10,000 steps per day but your doctor's checking. If that is unrealistic or unhealthy, he or she can propose an individualized plan, such as doubling your 2,000 steps to 4,000 steps.

  3. Find activities that you enjoy also fit in your everyday life and can be sustained over the long term.

  4. Recruit friends and family to also use trackers. It can create a network of social support, and even foster a sense of competition.

  5. Be accountable. Check your numbers every day, and share them at your next appointment with your doctor.

Follow those five tips, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle—and a healthier heart.

Psychological Effects of Social Media-

Social media has been described as more addictive than alcohol or cigarettes ... so what does it do for your mood? Here is what the research tells us...

While using social networks helps many people feel more connected to peers, freer in self-expression, and more conscious of the experiences of others, others are experiencing intense envy and may have greater struggles with depression, low self-worth, and other mental health issues.

Research has established a direct link between the use of social media and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression but recognizes that the increasing amounts of Facebook use among first-year college students have been associated with higher levels of loneliness.

With 90 percent of college-age students comparing themselves with peers within 15 minutes of waking up, social media sites set up many people for negative self-perception before they even get out of bed.

YouTube was found to have the most positive impact in a survey of 1,500 young adults on the impact of social media on issues such as anxiety, depression, self-identity, and body image. While Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter all demonstrated negative overall effects on the mental health of young people.

Social media and Body image-

If you've ever walked away on social media from time to time feel more flawed, less interesting, or less liked than your peers, you're far from alone.

It's easy to forget when looking at social media, that a lot of thought has gone into curating one's identity, which can be a set-up for negative self-comparison. While most of us have come to expect images of famous people – celebrities, athletes, and models – to be digitally touched up, it's easy to forget that friends and acquaintances have access to some of those same tools. This can leave us vulnerable to physical comparisons and primed to feel unhappy or inadequate.

7 in 10 women in college and more than 5 in 10 men in college who post photos on social media admit to first touching them up. Close to half of those who edit pictures themselves enhance their appearance by removing blemishes or adding color to look less pale.

Approximately 1 in 8 admits editing because they are not happy with the way they look in general, while about 6 percent editing to make them look thinner.

Those who edit photos themselves more frequently before posting report higher levels of body dissatisfaction, eating concerns and dieting behaviors.

A study of 50 "fitspiration" websites in 2016 revealed messaging that was often indistinguishable from sites that were pro-anorexia or "thinspiration." The strong language of both sites used has been shown to induce weight or body culpability, and promote diet, restraint, and stigmatization of all but a narrow range of body types.

And naturally, comparisons are not limited to appeal. As the New York Times noted earlier this year, while we know that "everyone else may not be as successful, rich, attractive, relaxed, intellectual and joyful as they appear to be on Facebook," posts from our friends tell a different story. It's hard to resist the pull of accounts that seem so credible but don't allow social media to make you miserable.

When you're struggling with balancing exams, hobbies, and social life, it seems like everybody else is #Blessed, able to #LiveAuthentic, and find more #Fitspiration than the rest of us ... but the truth is, the data suggest they're probably struggling too. Read on to learn how you can learn to live with social media more consciously.

How can you be more mindful of social media?

You may be able to reduce the negative emotions and compulsive behaviors associated with social media use by using a few simple strategies, and find ways to enjoy them more fully:

Before you post, know your intentions. Are you looking for appreciation, inclusion, approval, and reassurance? Or maybe something else? If you’re looking to be seen or validated, ask yourself, “Is there something more constructive I could do to meet that need?”

Limit your every daytime spent on social media. Research shows that individuals who spend more than two hours a day on social media have much lower self-esteem than those who do not.

Be curious about the stories, which make up your mind as you scroll. When something comes up, ask yourself whether creating that story is helpful to you. Is it helpful to believe you're not good enough? Is it helpful to judge the choices or life of that other person, or to compare your life to theirs?

If you notice you struggle with envy or comparison a lot, counseling can help! Support is available through the Counseling Center and the Mental Health Clinic. You can also check out the popular Let's Talk Program held at several convenient locations if you're not sure if counseling is for you.

Looking at the current scenarios in our world, I know we're all in quarantine, spending our time mindlessly using our mobile phones, which can lead to serious health problems, so I'd like to call on all of you to reduce your time on mobile phones and instead invest that time in improving your hobbies or trying out new things. I hope you and your family stay safe.