6 iPhone and Apple Watch features that can help improve your mental health

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From monitoring sleep patterns to assessing depression and anxiety, Apple devices can help you monitor and prioritize your mental health with several features.Fiskes/Getty Images
  • Apple offers a number of features available on a variety of devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch) to help you monitor and improve your mental health.
  • These include a variety of features, from recording your sleep patterns to monitoring your daily activities.
  • The reminders available on these devices can also help you create new habits that benefit your mental health.

Technology can improve many areas of life, including streamlining your schedule and organizing your finances. You might be surprised to learn that technology can also help with mental health.

Advances in technology are often cited as one of the main reasons why our lives are becoming busier and more stressful. However, new health-focused features from Apple could help you use technology to your mental health advantage.

The global technology company recently added a number of features to its iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad devices that help you prioritize your mental health and well-being.

Here, we ask two experts to share their thoughts on six Apple features and how they can support your mental health.

State Of Mind, available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, is one of Apple’s newest features.

You can record your daily moods and emotions and find out what is affecting your mental state.

Therapist and wellness consultant Tracy Richardson, M.A., says this practice develops self-awareness, allowing you to notice what’s going on in your life both internally and externally, and take steps to improve it. says.

“This feature could be an easy way to check in with yourself and assess what you’re feeling and how those feelings contribute to your mental health.” she points out. “If you notice a pattern or the same things happening, you can use this to make change happen.”

In particular, Richardson says that by becoming aware of what thoughts, behaviors, and external factors are influencing your mood, you can learn how to better support yourself and manage your emotions. says.

Gaining better control over your emotions is often referred to as “emotional regulation.”

a study A paper published in 2022 found that practicing emotional regulation reduces rumination, suppression, and worry, and increases positive emotions and reappraisal.

Ratings are also new to Apple. Available on iPhone and iPad, you can access the same depression and anxiety assessments used in the clinic.

“When used over time, these screening assessments provide a benchmark and objective view of mental health status,” Richardson says.

She believes such features could help identify positive changes to mental health over time.

“For example, over a period of six months or a year, you may be able to clearly see improvements and see a correlation between those improvements and the changes you implemented.”

Of course, using assessment tools like this to measure your risk for anxiety and depression is only the first step in your mental health action plan.

If you are at risk, it is important to discuss the results with your health care provider.

The Mindfulness app on Apple Watch encourages you to set aside a few minutes a day to connect with yourself by focusing and breathing.

To make mindfulness a habit, you can also create a Breathing watch face that encourages mindful breathing throughout the day.

The benefits of practicing mindfulness are well-documented. It is recognized as an effective treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression.

In particular, one study published in 2023 found that practicing mindfulness using an app can improve children’s mental health.

One of the biggest benefits of a feature like this is that you can press pause even on your busy schedule.

“Just like when you practice mindfulness, being present and aware of what you’re experiencing inside can help you tune into your own needs and drown out the noise.” points out Richardson. “This provides an opportunity for silence, stillness, and space, something that has a great effect on calming the sympathetic nervous system.”

Fitness+, available for iPhone and iPad, includes meditation features as well as workouts. Users can choose from 10 meditation themes, including kindness, gratitude, awareness, stillness, and sleep.

Completing a short daily meditation session, as promoted by Fitness+, can enhance attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation. study Published in 2019.

“I like how the mediation titles focus on different things, so you can see what you need right now,” says B.S., HPD, DSFH says Gin Lally, a solutions-focused psychotherapist.

Lari believes that this type of meditation routine can help you cultivate your own positive qualities, strengthen your resilience, improve your personal growth and development, and track your own progress.

This insight can then prompt you to focus on specific issues, behaviors, and emotional patterns that are compromising your mental health.

If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, you may already be familiar with the features of sleep trackers. Usually worn on the wrist, it uses heart rate, body movement, and other metrics to assess sleep quality.

Apple says Sleep Experience, available on Apple Watch, is better than other sleep trackers by helping you create schedules and bedtime routines, helping you reach your sleep goals even during your busiest hours. I am claiming.

Lari likes this feature. “Just tracking your sleep isn’t enough. In fact, it may just be focusing on your sleep issues and encouraging you to overanalyze it when you don’t need to.” she points out. “Creating a schedule or bedtime routine is much more beneficial, and I wholeheartedly support it.”

Good sleep is an essential component of good mental health.

“Continuous, more restful sleep is essential to maintaining good mental health and cognitive function,” Lari points out.

“It improves memory, learning and problem-solving abilities, which positively impacts mental clarity and overall mental health.”

There is a well-established link between physical activity and mental health. Exercising outdoors is especially effective.

A device like Apple Watch might make you want to go for a walk or hike. One of the newest Apple Watch features lets you track your time during the day.

You can also adjust Time To Walk, an audio feature on iPhone and Apple Watch designed to help people walk more often. Contains stories, photos, and music from influential people.

“Physical activity, especially spending time in nature, provides a break from rumination and negative thought patterns and refreshes the mind with a change of scenery and perspective,” Lari points out.

She is particularly impressed with the Time To Walk feature, which she believes can help users process complex emotions.

“Story photography and music allow individuals to express their emotions in creative and meaningful ways, which can be especially helpful in processing complex or difficult emotions,” she explains To do. “It also has a calming effect, helping regulate emotions and providing a sense of comfort and comfort.”

After all, mental health is not one-size-fits-all, and what feels beneficial to one person may not be beneficial to another. Still, it’s well known that practices like mindfulness, meditation, and exercise have mental health benefits.

Lari often says that what we really need is a push to do these things. Technology often serves as a reminder.

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