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5 Ways the Internet Is Helping You Fight Against Anxiety

5 Ways the Internet Is Helping You Fight Against Anxiety
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If you often feel anxious and tend to worry about one thing after another, we’ve got good news. Recent studies suggest the Internet can be a useful tool for those combating anxiety and depression. Now, instead of feeling guilty for the time you spend in cyberspace, you can feel reassured there are actually benefits that come with some of you online activities.

Benefits for Seniors and Teens

Recent research has discovered that seniors in particular can benefit from going online. The series of studies, conducted between 2002 and 2008, found that “16 percent of people who didn’t use the Internet reported suffering from depression, while only nine percent of those who did stated the same.”

For isolated populations, like seniors, being able to reach out and connect with other people without having to drive or even leave the house, is a godsend.

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Another group found to benefit from time spent online is teenagers. Research conducted by a team at the University of Sydney showed that adolescents benefit more from anxiety and depression treatment that is a combination of online self-help tools and in-person counselling.

How the Internet Can Help

Before you quit your current anti-anxiety regimen and jump therapeutically online, it’s important to understand exactly how your time online may help you fight your anxious ways.

1. Access to Support Regardless of Mobility

One of the biggest ways the Internet makes a positive impact on anxiety and depression is by offering an easily accessible way for people with mobility challenges to interact with the world. For those who have trouble getting around, can’t drive, or live far from friends and family, the Internet provides a chance to stay in touch and even cultivate new relationships that would be impossible otherwise.

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2. Online Support Groups

If you’re facing a specific challenge, it’s likely there’s an online support group full of others who understand what you’re going through. Online support groups are a great resource for people to share struggles, receive encouragement, and offer support to others. In a world where it’s so easy to feel alone, an online support group can provide community and comfort.

You can find groups through forums specifically designed to be a safe place for people suffering from anxiety, depression, or even physical maladies. Look for discussions and groups that focus on the positive and celebrate the successes of the members.

3. Social Networks

Facebook isn’t just for bragging about your grand-kids or keeping up with high school classmates. It can also be a great place to find support and encouragement when you’re feeling down. Although some have reported feeling worse about their life after looking at all the awesome things happening in other people’s lives, social networks, like Facebook or Twitter, are also known for garnering huge, positive responses to people in need.

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In fact, there’s a new social network underway that will cater to people fighting depression and anxiety. The site will give users a way to work through their issues using cognitive behavioral therapy principles to help turn negative patterns of thinking into more productive ways of viewing the world.

4. There’s an App for That

Believe it or not, there are several apps that target anxiety and depression—and the best part is you can use them on the go. Worry Watch is an app that helps you manage anxiety through journaling. Users write down their worries and then review them later to see what the actual outcome was. The practice helps put worries in perspective and minimize their frequency.

Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to help with anxiety. Apps like Headspace and Calm provide guided meditations and reminders that help users slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.

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5. Anonymity

Other than the cost, one of the biggest reasons people don’t seek help for anxiety and depression is because they are embarrassed. It’s hard to admit we need help and even harder to ask for it. Online tools and resources that offer self-assessments, self-help tools, and therapeutic exercises can be a less intimidating way to get the help you need. For people who feel uncomfortable reaching out in person, the more anonymous online setting can be the perfect way to find help.

It’s nice to know there are new unexpected ways to deal with bouts of anxious feelings—in addition to any doctor prescribed medications, of course. And the ease, accessibility, and 24/7 availability of online help is a great way to stop worrying and start enjoying more of your life.

Featured photo credit: Rob via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?
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Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

Does technology have all the answers?

This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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Creating technological solutions transparently

This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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Technology as the connecting tool

Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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“Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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