Wellbeing Chapter Announcement 26

Jul,15 2020

By Geeta Thakerar, Co-Convenor, Well Being Chapter
 

The technology conundrum and wellbeing – friend or foe?

In our Wellbeing Chapter’s announcement last month, we looked at bullying and harassment. This month, in line with the theme of technology and lawyers, the chapter takes a closer look at whether technology, from a wellbeing perspective at least, is a friend or a foe.

The use of technology can have both a positive and negative impact. If leveraged correctly, it can be of enormous help and improve the work-life balance. One example would be helping to address better time management to allows focus on priority, high value, strategic and high impact legal and compliance work. This often will provide a great uplifting feeling of making a real difference to the organization. Technology helps deal effortlessly with mundane, repetitive, low value legal and compliance tasks. Through data analytics and the use of artificial intelligence, lawyers can provide work product with greater speed, more accurate analysis, create value, and identify meaningful high impact and smart solutions for internal clients.

There is much research indicating the use of social media and the internet relates to the development of mental health conditions and online addictions in some individuals. Several studies show potential links between depression and suicide and social media use. 

The impact of technology has extended to health care with the proliferation of different types of Apps. Technology is making positive changes to both mental and physical health. Researchers and software engineers are developing and testing apps that do everything from managing pills to take to coaching on various coping skills to predicting when a person requires emotional help. Intervention Apps may help someone give up smoking, helping with post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia or managing other symptoms to help cope/overcome anxiety and depression, Apps are becoming more widely used, appealing and user-friendly, there remains the open question of actual effectiveness. To date, there is still little regulation in this space.

A lot of effort is going into developing Apps that can collect data though using the sensors built into smartphones and other wearable devices. These can record movement patterns, social interactions for example number of messages and phone calls received. Also, these can record behavior patterns, vocal tone, and speed. In the future, Apps may be able to analyze data to determine the user’s real-time state of mind.

Research has also indicated, however, that while all this technology may help to alleviate mental health issues, it may also be linked with the experience of mental health problems in different contexts. 

There is a deeply nuanced relationship between technology and mental health.

Tips:

  • Limit the use of technology for social media purposes
  • Form a habit of limiting screen time and taking frequent breaks,
  • Switch off at least an hour before going to bed and keep to that ritual
  • Use health Apps to maximum advantage for keeping or getting fit and managing health issues
  • Maintain self-awareness and keep balanced
  • Incorporate all of this into your daily routine

 

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