SmartPhone App Improves Mood
Psycotherapeutic mental exercise modules provided on smartphones can help to quickly improve mood, say researchers from the University of Basel.
An international study discovered brief, directed smartphone mental exercises helped participants feel more alert, calmer, and uplifted. The apps consisted of five-minute video tutorials that guided participants on variety of topics — such as concentrating on their bodies.
The subjects could choose between various established or more modern psychotherapeutic exercise modules termed micro-interventions. Some of the participants, for example, recalled emotional experiences during the exercise, while other test subjects repeated short sentences or number sequences in a contemplative manner, or played with their facial gestures.
The subjects recorded their mood on their smartphones, answering short questions by marking a six-step scale both before and after the exercise.
Those who succeeded in immediately improving their mood through the brief exercises benefited over the longer term as well: Their mood improved overall during the two-week study phase.
The study, conducted by researchers in associate professor Marion Tegethoff’s team at the University of Basel, included 27 healthy young men as part of a larger research program.
The use of modern communication technology to improve psychological health is a current topic of research referred to as “mobile health”, or “mHealth” for short. Complex internet-based therapy programs have been studied in depth in recent years.
However, to date researchers have paid somewhat less attention to the study of smartphone-aided micro-interventions.
“These findings demonstrate the viability of smartphone-based micro-interventions for improving mood in concrete, everyday situations,” explains Tegethoff. Such applications could represent a useful addition to the psychotherapeutic options currently available.
“Now we need to carry out more extensive studies to help us understand the extent to which smartphone-based micro-interventions are responsible for the improvement in mood, and also perform studies on patients with psychological disorders,” says Tegethoff.
She also notes that such help options, which are available anytime, anywhere, are also in keeping with the idea of personalized medicine — a step along the path towards a health-care system that will one day be able to provide exactly the right treatment at the right time and in the right place.
The videos are available free of charge to anyone who is interested, allowing them to be used for future studies as well.
Investigators, caution that the videos should not replace treatment by a qualified professional for people suffering from depression or other psychological disorders.
Source: University of Basel
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). SmartPhone App Improves Mood. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/07/29/smartphone-app-improves-mood/107830.html