Brief, directed smartphone exercises can help quickly improve our mood, according to the latest finding from psychologists at the University of Basel and their international colleagues.
Using five-minute video tutorials on their smartphones as a guide, participants in the international study felt more alert, calmer and uplifted after they had, for example, practiced concentrating on their bodies.
The subjects could choose between various established or more modern psychotherapeutic exercise modules known as 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 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.