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Emotions
Mental & Emotional Health

Smartphone Exercises Make People Feel Better Fast

Exercises on smartphones can help people quickly improve their mood, according to researchers from the University of Basel, Switzerland, and international colleagues.

The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Participants in the international study felt more alert, calmer and uplifted after – using five-minute video tutorials on their smartphones as a guide – 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, conducted by researchers in associate professor Marion Tegethoff’s team at the University of Basel’s Faculty of Psychology, included 27 healthy young men as part of a larger research program.

“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,” Tegethoff said.

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