Fri, Oct 28, 2016 | updated 11:14 PM IST

Smartphone exercises: 5 minutes to a happier you

Updated: Jul 29, 2016 13:47 IST

Washington D.C, Jul 29 (ANI): Feeling down? These brief, directed smartphone exercises can help quickly improve your mood, suggests a new study.

Participants in the University of Basel 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 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," explained Marion Tegethoff. Such applications could represent a useful addition to the psychotherapeutic options currently available.

The study is reported in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. (ANI)