13 Jun There’s an App for That!
There’s an App for That! Managing Stress in Our Technology Filled World.
There is no doubt that we live in a world ruled by technology. That technology can be a source of stress-with our phones ringing and burbling that we have messages and e-mail and people that need us RIGHT NOW! Let’s take a look at how the power of your smart phone can be harnessed to help you de-stress and control your depression, anxiety or PTSD, because there is an app for that! Here are some of my favorite mood management apps. Most are free, or have a low cost add on.
What’s Up?– Free. This app provides CBT and ACT methods and coping strategies in an easy to navigate package. It has options to walk you through grounding exercises, affirmations and also has a diary feature for habit tracking. It can connect you to helpful websites, forums, and information to help you learn about anxiety, depression, stress and self-esteem. Easy to navigate.
Calm-Basic is free; subscription is $4.99 per month. A lovely app to help you learn how to meditate, setting up quick and easy sessions that start with simple instructions to guide you. Nice soothing background sounds are optional, and you can change the scene to match the sounds you choose such as a beach, mountain lake, forest or any of the other 30 plus options. You can use the app to regulate your breathing, meditate, or fall asleep. Easy to navigate, and visually pleasing. It can send you “Mindfulness Reminders” to cue you to relax, and can track your relaxation stats. You can link it to Apple Health.
Headspace– Basic is free; subscription is $7.92 per month. This app is great place to start if you are trying to learn and build a regular meditation routine. The guide is Andy, and his calm British voice guides you through each step; covering starting meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, and tips for increased relaxation. I love the way they use cute animation to teach new concepts. The instructions are spot on, and make it easy for a beginner to learn new habits. It even has a special section for kids and young teens. You see how long each session will take, and it’s easy to navigate through the sessions. Subscribers can access special meditation packs on relationships, health, sport or performance, as well as “one off” meditations on sleep, fear of flying, running or any number of topics. Allows you to set reminders to relax.
Breathe+-Free. It does what it says- It helps you to visualize your breathing and keep it at a specific cadence, which is often difficult for anxious people to do. It allows you to program the app for specific breath cycles of In, Out, and optional Hold. It can send you reminders to use the app as a way to cue you to relax.
MoodKit– 4.99. This app teaches skills familiar to those in therapy, such as self-monitoring, identifying and changing unhealthy thought patterns, and engaging in mood changing activities. It provides activities, a thought checker, mood tracker, and customizable journal templates. These CBT techniques are excellent to use for support in between sessions and to track information useful to follow up with in therapy session.
Way of Life -iPhone, free, $4.99 for the premium version. This app is fantastic if you want to change specific habits. In the free version you can specify up to 3 habits you want to make or break (premium allows for 10), provides reminders, and allows you to make specific notes and track your progress. It shows your progress on easy to read charts.
DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach– $4.99. Based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), this app is loaded with self-help skills, reminders of the principles of DBT, and coaching tools for coping. It provides graphs to track your mood over time, a place to record notes (very useful to go over in therapy sessions!)
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson– $2.99. This straightforward app features a warm, gentle voice (Scottish accept is a plus in my book) guiding you through a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) session and into sleep. The app offers long or short induction options, an alarm, and allows you to choose if you want the session to repeat or not.
Insight Timer- Free. For those both new and seasoned in mediation, this app provides many options (thousands!) for guided mediation as well as just timed meditation. I love that it allows you to see everywhere in the world that someone else is using the app to meditate at the moment. You can choose from meditations for sleep, mindful eating, gratitude and any number of other topics. Each meditation has a rating, shows how long it is, and allows you to bookmark it. You can also connect with others through the Groups section to discuss various topics.