Between the uncertainties of living in a pandemic and the constant demands of modern life, it's a wonder any of us are coping at all. Use these mental health apps to get a much-needed dose of calm and mindfulness.
Stress. Anxiety. Sadness. Relief. Repeat. The continuing coronacoaster is not for the faint of heart. While World Mental Health Day falls on 10 October every year, if the major psychological impact of the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that mental health should be a priority every day. That's why drawing on resources like mental health apps is so important. Here are some of the best free/freemium offerings for both teens and adults.
You can't change the way you think. Or can you? Designed for young adults, Mindshift CBT – Anxiety and Panic Relief (free on iOS and Android) provides practical and proven cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) tools to help relieve anxiety, worry, stress and panic. CBT teaches people how to identify and change damaging or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative impact on their behaviour and emotions.
Billed as the "go-to app for anxiety management", Mindshift offers information about common sources and symptoms of anxiety, as well as a checklist to help users discover the types of anxiety they most commonly face. With guided relaxation exercises, basic CBT techniques for anxiety, and individualised coping plans for common anxiety-provoking situations, Mindshift has all you need to handle the most stressful of circumstances.
Not to be confused with WhatsApp (which in and of itself can be a mental health minefield), What's Up? goes far beyond the world of emojis in boosting your mental health. Available for free with in-app purchases on iOS and Android, the app lets you choose from the best CBT and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) tools to help you ditch the guilt and embrace your thoughts and feelings.
Best of all, it provides practical activities, including a diary, habit tracker, games, breathing exercises, resources, and a forum to connect with people around the world who're going through similar stuff.
Happiness isn't just one thing. It's everything. That's the founding philosophy of Happify (free with in-app purchases on iOS and Android), which provides engaging, science-based games and activities to stop the cycle of stress and negative thinking and help people feel better about themselves.
Rooted in the principles of positive psychology, CBT and mindfulness, Happify offers quizzes, self-reflection exercises, real-world activities and guided meditation. Through these activities users become more mindful, allowing themselves to be absorbed in a moment and also learn skills that can significantly improve their emotional wellbeing.
Calm is well worth downloading, if only for the bits where Harry Styles or Matthew McConaughey read you a bedtime story. No, you're not dreaming yet... One of the world's top apps for sleep and meditation, Calm (free with in-app purchases on iOS and Android) is all about helping overactive minds and bodies to decompress.
The app lives up to its name by providing comforting bedtime stories, peaceful soundtracks, guided and unguided meditation, mindfulness exercises and mood tracking. If you're more Stressed Eric than Dalai Lama, fear not: Calm's in-app feature recommendations are tailored to meet the goals along your unique journey.
Telling your troubles to a virtual doll may take you completely outside of your comfort zone, but therein lies its power. Having started as small handmade dolls from Guatemala, Worrydolls (free on iOS and Android) began as tools for kids to release anxiety. The story goes that by telling the doll about your worry, that worry will disappear as if by magic. It's underpinned by the idea that if you voice your anxieties, you'll feel more capable of handling them.
Strange as it sounds, Worrydolls are pretty effective coping tools for adults too. The app's animated dolls encourage you to type in the source of your anxiety, which then becomes attached to said doll, meaning that it takes ownership of your worry. You can add to your collection of dolls as new worries arise, or mark a particular worry as finished once it no longer plagues you.
Make sure your access to these apps and the progress you've made with them aren't lost due to a broken or stolen phone by comparing quotes for Cellphone Insurance.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.