What is it that almost no one leaves their home without? Aside from a wallet and keys, these days the other necessity is a cell phone. With technology ever-evolving, we use our phones as a point of access to the world and friends like never before. We can download apps to provide entertainment or to provide information. Apps have become so readily available that we use them as a source for recipes, social media, reading books, checking public schedules, weather updates and more. So, when it comes to the mental health field, many people have taken advantage of the booming app industry and have created apps as an additional resource for support. Of course, the information and help that apps can provide is not a substitute for the valuable help that comes from seeing a professional. However, using these apps as a supplementary coaching aid can be a fun and easy way to provide support and stress reduction in daily life.
Here are five free mental health apps we thought were worthy of checking out:
- Moods: Tracking For Better Mental Health
- One of the key ingredients to improving mental health is being self-aware. With this app you can track your moods by logging them, tagging them with detail words, and providing a place for you to record notes. You can do this multiple times a day, as many days as you would like. In the menu bar you can review what emotions you have been going through and assess if there are any patterns in the moods and what triggers them. By reflecting on your mood you can track what situations can cause different moods and make adjustments in your life accordingly.
- When stressed or anxious, one of the first physical reactions some people have is difficulty breathing. This app is created with the intention of monitoring and ensuring you are breathing in a rhythm that will calm you down. It uses an exercise where you choose the breathing rate you want and you follow the guide to inhale and exhale at your targeted cycle. This is a great app because it is using the easy accessibility of an app that you may not necessarily have to get in touch of your therapist in the middle of a panic attack or situation of severe stress.
- Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
- Many suffer from anxiety on a daily basis. With this app, you can rate your current anxiety levels and track what triggers may be causing your anxiety. They provide you with a toolkit that you can customize to create a go-to place for some self-help coping mechanisms. They also have a “social cloud” where anxiety users can connect and discuss their anxiety to support one another.
- Balanced: Goals, Habits and Motivations for a Better Life
- This app is used for self-improvement, happiness, and positivity. It gives you a variety of tasks that you can do to increase confidence, creativity, appreciation, fitness, personal goals, and discovery. The purpose is to choose different activities that will keep you balanced in your goals and accountable for completing them.
- I Am: Daily Positive Reminders
- If you were to count how many negative thoughts you had about yourself in a day and how many positive thoughts you had about yourself in a day, which would amount to more? Often, people are unaware of how hard they are on themselves. This app is made just for that: for training you to stay positive about yourself. You are able to fill in the description, “I am _________” with a positive quality about yourself. The great part of this app is that it has tapped into a key challenge for many, which is the fact that many who think negatively do so because it has become habit. Many forget to think positively about themselves and this app serves as a reminder by giving you the opportunity to set reminders for yourself throughout the day to notify you of those positive characteristics.
These are just a few of the countless apps that are available to organize and support your stress reduction efforts through a common theme of organization and positivity. Apps can be fun, and possibly provide relief, but they provide no more mental health benefits than a fitness watch can provide fitness. But, just as a fitness watch can help track workouts and provide motivation, mental wellness apps can act as a reminder to practice positivity. So, enjoy the apps, but keep in mind that they are not a substitute for counseling with a mental health professional.