In the fast-paced 24/7 world we live in, it can be tricky to find even five minutes to take a breath and focus on yourself. There’s always an email or a text or a social media alert to draw our attention away. Happily, if you can find the time to take a breather, there is a growing number of apps designed to help you boost your mood, alleviate stress and improve your mental health. While these apps shouldn’t replace professional help for those who need it, they can be used alongside professional support services or as a handy aid to keep in your toolbox.
MoodKit is a comprehensive app featuring four integrated tools that allow its users to take charge of their moods and thus develop a healthy mental outlook. The first tool draws upon Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) techniques to provide its users with more than 200 customisable activities that help to improve your mood. Another tool is a Thought Checker, which teaches you tips for managing your mood. A mood tracker will show you patterns and progress, while a journal allows you take notes. All up, if you find yourself needing a boost, MoodKit is one of the more thorough tools out there.
If you’re looking for very specific, guided help, Lantern might be the right app for you. When you sign up with Lantern, you’ll take a quiz to determine what you want to work on in your life. Then, you’ll be matched with a professional coach and assigned a series of exercises. The activities are designed to be completed daily, and they’re auto-guided. While you work through your exercises, you can also rest easy knowing that your personal coach is just a few texts away.
It’s no secret that a lack of quality sleep can have an immense effect on your mood and mental well-being. The Deep Sleep app aims to nip any sleep problems in the bud by offering users a guided meditation. The app features settings that you can adjust to find the right meditation for your personal sleep routine. For example, you might want the meditation to play once, or you might want it to repeat over throughout the night. There’s also an option that allows the app to notify you to take mindful moments throughout your day.
Happify works on the theory that even if you apply just a few minutes per day to your happiness, you can see significant results within a matter of days. Happify provides its users with activities and games that draw on positive psychology, mindfulness and CBT techniques. According to Happify, 86 per cent of frequent users find their happiness has increased within two months of starting out with the app. You can use the app anytime and anywhere, as it is available on computers as well as mobile devices.
Simple Habit is a great little meditation and mindfulness app for those on-the-go. No matter how much time you have, no matter where you are, there is sure to be a meditation for you. For example, if you’re commuting on the bus, there is a special meditation that helps you be mindful, despite the noise and chaos around you. If you’ve just arrived home after a long day, there’s a meditation for that scenario. And the icing on top of it all? The app was created by a team of Harvard psychologists and meditation experts, so you know you’re in good hands.
If you suffer from panic attacks, Flowy is an excellent app to have on hand when you need something right here, right now. The app was created by Simon Fox, who had experienced panic attacks himself. Simon knows that when you’re in the throes of an attack, you don’t have time for details, so Flowy is super simple. You are essentially playing a game – your aim is to help Aegir, the god of the sea, repair his boat – but you’ll be using breathing techniques to play. According to Flowy, after just 90 seconds, you will feel more relaxed.
If you suffer from depression, you may find it helpful to download Start. This useful app was created by the founders of Iodine, a website that allows its user to share their experiences with different medications. Start, however, is focused solely on those with depression. It allows its users to keep track of their depression symptoms and manage any related medications. Because it can take a while for antidepressants to take effect, the app helps you to track any side effects and how you’re feeling, which helps create a whole picture. Ideally, you’ll share your results with the medical professionals treating you.