In this tech booming world we currently live in, there’s literally an app for EVERYTHING. Living in a ‘There’s An App For That’ society, it’s only right that there be apps that support our mental health!
As a therapist, I make recommendations for lots of different apps. Will these apps replace therapy and the therapeutic process – NO. NO. and NO. However, these apps are helpful in managing symptoms better, keeping track of symptoms and sometimes just helping you make it in between therapy sessions.
The following are apps that I have personally used – tried and true – and have recommended to others with great success. Download and check them out! All apps are available in the App Store or Google Play store!
1. Stop Breathe and Think
What is it? Stop Breathe and Think is a guided meditation app. It is great for someone new to meditation, who could use some guidance along the way. I personally use this app rather frequently.
When and how long will it take to use? Use this app when you feel like being calm or when you’re trying to calm yourself down. Exercises range in length of time, on average about 6 or 7 minutes.
How do you use it? You check in how you’re feeling physically and mentally, then pick up to 5 emotions you’re feeling (positive and negative). It then computes different guided meditations and breathing exercises that may be helpful for the way you’re feeling in that moment. Some exercises allow you to choose a male or female voice. Then, a soothing, calm voice guides you into the exercise – telling you what to do and what to think about. Check out the slides below to see how it works!
Cool Things: This app is also available for children! The children’s version, ‘stop breathe and think kids’ creates ‘missions’ versus ‘exercises’ and allows the child to choose from a range of emotions using emoji faces instead of feeling words. It then has them complete the mission which is meant to help them self-regulate!
What Is It? NotOK is an app created to be a ‘digital panic button’ for those days when you could use a friend or support. When you press the button, it sends a text to the people you’ve selected to let them know to call, text or check on you with your location attached.
When to use? Use this on those days when you just need some social support, but don’t quite know how to say it.
How to use it? At initial setup, select your contacts that you’d like to have as your support circle. There are two messages that can be sent – a generic one saying ‘This is John. please call/text/ check on me as soon as you can’ with a link to your location attached. You can also send a customized message. Once you’re feeling better, you can send another message letting them know.
Cool Things: This app was created by two teen siblings that I had the pleasure of meeting recently at a conference in Atlanta!
What Is It? Daylio is a mood tracker app. Mood trackers are a great way of keeping track of your moods, symptoms and triggers on a day to day basis. Keeping track of these things is helpful when you attend therapy, can help you to notice trends or specific things that are causing you to experience symptoms and can help monitor your progress and improvement over time.
When and how to use? It’s simple! Whenever you notice that you feel different – happy, sad, emotional, crying – you name it, pull up the app and pick from the different emojis about how you’re feeling in that moment. It will then ask ‘what have you been up to?’ and gives you selections to choose from and also allows you to type freetext if you prefer. pick from options like work, friends, relaxing, etc’. and you can also add activities you normally do for ease of use. It then keeps track of all the moods and shows them to you on a calendar or graph.
Cool things: this is a great tool to use for your own self-assessment as well as to be helpful in your self-report to your therapist about your mood fluctuations and progress.
What is it? Flowy is a app designed to help guide you through deep breathing and essentially alleviate anxiety symptoms. The app is like a game, where you take deep breaths with a cloud in the game. While keeping your brain focused on something that is not anxiety provoking (a fun game), you’re also doing deep breathing exercises.
When and how to use? When you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, on edge, nervous, panicky, or worried -mainly. Also helpful to use just to help clear your head at any point, honestly. Open up the app and start the game. As the cloud breathes in, you breathe in. Focus on the game and deep breathing. Play until you feel more calm.
Cool things: This app is great for people who are new to deep breathing exercises or who just struggle with staying focused on deep breathing or doing it correctly. Its training you on deep breathing techniques while also making it fun!
What apps do you use to maintain your mental health? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!