A number of studies have shown that the overuse of mobile phones can have a negative impact on our eyesight, hearing and mental health. Most recently, American researchers found a link between excessive mobile phone use and an increase in depression and anxiety in users. What is less clear is whether mobile phone use simply exacerbates symptoms that are already there, or can actually cause these conditions.
Despite the potential negative impact of mobile phone use, there has also been research which shows that in stressful situations, mobile phones can act as a comfort blanket and make people resistant or less sensitive to stress.
So clearly, there are both negative and positive mental health connotations of mobile phone use. But there are also a growing number of mental health apps out there that are designed to give users a boost. These are some of the best…
Calm is an iPhone app that‘s designed to “bring more clarity, joy and peace to your daily life”. Sleep plays an extremely important part in mental health and Calm aims to improve that with guided meditations, breathing programs and Sleep Stories. There are also studies that show mobile phone use before bed is not necessarily conducive to good sleep, so you’d have to see how this one works for you.
Once considered the preserve of hippies with joss sticks, now meditation is becoming a hugely popular way for people from all walks of life to focus their minds and relax. Headspace is an excellent app for those looking to take their first steps in meditation, offering hundreds of themed sessions on everything from stress relief to improving sleep. There are also bite-sized meditations for those with busy schedules.
The Breathe2Relax app, available on iPhone and Android, is a simple app that harnesses the power of breathing to help relieve stress. Breathing techniques are incredibly powerful in helping those suffering from anxiety and PTSD calm down and focus. It can also help with anger control, mood stabilisation and anxiety management.
What’s Up is an app available on iPhone and Android that’s relatively simple in terms of its functionality, but which can provide the essential assistance you need. It offers advice on how to deal with common negative thinking patterns through the use of cognitive behaviour models and acceptance commitment therapy. There’s also a positive and negative habit tracker as well as forums you can use anonymously if you need a reality check from a third-party.
Worry Watch and Worry Box
Worry Watch for iPhone and Worry Box for Android are apps that prompt users to create a ‘worry diary’ by recording the sources of their stress and including details about each worry. When the task is resolved, users can decide whether the situation turned out better or worse than expected. The apps also use cognitive behavioural techniques and offer coping strategies to help deal with stressful situations and perhaps see them in a different light.
What are your favourites?
Have you got any go-to apps that help you cope with stressful situations or anxious moments? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.
August 22, 2017
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