Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas and inspiration from across the world which demonstrate how real action can accomplish positive social impact. As we head towards a rather uncertain winter due to Covid-19, we’re taking a look at how some of the mindfulness and anxiety management apps can help with our mental health at a time when many of us could probably do with a little extra support.
Before looking at self-help apps, it’s worth noting that a recent Google Trends report has revealed a huge increase in online searches for help with panic attacks and anxiety. It’s no wonder really, we’re living through unprecedented times with our “normal” lives on hold. People have lost loved ones, been made redundant or found themselves furloughed. It’s a lot to take in, and we don’t know what the winter will hold. This uncertainty will likely increase anxiety levels for many of us, and we expect the surge in those using mindfulness apps to continue.
The irony of using an app on our phones for solace despite technology being a huge cause of stress is a conundrum isn’t it? To an extent, we’re tackling digital overstimulation with more stimulation, so it’s important to use these apps for our mental health in the correct way. Rather than view mindfulness or meditation as a chore or yet another pressure, we need to allocate some proper time for our mental health. Importantly, we want to keep any wellness apps well away from those that cause us stress, so perhaps consider creating folders on your phone or move any apps which cause you anxiety away from your homepage.
Microsoft recently announced a number of new features for Teams, with a huge focus on mental health. They’ve come up with some really interesting ideas, including encouraging a "virtual commute", aimed to give people the headspace to switch off before and after work. Speaking of headspace, Microsoft has also partnered with the very popular Headspace mindfulness app to offer meditation sessions. We think this is a really positive move and will hopefully encourage those who are not so familiar with meditation to give it a go.
Many apps only give you a couple of freebies before you start a subscription, but Insight Timer is pretty generous when it comes to the free stuff with up to 60,000 free guided meditations and music tracks to choose from, including help for pain, anxiety, insomnia and stress. With so much choice, there's more chance you'll find something that suits you, this is especially helpful if you’re new to the whole concept of mindfulness and meditation1. We’re particularly taken with the bedtime stories on the app, small snippets of well known and loved stories like The Wind in the Willows and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The SAM app (self-help for anxiety management) is a great little app if you fancy a different approach to meditation or mindfulness; it's a really good one for people who prefer to follow practical exercises. There’s so much free information to hand, and the SAM app teaches the user about what anxiety is and how the cycle of anxiety works. There are breathing exercises and lots of help for “mid panic” moments, including how to change your focus, and distraction exercises such as revealing an image as you swipe your phone (which is so relaxing!).
|Marlatt, G. A., & Kristeller, J. L. (1999). Mindfulness and meditation. In W. R. Miller (Ed.), Integrating spirituality into treatment: Resources for practitioners (p. 67–84). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/10327-004|