It is ideal as a way of monitoring how stressed they get and how they can attempt to control the elements in their life causing them stress!
We all experience stress at some point in our lives whether that be a more long term depression or a shorter term problem like worrying about money before pay day. In the long term stress can sometimes need input from a doctor, counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist however this is not for everyone. There are many apps out there designed for smartphones to help alleviate stress so when I was asked to try out and review the Thrive Feel Stress Free app I was keen to see whether it really does help or if it just preys on vulnerable people.
The app (link here to website with more information) costs between £1.99 and £4.99 per month depending on your chosen package. It works by asking numerous questions about how you are feeling and how often you have had these feelings, it asks what situations you are feeling good about and what thoughts made you feel this way.
Based on the answers you give it offers suggestions on how you can improve things such as meditation, breathing, self hypnosis and deep muscle relaxation. Using headphones to minimise potential distractions it can talk you through how to do these yourself and relax. These kind of techniques are helpful to listen to and understand how to do yourself.
The app also has a zen garden where you can create your own virtual relaxing garden. To be honest this part of the app wasn't for me but I can see how others would find it relaxing.
Another section of the app is the mood meter. This wellbeing area tracks your progress of how you are feeling every time you log in and complete it. Following your input it gives you suggestions of how you can improve elements of your life that you have highlighted as an issue. For example if you have raised that sleep is an issue, or that your caffeine intake may be a problem or even your appearance, it will give you suggestions of how you can think differently about this and strategies to help you improve this area of your life.
The app also addresses the issues if you are consistently feeling depressed and your answers are showing that and encourages you to seek help from your G.P. whilst still suggesting things like deep breathing to help.
If you have selected that you are feeling suicidal or are self harming the app also gives phone numbers and information for the Samaritans. I was impressed that the app was so informative in circumstances like this and encourages users to see their doctor as I think this is so important.
My Overall Thoughts
The app is by no means an alternative to seeing your GP or another specialist but then it doesn't profess to be either. I am sure there are many other apps on the market that offer to cure you of stress and such like but I have never looked at those so my opinions of the Thrive app are based on this app alone and I have no idea if others out there do similar or not!
I think that for someone who feels they need a little help with relaxation or addressing concerns in their life it is ideal as a way of monitoring how stressed they get and how they can attempt to control the elements in their life causing them stress. I can imagine it being ideal for people who do not feel their situations warrants seeing a GP but equally cant completely cope alone. I believe there are a lot of people out there who could benefit either in the long or short term by relaxing more and who would like to learn meditation techniques for this so for them this is ideal.
I suffer from depression and I take medication for this and will do for the long term however I can see some benefit also in seeing that there are little suggestions of changes I could make to help me see differently aspects of my life that cause me stress. Seeing these parts differently and relaxing or meditating will never cure me of my depression but it certainly cant do any harm either.
I love the fact that the app accepts that it cant completely help everyone and is great at signposting you to see your GP when necessary and offers helpline advice too. This is an important element I think as they are UK based details and all too often in apps you don't realise until after you have downloaded them if they are UK or USA based and for things like this it can make so much difference.
Nothing is ever going to replace having professional help for stress, anxiety, depression etc. Apps like this however give an extra bit of support if that is what you feel will help you then it is definitely worth a try.
If you are feeling low or struggling to cope a visit to the GP is always worthwhile please do consider this and get any professional help you need alongside helping yourself using methods like this.