This gives the app a really individual feel!
Stress, anxiety and even depression are things that we all suffer from either occasionally, as the result of a life event, or even chronically due to many different causes, including genetics. There are many ways of coping with mental health issues, and I like to have as many tricks up my sleeve as I can get!
So, I was very intrigued and excited when Thrive UK invited me to try out one of their latest mental health apps “Feel Stress Free”. The psychologists and psychiatrists at Thrive create electronic apps to help treat mental conditions with proven techniques, that over time will help the user to be able to cope with stress and anxiety more efficiently. Link to the app here if you want to take a look!
The first thing that is noticeable when starting this app is it’s visually appealing and calming screen art. I don’t know about you but palm trees, beaches and surf always put me in a relaxed frame of mind! The music that begins playing is also very calming; sort of like being in a spa.
Also, I’m fairly tech savvy, but I really like simple, and I found the app very easy to navigate. One of the aspects I liked a lot was that the app uses very effective animation so the user knows exactly what to do, and when. This really made me confident that I was going to benefit from using it.
The treatment portion is broken down into four main categories: Breathing, Meditation, Deep Muscle and Self-Suggestion. Each category offers its own technique to achieve a relaxed state of mind and body.
I tried each of the categories for a couple of weeks and this was what I found:
Breathing: I always knew that breathing techniques were good for stress, but I had never really consistently used them. I was surprised at how relaxed I became using the guided technique, even during the first session.
Meditation: I’ve tried meditation before, but what I liked about this app was that it walked me through it, and I had also never tried a “walking” meditation before. I always thought you had to be sitting in a chair, and I felt very refreshed after doing a walking meditation with my headphones.
Deep Muscle: Very much like the deep breathing techniques, this technique trains your body to recognize the difference between tension and relaxation in your body, and the comparison of the two makes the relaxation portion more noticeable.
Self Suggestion: This option will take some time to master, as it is hypnosis based, but It is a great way to train your mind to associate becoming relaxed with a keyword of your choosing.
The app also has a section called “Mood Meter” which offers a very personal feature of asking how you are feeling each time you go into the app, and then based on your answer, it further helps you narrow down your concerns. Then, the app recommends the features which you would benefit from at this time. It also tracks your progress so you can see how your moods and resiliency to stress are improving. This gives the app a really individual feel.
The other thing I am enjoying is the fact that the app is available on my phone, so the techniques can be done virtually anywhere, and they take very little time to do, so even if you can only find 5 or 10 minutes to yourself, you can still enjoy the benefits.
Oh, and one neat little feature I forgot to mention. The Zen Garden. Take 5 minutes and create your own zen garden complete with a virtual rake to pull through the sand! I was surprised how easy it was to just tune everything else out and build my own little relaxation zone!