Be Stress Free is our stress management programme. Released at the beginning of 2016, Be Stress Free has been created over two years of development and research to pro-actively prevent and manage stress and anxiety.
- Keeps track of your mood over time
- Enables you to train your thoughts so you can manage how you feel about different situations
- Trains you in 4 relaxation techniques that give you control over your stress
Find out how stressed you are with our questionnaire.
The Yerkes-Dodson Law explains the relationship between performance and stress, indicating that an optimal level of pressure needs to be applied to get the best from someone. However, once that optimal level becomes too much for a person to handle, performance decreases significantly. The management of stress and anxiety is imperative to us living a healthy, happy life.
Each of the clinical interventions used in the app have years of research behind them, and we’ve featured all of this within the app itself, as well as below. We have also carried out clinical research trials at the University of Roehampton, with another commencing in April 2016.
Start every day tracking your mood to receive the best recommendations to get through it. Based on your results the Mood Meter will recommend different activities. It will record your results on your progress so you can look back and see what works for you. It will learn itself what you find helpful and get better at advising you over time.
Our cognitive behavioural therapy based thought trainer is how we help you to re-frame your negative thoughts. We all have negative thoughts at times, but is there a better way we can think about things? That is what the thought trainer is here to do. It tracks how you feel, giving recommendations and helping you to see a positive in the negative. With everything tracked in Progress and the app learning more about you as you use it, the Thought Trainer will soon personalise itself to your experiences.
Computerised Cognitive Behavioural (cCBT) therapy has accumulated 10 years of evidence. It has been shown to work as a self-directed treatment without intervention from a therapist. In 2016 Jill Newby and colleagues from St Vincent's Hospital in Australia undertook a review of all the evidence of cCBT used for depression and anxiety showing it is a very effective technique and comparable to face to face therapy. Here is a link to the study.
Progress keeps track of everything you do in the app. It is what the app uses to give you better and better tips. If you are working with a therapist you can use Progress as your full-fledged therapy journal.
This is the simplest technique, one that you can learn in the app and practice anywhere you are. It is based on the fact that increasing chest pressure by taking very slow and deep breaths, and then reducing by slowly breathing out, triggers a reflex. This reflex slows down your pulse and gives you a relaxed feeling in your body. As body and mind are connected this then results in relaxation in your mind. Give it a go for 3, 5, 7 or 10 minutes!
Deep slow breathing is an essential technique incorporated in many relaxation exercises. It has been extensively examined in the literature in different setting. A good review of the evidence behind it and its uses can be found in General Principles and Empirically Supported Techniques of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Chapter 14 by Hazlett-Stevens and Craske. You can read a preview of the chapter here.
Differential Deep Muscle Relaxation
In this technique we also take advantage of the mind-body connection. We will teach you to contract and relax various muscles progressively allowing you to enjoy the difference between the tense sensations in the muscle and the relaxed sensations that come after you have let the tension go
Since its description by Jacobson in 1938 this technique has a record of proven efficacy. There is a 2007 review of the literature that summarises all the available evidence up to that date which you can find here.
Not for everyone but those of you who are able to reach a state of hypnosis can benefit greatly from this technique. Dr Freeman will try to teach you to put yourself into a hypnotic trance. If you are able to achieve it, he will help you teach yourself a word of phrase that will immediately bring you back to that state of relaxation whatever your circumstances.
It has proven efficacy in anxiety related to many situations. It has been particularly studied in people going through different medical treatments like dialysis, chemotherapy, surgery and dentistry. There is a 2010 review that goes through all that evidence. The main issue with hypnosis is that the person must be suggestible to benefit from it. Here is a recent study on how suggestibility influences outcomes in using hypnosis to manage pain.
Simple to learn but hard to master this is quite a powerful technique for relaxation. It requires dedication and practice but if you persevere it can bring about the most benefits. You will need a quiet space and to achieve a sensation of comfort. You will be able todevelop a passive attitude that allows you to just watch your feelings, sensations and thoughts as they pass through your mind. You will also use word or phrase to help you refocus.
This is probably the technique that has received the most attention recently. It requires practice to master but everyone can use it if they devote the time to learn it and practice it. There is a complete review and meta-analysis of all the evidence of meditation in the management of anxiety published in the British Journal of Psychology in 2012.
Message in a Bottle
We all like a positive, feel good message – And that’s why the message in a bottle was created. A completely confidential, anonymous social feature, the message in a bottle feature allows you to send and receive encouraging cards through the app. You can personalise the message in a number of ways from the images on the postcard to the stamp. Plus sending it is great fun - who will find your message in a bottle?
When feeling anxious or stressed, sometimes you need a distraction for 5 minutes to help you forget about what is going on around you. This is why the Zen Garden was created. Giving you a blank canvas to build a tranquil garden on the beach, this feature allows you to get creative and design your own peaceful paradise to take your mind off of things around you, when you need to.