The average American spends 90 minutes on their cell phone every day. Although that doesn’t sound like that much time, it adds up to approximately 23 days a year. That accumulates to 3.9 years for an average person’s life span! That’s a lot of time spent using our handheld, personal, pocket computers. Cell phones aren’t going anywhere, so I began to wonder about ways to productively spend time on my phone.
Are there cell phone apps structured to help people with positivity and productivity, especially for those experiencing mental illness?
Out of the 48.3 million Americans that face mental illness, 9.8 million of them experience limitations to everyday activities due to depression and anxiety. The majority of Americans own smart phones, to be exact 77%, therefore, well-being apps could potentially reach a vast majority of those struggling with depression.
I came across these four smartphone apps, for both Andriod and Apple users, that are free or have free trials. Each app focuses on improving and/or protecting one’s mental health and provides a solid support network.
Calm: Calm was Apple’s “App of The Year” in 2017. After downloading it, I quickly found out why! The goal of Calm is to help you feel genuinely happier, improve sleep patterns, and reduce anxiety levels. Calm uses meditations and breathing exercises, in addition to, serene sounds that can help promote better sleep. My favorites to fall asleep to were the ocean and forest sounds. When using calming sounds to relax to before bed, I woke up feeling more peaceful. After using this app I could tell a significant difference in the way I woke up on nights I would use the app versus nights I would not use the app. Try it out and leave a comment below if you have a similar experience.
Moodpath: Moodpath is a daily questionnaire that can assess your general well-being. These questionnaires screen for symptoms of depression too. Going through each question creates a step-by-step process that heightens one’s awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. After using this app for two weeks, it will produce an electronic document which can be discussed with a healthcare professional. The app provides over 150 videos and psychological exercises to help you understand your mood and reinforce positive mental health!
Anxiety Relief Hypnosis: This app’s goal is to improve relaxation and reduce anxiety in only one to three weeks of use. The app provides an audio session from a certified hypnotherapist along with calming nature music and sounds to aid the process of relaxation for the listener.
Happify: Whether you are feeling sad, happy, stressed out or anxious- the Happify app can provide ways to manage your thoughts and feelings! By using CBT techniques, positive psychology, and mindfulness, the Happify app helps users build resiliency to overcome their negative thoughts. Happify offers activities and games to improve quality of life. It also provides tips to break unhealthy habits while acquiring new, healthy habits. Each week this app calculates your happiness into a score which can be improved upon, which was my favorite aspect of Happify! A study I read online stated that after 2 months of using Happify, 86% of its users claimed to feel better about their lives.
Although these apps can be helpful, keep in mind that regularly exercising, eating healthy, and other forms of self-care can also significantly reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Try combining both a well-being app and exercise to your weekly routine to battle anxiety and depression.
Closing thoughts on these apps: Make sure you keep your personal information safe and secured—if you don’t trust something on the app during set-up it is not necessary to go forward with the registration!
Leave comments or suggestions below about your experience with these apps or if you know of others apps than could be beneficial our FIV Blog readers!