Everyday, humankind seem to get more and more bad news-- like how climate change is inevitable and increasing upon us, more reports about acts of violence and the global political climate, among other myriad problems with the world. It’s no wonder that the ‘millennial’ generation and those following have higher chances of developing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
However, with the evolution of tech, we also have many ways to help combat these illnesses. They can’t replace physical care, but can help manage your routine in order to live a healthier lifestyle. A smartphone is pretty essential nowadays, and since you probably have one already and are on it all the time (whether for work, school or procrastination), why not consider downloading an app? It’s hitting two birds with one stone-- many apps are even free!
Below are some apps that we at ETech 7 have found, and used or tested. They’re for all kinds of issues on the spectrum, whether for fitness, food, or mental health -- all important things for your general well-being.
Sanvello, formerly known as Pacifica, is an app that helps manage stress, anxiety and depression by utilizing techniques such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and meditation. Its features include daily mood tracking, daily antianxiety experiments, deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. These features can help you step back and assess yourself, understand anxiety patterns and triggers, and help if you think you’re regressing. It doesn’t necessarily replace a therapist, but is a good tool to have for reminders and help, especially if mental help is inaccessible to you. Being free is always an added plus, too!
Headspace is another app that helps with stress management through meditation. Simple muscle and breathing exercises can do wonders, though they may seem silly at first, but meditation can help people focus and sleep better, as well as shift through complicated emotions and even aid in weight loss. Headspace teaches a few tricks everyday and has an accessible library if you sign up-- and it’s free!
Romantimatic seems left field compared to the rest of these apps, but kindness is proven to help assuage stress. Sending “I love yous” to your significant other is always something nice to do too! The concept seems silly, but reminders serve well for people with low empathy-- and even us regular people, who are so busy with our lives that sometimes we might forget to appreciate the ones we love. Having daily reminders that you are loved can certainly help you get through the day!
SleepCycle is an app that, true to its name, helps you manage your sleep cycle. In an age where insomnia is common, you may as well use your smartphone to help (since it might be the source to begin with)! Log your sleep schedule in the app to track your sleep patterns, and it’ll wake you up during a light sleep period, so you can wake up naturally rested without an alarm clock. The site also has a lot of resources on the science and benefits of sleep, and best of all, it’s free! Sleep is one of the most important things to do during the day, after all, so make sure to take care of yourself on that end for maximum productivity and most importantly, general well-being!
Charity Miles gives a lot of motivation for working out and walking instead of taking the subway or bus. With Charity Miles, each mile you walk, bike, run, or even dance will let you donate a dollar to charity. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and I’m sure we all have our cause to fight for, so this app’s an active and easy way to do your part. You can even join a team for a community of like-minded individuals motivating each other to work out for your cause. Best of all, it’s free-- just keep moving to make a difference!
“Happiness” is a skill to the developers at Happier-- it’s something you have to work on. Which is why Happier is your personal coach to help build your happiness. It’s an app that helps you manage your emotions throughout the day and encourages you with motivational quotes, a journal to keep track of your feelings, and meditation exercises, as well as happiness courses if you’re willing to pay up.
MoodTools starts off by offering a questionnaire to determine if you’re suffering from depression, and also offers tools to help you track your symptom severity over time. You can track your moods with a diary that’ll help you assess your negative thoughts with principles from CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), and it’ll provide potential coping mechanisms, and even a safety plan in case of time in crisis.
There are tons of reasons why people can’t access therapy in person. Talkspace can’t substitute for an in-person therapist, but it can at least get you started or be a source if you just can’t access therapy physically. You’ll be matched with a therapist, and in a “millenial”-style fashion can message them throughout the day. You can also have sessions of video-chatting if text isn’t enough, and the plans are even a bit cheaper than in-person therapy. It’s nice if you’re on a budget, and if you have agoraphobia or extreme social anxiety that inhibits you from talking in-person. Taking care of your mental health is extremely important, and having a therapist can help alleviate a lot of stress-- so why not try it out?
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is something a lot of us don’t talk about, but it’s a lot more common than you’d think. Many veterans have it due to their time in combat, but being in an accident, experiencing a traumatic event, having a death with ones close to you, among a multitude of other reasons can come with severe side effects like flashbacks. PTSD Coach is a free app funded by the government that provides resources about the disorder, like self-assessment, access to professional care, and tools like positive reinforcement that can help manage life with PTSD. It’s not a substitute for professional care, but a resource to help manage life with it.
Yet another mood tracker and also funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Mood Coach aims to teach veterans, service members, and us regular people about behavioral action. It aims to improve mood through positive activities, helping you to schedule them, has a daily mood tracker and also provides resources about depression and other mental illnesses.
These are only some of the many apps out there to help you take care of yourself in a plethora of ways. Technology continues to evolve, so why not utilize the resources out there?