There are so many apps available to download that are meant to improve our daily lives and help us with all sorts of things. So many icons all competing for space on our crowded smartphone and tablet screens.
Apps can be really helpful and are definitely worth exploring but of course they are never a substitute for medical advice. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many are free to download but some have in-app purchases.
Here are just a few that you might like to try, we’d love to hear your feedback on these or others that you have found beneficial and those that haven’t worked for you and the reasons why.
Headspace uses mindfulness and meditation to help you perform at your best each day. The app’s mission is to provide you with the essential tools to enable you to live a happier and healthier life. Headspace has hundreds of themed mindfulness and meditation session to support you.
This app allows you to track your mood fluctuations and provides detailed graphs, charts and calendars allowing you to track the causes behind each mood. The app also has functionality for you to create a gallery of your photos to visit to cheer you up.
This is one of the most popular meditation apps, with over 9,871 free meditations from over 2,000 teachers, in over 25 languages. Many people join this group because of its community aspect as you can see how many people are meditating at the same time as you. This is particularly helpful to those that experience some isolation from working from home or for those that work alone.
Elefriends if an app form Mind, and has online access to an online community for peer support. It has been downloaded in excess of 13,000 times. “We all know what it’s like to struggle sometimes, but now there’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard”.
This app offers the opportunity to learn to relax by measuring your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind. The tasks include simple breathing techniques and light exercise to take your mins away for your worries.
Developed by Dr Rose Aghdami, psychologist (currently on sabbatical from Cardinal Clinic) this is a mind skills programme to help those that struggle with stress and anxiety cope with life and work challenges. You are able to develop, practice and apply resilience skills at your own pace.
How to choose the right app
- If you are seeing a mental health practitioner it’s a good idea to ask them for recommendations
- Check your personal data is being held in accordance with data protection law
- Ask if the app is approved by a regulatory body
- Ask whether the app has undergone any clinical trials to demonstrate its clinical effectiveness
- If the app is for an internet forum, check for moderators and posting guidelines
Research shows that apps that are supported by a mental health practitioner, are on average, more than twice as effective as those developed without professional expertise according to a review in the British Medical Journal by Simon Leigh and Steve Flatt, from the Psychological Therapies Unit in Liverpool.
A major benefit of using an app is that it can be used anywhere at any time and many of them are free to use. They can also help you feel more in control of your own mental health.