Anxiety is just blegh. It’s just ew. I hate it.
Anxiety is an ongoing battle. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time, and over the last six months, I have been actively taking steps to up the fight and learn to face the challenge head on. I don’t like the idea of letting anxiety win. It takes over every aspect of life, and is like a tightly wound coil that just continues to spiral until it hurts. My anxiety stems from many places, and I know there’s a lot of avenues I can go down to help. One thing my therapist recently suggested to me is looking out for apps that encourage a positive mindset rather than the negative one I usually have, and I’ve genuinely noticed a difference when it comes to my mental health. They’re all free to download, but do come with in-app purchases as almost everything does nowadays. Overall, they’re my go-to apps when I’m feeling low, and easily some of my favourites of 2019.
I love this app! I use it everyday without fail, and adore all the free features that come with it. I started using Pacifica when I was looking for a good app to manage stress on the App Store. The thing I like most is that it’s entire programme is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and wellness. There’s also a community section, where you can interact with other users and share positive or grateful thoughts.
As soon as you open the app, you’re welcomed with a screen that asks how you are. Once you add your mood, you can use the text box to write about your day and it goes into a log. Over time, you can look back at your progress and how your mood or sleep has changed since using the app. When you check in to Pacifica, the app recommends different actions for you to take to improve your overall mood. You can meditate, complete a health log, add to your hope board, write down your thoughts, and record goals for the future. Out of all the apps, I find this one the most encouraging to use.
The app comes with a discover page, which features new content everyday. There’s also a weekly playlist shared in the app, which can also be found on Spotify. One of my favourite playlists by Pacifica is their Positivty Playlist, because sometimes you just need a song that will remind you that everything will be all right. There are guided paths and meditations created by psychologists to help you manage mental health, which I’ve found quite useful too.
Moodpath is a new app for my phone, but one I’ve really enjoyed using so far. The purpose of the app is to serve as a mental health companion, and to help you get a better understanding of why you feel the way you do. It’s a little bit like having a therapist in your phone. Here’s how the app works: everyday, you receive a notification to answer a simple question, morning, afternoon and evening. After 14 days, there’s an assessment of your mental health based on how you answer the questions. After the first assessment, the process repeats, and with the help of the app, you can monitor and improve your progress.
The app comes with a built-in journal, so you can record your thoughts, feelings and moods for the day. You can also look back on your previous answers which is really interesting to review.
The discover page is my favourite part of the app, and the section I’ve found the most useful. It’s full of courses to really help you understand the psychology behind mental health. You get an in-depth breakdown of the impact different moods and health issues have on your thoughts, emotions and actions. You also learn from healthcare professionals. The course on Rumination (or looping thoughts) was my favourite, because it so accurately described the feeling of spiralling. The course helps you to recognise it, and gives you amazing strategies to help you stop the loop before it happens.
There’s also a course on self-confidence which was really eye-opening. You’re learn why we can be so critical of ourselves but also a little more on self-love. This app is wonderful.
This is my favourite app for panic attacks. In the explore tab, there’s an option to use a breathing timer, where you can choose the session length. There, you can choose which type of breathing rhythm you want to follow, and then just do exactly as the app instructs. It tells you when to breath in, when to hold, and when to breathe out. In stressful times, I’ve relied on this app when I can’t remember how to breathe. There’s a meditation time for the same thing, if you’re just looking for some peace to gather your thoughts.
Within the app, there’s a feed where you’ll found your activity history, personalised content suggestions and other inspiration for mindfulness. There’s a five step routine when you first open the app, which helps you feel much calmer. First, you dim the screen for just 10 seconds to think about how your mind and body feel. Next, you check in, and note how you’re physically feeling. You next record how you’re feeling mentally. Then you add emotions, where you can pick from any feeling in the world. Finally, you receive results based on your check-in.
The app automatically recommends actions based on your answers. For example, you could be given a 5 minute meditation course on gratitude to lift your spirits if you’re feeling low. There’s also a joyful meditation, if you’re already feeling great, where you can celebrate the positive even further. There’s a wide range of courses and guides available which makes the app really easy to use.
Journaling is one of my favourite things to do when I’m anxious. I enjoy it that much I do if for fun too. Being able to write down how you feel at any time is my favourite type of therapy, especially if I don’t have anyone I feel like I can talk to. Daylio Journal exists for that reason. Unlike the notes app, I find this one a little more organised and really easy to use.
The app is quite simple, every day, you can add a journal entry and fill in your mood. The moods range from “rad” to “awful”, but you can change those descriptions to something you prefer, as well as the colours of each emotion. You can also add news ones for those custom feelings. When you fill in your mood, you then add what you’ve been up to and how that has affected you. This can be something like work, friends, or gaming. One thing I really like is that you can add new events and each one comes with a cute little icon. The app is really easy to customise, which makes it feel more personal.
You get a reminder each day to add a journal entry. You don’t have to write an essay for each day, just filling in your mood is enough to complete the progress page. There you can see how many days in a row you have logged in and added an entry. There’s a monthly mood chart which is great for tracking how you’ve felt over the past month, and rewards or achievements for continuing to use the journal. The app counts how often you log a certain mood, as well as which activity is most often added with certain feelings. The whole app picks up patterns and tracks progress really well, which is why I find it so fun to use.
I’ve written about Headspace on the blog before, and it’s something I’ve used on an off, usually when I’m bored, but over the past few weeks, I decided to take it seriously and try a session once a day. It’s an app that gets a crazy amount of hype and acclaim, so it must work for someone. At first, I struggled to get past the voice of Andy Puddicombe and just started to think about that. Then, all I would do is try and stop my thoughts, but by doing that all I could think about was stopping my thoughts. In the end, I just let go, and followed the instruction.
I have no idea what it is, but there’s something about sitting peacefully, being present and just taking 10 minutes a day to really relax that totally transforms my mood. I really can’t pinpoint what it is about the app that I find so helpful, but it’s a new obsession for sure. I love how convenient it is, easy to access and easy to complete. I find that everything slows down during a meditation, which is exactly what an anxious mind needs.
Sometimes my head is so busy with thoughts, I’m overwhelmed and can’t even move. But with a 5 minute session on Headspace, I get the chance to press pause on life and although my mind is busy, everything feels a little more laid out and organised. It’s a concept I’m still getting used to myself.
With the Basics course, you get 10 sessions (with a male or female voice) and can choose between 3 minute, 5 minute or 10 minute sessions depending on your mood. This really gives you a chance to get used to the idea of meditation and mindfulness, before diving in with a subscription.