Mindfulness: There’s an App For That | by Nicole Profeta

In this day and age, it is nearly impossible to go a full 24 hours without your smartphone. We use our phones to do everything, from sending text messages to our friends, calling our parents to update them, posting IG stories of the concert we are watching, posting updates on our class group on Facebook, to reading about the latest gossip on Twitter. Smartphones have become a very integral part of our lives. So many aspects of our lives have become much easier and have been made more accessible thanks to the technology of the apps on our smartphones.

And who’s to say mental health can’t do the same? Over the past few years, more and more mental health apps have been developed and used by many people, those with mental illnesses as well as those who simply want to take better care of their own mental health. Such apps have presented exciting advancements for the field, including the possibility of educating patients better, monitoring more accurately mental as well as physical symptoms, and even offering immediate yet not clinical-level assistance.

SOME USEFUL MENTAL HEALTH APPS:

  1. Daylio

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

As the name implies, this app is best used daily to track the different moods you experience as well as your activities.

Features

Track your daily activities and correlate these with the moods you experience. You will soon notice patterns between certain activities and moods – do you always experience more positive moods when you are hanging out with your friends? Do you feel anxious whenever you are at school? These correlations can later be looked into by your psychologist or health professional (or even yourself). The bonus addition of turning your data into a printable PDF offers the advantage of having something concrete to show to your psychologist. Additionally, you can also log a short entry at the end which can serve as a mini journal.

You can also track habits and goals and set reminders to achieve these. Do you need to be reminded thrice a week to hit the gym? Or do you need to be reminded to do your grocery shopping at least twice a month? This app has got you covered. 

This app is more of a self-awareness tool than a specific self-help tool. It does not offer advice or activities to do, but it does present data that can help you or your psychologist analyze your day-to-day moods and activities. It is most helpful for those experiencing mood disorders, but anyone who wants to become more self-aware can use this app. 


2. Headspace

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

This app basically teaches mindful meditation, or learning how to be more present in the present. 

Features

It starts off with basic guided meditation sessions which teach you how to be more present. These come in the form of podcasts which talk you through basic skills such as noting your thoughts, steadying your breathing pace, learning how to sit still and concentrate for longer periods of time. You can even adjust each session to the amount of time you are willing to meditate that day, and the session will automatically be tailored to your timeframe. 

After finishing basic sessions, you can move on to unlock more advanced sessions which cover self-improvement topics like handling stress, sleeping better, help with overcoming fears, and becoming more confident.

Although this is a paid app, some packages come free if you explore the app well enough.

Bonus: some Headspace guided meditations are on Youtube and Spotify! 

3. Calm Harm

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

As its name implies, this is an app that helps individuals struggling with self-harm or panic attacks. 

Features 

This app relies on distraction and ultimately channels the self-harm urge into something more productive. Self-harm is seen as “wave” which you must “ride out” until the urge passes. When experiencing such urges, it is often difficult to distract the mind, so this app offers a wide variety of activities with specific prompts to lessen even more stress. The activities range from those that provide comfort, distraction, release, and even explore creativity. Additionally, the app helps track occurrences of attacks for better monitoring. 

Similar apps

#SelfCare – also an app to help deal with panic attacks

4. Woebot

(Available on Google Play and App Store)

Don’t be fooled by its pun-ny name. This app is centered on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, one of the most popular forms of clinical therapy. 

Features

This app is an AI robot that holds conversations. As stupid as it sounds, it is actually very efficient at teaching lessons from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, such as determining cognitive distortions (a.k.a. Bad thoughts) like all-or-nothings and shoulds, establishing a growth mindset, and attaining mindfulness. “Sessions” with Woebot are short and consist of check-ins which are best done everyday. As with most other mental health apps, Woebot also helps track progress over a span of days. 

This is perfect for those days when your therapist is not available, but it should be kept in mind that this app cannot stand as a substitute for professional help. 

There are numerous other mental health apps that prove to be useful, but nothing still beats good ‘ol therapy and self-care. At the end of the day, these apps are not a substitute, but merely support. 

Special thanks to: COPE UP of UP Diliman, Gleeselle Rosales, and Wren Breda