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Tech Therapy: Apps To Soothe Anxiety

Whether you’re searching for meditation that’s actually doable or a post-breakup digital hug, these apps are here to help

31.12.2020

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You probably don’t need telling twice that 2020 has been a difficult year. With the constant intonations to wear a mask, wash our hands and socially distance, we know how to protect ourselves from the pandemic physically – but what about mentally? The upheaval caused by Coronavirus has, according to the ONS, caused levels of anxiety to rise sharply in the UK, with the equivalent of 19 million adults in Great Britain reporting high levels of stress and discomfort. If you’re one of the many suffering from confusion, uncertainty and panic right now, you may find it comforting to know that help is at hand, perhaps much closer than you imagine. A wave of well-developed, highly intuitive apps, available to download straight to your phone, might provide useful tools for combatting anxiety – we’ve rounded up some of the best below. Of course, apps can only go so far, so if you’re struggling, please remember to seek professional help, some details for which can be found at the end of this feature.

Paradym

Designed to heighten your level of self-awareness, Paradym bills itself as an emotional identity coach. So what does that mean in real-world language? Rooted in cutting-edge research and backed by countless psychologists, coaches and mental health experts, Paradym essentially helps users get to know their emotional patterns. The app centres around questioning and reflection of the kind you’d go through in therapy, offering personalised guidance to help you identify emotional patterns and how to break the negative ones. This is the one to try if you feel like this year has left you a bit out-of-touch with your usual feelings and you’re looking for an overall boost.

See their website for more, here.

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Ten Percent Happier Meditation

This nifty, easy-to-use app really does what it says on the tin: it makes you just about ten percent happier. The app, which markets itself as ‘meditation for fidgety sceptics’, offers personalised coaching from real experts and is a great starting point for people who are aren’t quite sure if meditation is for them. A whopping library of over 500 guided meditations on topics as wide-ranging as anxiety to parenting, focus and self-compassion, plus a sleep section filled with snooze-inducing exercises, makes for a seriously user-friendly and effective experience, with new content released weekly. The best bit? Meditations can be as long or as short as you’d like. We love the bite-sized stories and little chunks of wisdom that are ideal for slotting into a lunchbreak or at the end of the day.

See their website for more, here.

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Mend

Suffering from a bad breakup? In the absence of an IRL hug, Mend can help – and ensure you use your phone for something more constructive than drunk-dialling your ex. Daily audio training and guided journaling are designed to help you get over the heartbreak hump; a useful counter shows how many days it’s been since your breakup and since you last contacted your ex. Of particular note are the regularly updated articles, which are full of useful relationship advice, from communicating with a partner during lockdown to how to go through a divorce in the middle of a pandemic. Especially if you’re social distancing and can’t see your friends as much as you’d like, Mend is the ideal partner to a breakup, offering tried-and-tested support methods that really work.

See their website for more, here.

Youper

An AI therapy platform that supports you anytime, anywhere, Youper is mental health care at its most modern. Download it, complete a check-up to personalise your experience and you’ll start ‘talking’ to a bot, much like you would text a therapist or a friend – you can even set reminders for Youper to check in on you every day. There are hundreds of guided therapy exercises in the app library, but the real plus-point for Youper is the mood-tracker, which enables you to monitor and see your own progress. A great example of combining high-level tech with emotional wellbeing, Youper really learns from you, so it feels extra personal.

See their website for more, here.

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Happify

For those who want to approach their mental health with a more light-hearted touch, Happify is a great solution. Activities and games, developed by leading scientists and experts who’ve been studying in the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness and behavioural therapy for decades, are cleverly designed to nix negative thoughts, stress and anxiety. Games like ‘Negative Knockout’ (a bit like Angry Birds, but using ‘happiness cannon balls’) and ‘Uplift’ (which features images of hot air balloons; you click on the ones with positive words and ignore the negative) don’t take much effort, but really do leave you feeling better. If the idea of CBT, therapy or other anxiety-busting techniques feels too much right now, give this a try.

See their website for more, here.

If things are feeling difficult for you, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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