5 Free Apps For Anxiety
Life with anxiety can be a constant battle. Some people compare it to living with diabetes, insofar as the anxious have to handle painful inflictions every day. Like the person with diabetes who has to continuously monitor blood sugar levels and inject insulin, a clinically anxious person must perpetually watch out for stressful situations and be ever-ready to drug themselves for relief.
I am sure all of us have been touched with anxiety, whether it be self, family or a friend.
I spoke to a friend today who has suffered from anxiety since she was 19. In fact, she went for two months where she was unable to leave the house. It has taken her years to control, but it is something she has learnt to live with and now can assist family members and friends who also have anxiety.
Most of us would agree that fear in most people is standard, however, did you know that clinical anxiety is the most common form of mental illness? So common that in fact it is diagnosed more than depression, and one is six people worldwide are clinically anxious for at least one year of their lifetime.
According to Beyond Blue, there are six major types of anxiety disorders.
1. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Is when a person is worrying about many different things to feel anxious for over six months.
2. Social Phobia
An intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated in daily situations, mainly in public places or work.
3. Specific Phobias
Going to great lengths to avoid anything fearful, such as heights, planes or dentist visits.
4. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Where unwanted or intrusive thoughts and fears cause anxiety, and compulsive behaviours accommodate the stress.
5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Most common after experiencing a traumatic event, such as war, rape or car accident.
6. Panic Disorder
Intense, overwhelming and uncontrollable feelings of shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pains or excessive perspiration.
In the book “My Age Of Anxiety” by Scott Stossel, the key message is:
Clinical anxiety is a more frequent and severe illness that what people think. However, there are many different ways to reduce and treat the condition. It is important to note that even when a sufferer’s anxiety is not always under full control, it doesn’t mean that a life with fear is a miserable life.
Although as stated in the book, many people living with anxiety are facing a daily battle, living with limitations. Many anxious people are housebound, often preferring to stay at home to feel safe and in control. He wrote that one clinical troubled man couldn’t walk around his house without vomiting blood.
Scott drew on his long-standing battle with anxiety to write the book. He even speaks about visiting the Kennedy’s and becoming so anxious he flooded their bathroom floor from blocking up the toilet.
Here are five free apps we have researched that will be helpful to you.
BTR is one of the most popular apps available for anyone suffering from anxiety as it is a stress management tool, containing hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercises.
These breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body's 'fight-or-flight' (stress) response, and help with mood stabilisation, anger control, and anxiety management. Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool or used in tandem with clinical care directed by a healthcare worker.
What is the purpose of Breathe2Relax?
Breathe2Relax was developed to teach a skill called diaphragmatic breathing, sometimes called "belly breathing". This kind of breathing has been shown for centuries as a way of turning on the body's relaxation response.
This app allows you to learn and practice this skill on your own or as part of a stress management program supervised by your healthcare professional. The app also provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body which you should become familiar.
Can I use diaphragmatic breathing to help during very stressful situations?
Yes, it can be useful during highly stressful situations, but it's important to understand that it is not an immediate antidote to high stress. Diaphragmatic breathing will not immediately slow a racing heart or filter adrenaline from your system. Many people make the mistake of trying to use the skill only during times of high stress, and when they don't feel immediately better, they conclude that it doesn't help. Like any stress management skill, diaphragmatic breathing requires practice and regular use.
Even though this app is not the most user-friendly app with dated graphics, and it might take time to know the layout, but people using this app have said that after a short period, they are feeling more confident. Their confidence is due to a lot of information to assist them to understand what is happening to your mind and body when anxious.
Designed by Dr Monica Frank, the app is full of useful information to help build confidence and courage to face panic and anxiety.
“The audios are so helpful, as well as the plethora of information provided to help educate yourself on what is happening when you experience panic & anxiety. If you are suffering, I highly recommend this app. If you give it a chance, it will indeed help.”
You will learn to control panic and have relief from anxiety.
Stop Panic & Anxiety contains information about panic attacks and anxiety, cognitive-behavioral approaches to treatment, and a variety of skills and guided techniques to prevent and manage the symptoms of panic attacks. These tools can be a useful aid for individuals who need additional help coping with Panic Disorder or other anxiety disorders.
The Virtual Hope Box (VHB) is an easy to use application designed for use by patients and their behavioural health providers as an accessory to treatment. The VHB contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking.
Patients and providers can work together to personalise the VHB content on the patient's smartphone according to the patient's specific needs. The patient can then use the VHB away from clinic, continuing to add or change content as needed.
Patients can use the VHB to store a variety of rich multimedia content that they find personally supportive in times of need.
For example, a patient can include family photos, videos and recorded messages from loved ones, inspirational quotes, music they find especially soothing, reminders of previous successes, positive life experiences and future aspirations, and affirmations of their worth in their VHB.
A patient can also collaborate with their provider to create coping cards to use in response to personal problem areas they experience. Finally, the VHB provides the patient with real activity planning, distraction tools, and interactive relaxation exercises including guided imagery, controlled breathing and muscle relaxation.
Everyone has worries pop into their head from time to time, but sometimes they won't go away and start to impact your everyday life.
Reach Out Worry Time (ROWT) interrupts this repetitive thinking by setting aside your worries until later, so you don't get caught up in them and can get on with your day, meaning you can deal with concerns once a day, rather than carrying them around with you 24/7.
Decide on a time, place and length of time to deal with your worries each day.
When you notice yourself worrying about something, add it to ROWT and get on with your day.
Use your ROWT to review the worries you've added and ditch the ones that no longer matter to you.
Produced in consultation with the Centre for Clinical Interventions, designed on cognitive behavioural techniques that are used by health and wellbeing practitioners to assist people with anxiety and stress.
Manage the symptoms of anxiety, worry and rumination.
“Reach Out Worry Time is very effective, works great to help me stop anxiety interfering in my life, and target what I worry about most so she can help me challenge it or come up with strategies to handle it.”
Smiling Mind is modern meditation, a unique web and app-based program developed by psychologists and educators to help bring balance to people’s lives.
Just as we eat well and stay fit to keep our body healthy, meditation is about mental health and looking after the mind.
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit organisation that works to make mindfulness meditation accessible to all.
Our vision is to see mindfulness meditation on the Australian National Curriculum by 2020.
Our mission is to provide accessible, life-long tools based in mindfulness meditation.
Our programs are designed to assist people in dealing with the pressure, stress and challenges of daily life.
Programs are offered from 7 year olds to adults.
The Daily Telegraph has provided their top 5 applications, but not all of these are free, but certainly worth checking out also.
A simple mindfulness meditation app that brings clarity and peace of mind.
Think calming audio recordings, helpful tips, an insightful tracker and supportive messages to live a more peaceful life.
3. Head Space
Gym membership for the mind. Headspace is your very own personal trainer for your brain.
4. Worry Watch
More of an anxiety journal, Worry Watch identifies your underlying worry patterns or trends to challenge your perceptions and help change your future thoughts in a positive way.
5. Panic Relief
Designed by mental health professionals, PANIC RELIEF guides you through panic attacks to help you overcome your fear
Please remember there is always help available.
I always told my children and clients, nothing is a problem until you have spoken to someone, then you can decide if it is a problem.
You are not alone.
Please speak out and share this article to everyone on your mailing list and social media. You never know who you will help.
Please don't hesitate to call if you need help:
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyondblue 1300 224 636
Learn to feel better about you. Believe in you because you are worthy.
Read what 3-little life changing words can do for you. Read here.