Six Apps That Help Support Your Mental Health
However busy life gets, it's important to check in with your mental health, which is a simple way to ensure you're supporting your overall wellness from the inside out. One way to do this? Set up daily check-ins with yourself; they act as an emotional temperature check. "They help to identify where you are in the moment and what you may be in need of," One Medical's Sherese Ezelle, LMHC says. "For example, if you are frustrated, you may reach out to a friend and share that feeling—or you may take time to step away and have some tea or coffee." There are a number of other expert-approved ways to improve mental wellness, too, and that includes taking care of your body. "Get good sleep, eat healthy, and fit in physical activity regularly," Dr. Desreen N. Dudley, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, says. "Physical activity alone has been shown to have positive impacts on depressed moods."
Believe it or not, your phone can help, too. "Mental health-centered apps allow the user to practice engaging in emotional wellness and learn coping skills," Ezelle says, noting that they can provide techniques for managing emotions at any given moment. "These easily accessible apps open the user up to practicing mental wellness on the go." Plus, you can use a mental health app to monitor mood symptoms; research shows that this can combat negative behaviors. They shouldn't however, replace therapy, notes Dr. Dudley—instead, view that as a supplementary tool. "Mental health apps (that aren't therapy related) are great to use in conjunction with therapy so that clients can continue to practice new skills learned in between sessions," she says, noting that actual therapy apps, which connect patients to licensed providers, are available, too. Both "can be used in the convenience and privacy of their home and keeps clients engaged in and taking control of their mental health." Ahead, discover several apps that will support your mental health and additional tips for boosting your emotional wellness.
AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game
Ezelle recommends giving yourself permission to engage in fun and meaningful activities every day. To determine what you truly enjoy, she says to ask yourself, "What brings me joy?" or "How can I keep this joy all day?" If you love to sing, do so while you finish the dishes or take a walk. Joy can come in the form of playing games, as well. For those looking for an app that is centered around soothing anxiety, Ezelle recommends the app, AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game. "It includes games like fidgets, coloring activities, sliding metal balls, and brick smashing," she says. "The app serves users managing symptoms of anxiety, ADHD, and anger management."
These days, telemedicine is as popular as ever, especially when it comes to virtual therapy. "It can offer ways to challenge negative patterns of thinking and behaviors and learn to replace them with more adaptive ways," Dr. Dudley says of this practice. The benefits, however, are endless—your telehealth appointments take place in your own home, and often on your own time. Interested? Consider an app like Teladoc, which is "the leader in virtual health care and offers a wide range of services to address an individual and their family's healthcare needs immediately, without having to leave the convenience of home," Dr. Dudley continues. "The app is suitable for individuals who are able and willing to use technology to treat a wide range of mental health needs." She notes that the offerings include integrated, full-service, and whole-person care with services that cater to mental health needs and beyond (urgent care, general medicine, nutrition, and dermatology appointments can also be made). As these services are all packaged in one app, it makes for a beneficial one-stop-shop experience for members.
Shine is a Black-owned self-care app that serves the Black community, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals with "an exclusive library of 1,000+ meditations, created with representation at the forefront." These restful sessions focus on topics like burnout and are available via a premium membership. However, this app also has free features, which include daily meditations, a daily article, and a gratitude log. Both experts note that the latter is one of their top recommendations for practicing daily emotional wellness. "Taking time to jot down things that you are thankful for, big or small, can help you to spend time with and reflect on those positive experiences any time," Ezelle says.
Mindfulness is a daily practice that supports mental health, says Ezelle. To try it out, start by pausing and taking a deep breath, as stress is often heightened by the feeling of being out of control. Feel your lungs inflate and deflate with every breath, which will remind you that you are in control in that very moment. The MyLife app actively assists with these sensations, and with the act of grounding, too. "The app opens with a self-check that asks users to rate how they feel, physically, mentally, and emotionally," Ezelle explains. "You are able to add up to five emotions. The app then uses these ratings to suggest the best mindfulness activities." User can then choose between guided mindfulness and self-guided mindfulness. "I often suggest this app to individuals who have a hard time getting started with the practice of mindfulness," adds Ezelle. "This is a fast and engaging way to understand the connection between your mind, body, and mood."
Looking for another mental health-centered app? Dr. Dudley suggests Sanvello, which "provides virtual individual therapy as well as coaching to reinforce use of cognitive behavioral therapy tools to treat mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression." This app also provides self-care tips and peer support.
Daylio allows its users to see patterns in their daily activities and how these activities impact their mood through the practice of journaling. "I particularly like this app because the user can share their progress with others to help with accountability and celebrate successes," Ezelle says. In addition to supporting those with depression and anxiety, this app "helps with healthy habit formation, which is great for those who find this challenging."