Smartphone Apps For Mental Health
We can all benefit from apps that help our mental and physical well-being. While apps for physical exercises and weight loss are very popular, good apps for mental well-being are less familiar to us.
Even if you are not dealing with a mental illness, you can still benefit from meditation, mindfulness methods, and techniques based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). If you are struggling with mental illness, you will find these apps a helpful companion on your journey to health. These apps offer a plethora of resources that make it easier for you to access helpful and effective therapeutic techniques by yourself. Even if you are taking medication or getting therapy, you would still find these techniques helpful throughout the day, on a regular basis.
Here are some free, android (some have premium features for a payment or subscription) smartphone apps that you will find useful for mental health support.
CBT/ACT based trackers, diaries and mind management apps
This is a free, easy-to-use app that is based on CBT and ACT. The app offers a lot of useful information and coping strategies for anger, anxiety, stress, depression and self-esteem issues. It has a diary to keep your thoughts and feelings, a habit tracker, grounding techniques, methods to overcome negative thinking patterns (cognitive distortions), breathing techniques and more.
This free app offers information, thought diary and videos for helping people struggling with depression. it also has a safety plan that offers you a way to devise your self-help plan against self-harm. And excellent tool, recommended for depression. The videos have guided meditations, TED talks on mental health issues and soothing sounds.
This is a highly rated, free journal app that is combined with tools from (CBT), (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Positive Psychology to help improve your mood. The app helps you to evaluate, understand, and change the patterns of your thoughts and feelings. As you learn to analyze how and why you're feeling a certain way, you learn to challenge the negative beliefs. The app can be used as a mood journal, a thought record journal, and a gratitude journal.
This is a free CBT based app for anxiety management. Easy to use and full of features, this app is great for knowing about and applying CBT in daily life. The app also includes thought journals, graded challenges, calming audios, guided meditations, progress tracking, and grounding techniques. There is also a forum to join the community of other users and share stories and advice.
This app has some free features but to use it fully , there is a payment. However, the app is excellent for CBT based activities, exercises and a large number of different themed meditations. The visual techniques like illustrations and videos are very useful to users to learn and practice the CBT Techniques. It has 500+ levels of topics and the app creates a personalized content based on your self-assessment.
This app has a lot of useful features in the free version and is an excellent app for OCD, anxiety and depression using CBT strategies. It is an app that is recommended by professional for people who have OCD, and is highly rated by users as well.
Headspace: Mindful Meditation & Calm - Meditate, Sleep, Relax are 2 world-famous meditation apps. To fully avail of their vast offerings, you need to subscribe with a payment. But even the free versions have many useful contents.
However, my top favorite is Serenity for the wonderful free guided meditations and low priced offerings for kids' meditation and advanced meditation.
I am a huge proponent of breathwork and guided breathwork is an integral part of the therapies I offer. Breathing exercises can reduce stress and enhance physical and mental health in significant ways. I would suggest once you have learned diaphragmatic breathing, and some breathing exercises from a guide, you can use these apps to carry on daily practice.
My favorite is the simple and practical Breathly - you can have a simple, voice guided, bell guided or a quiet timing-guided breathing session with this app. You can also customize the timing and use a specific type of breathing.
Another one is Breathe: relax & focus which also similar but with a progress tracker and some other features like vibration feedback, changeable time duration based on number of cycles and running in background. Similarly, One Deep Breath also offers a lot of features in the free version for you to learn different kinds of breathing techniques.
Disclaimer: I have no commercial interests in any of these apps.