[App Fridays] Here are 7 apps to help you keep your mental health in check
It’s April 2021 and the pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere. India is dealing with a massive second wave, and everyone — directly or indirectly — has been affected by it. Directly or not, COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on everyone's mental health.
Since last year, we are constantly stressed about our health, finances, hygiene, jobs, loved ones, and more. This has, of course, led to deteriorating mental well-being, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other issues.
According to The New York Times, however, in 2021, most of us are in a limbo. It describes this as ‘languishing’, meaning feeling blah, or in a space where you are neither depressed nor flourishing, but with the absence of feeling well.
Whether you are languishing or more or less, your mental well-being still needs to be kept in check, and for that, here are seven apps that can help you cope.
[If you know any more, please let us know.]
Singapore-based Intellect, picked by Google as one of the best personal growth apps of 2020, helps you restructure your personal, social, and work life by tackling the root of your psychology through its scientific process.
Developed by a team of psychologists and behavioural experts, the app offers a new form of psychological training with quick bite-sized sessions to help you work towards who you want to be. The app makers say Intellect will let people embark on an entirely new way to work on their traits, habits, and behaviours.
It claims to help users overcome personal struggles like procrastination, low self-esteem, and anxiety, and also help them become more assertive, sociable, and confident.
Launched in early 2020, the app has more than one million downloads so far on the Google Play Store and has a 4.8-star rating out of 5.
Not everyone can go to a therapist. Sometimes all we need is someone to talk to. And Wysa, a Made in India app, launched by Jo Aggarwal and Ramakant Vempati in 2015, helps you with that.
It aims to be your emotional health buddy and well-being tracker by helping you chat with an AI-enabled mental health ‘chatbot therapist’ designed by therapists, coaches, users, and AI experts.
Wysa, which claims to offer support with mood tracking, finding optimism, and reframing thoughts in easy-to-understand and friendly chats, has so far been used in over 30 countries and has benefited more than one million people.
It was chosen as the best app to deal with COVID-19 stress and anxiety by ORCHA, the world’s leading health app evaluation and adviser organisation. The app has been rated 4.8 stars and has crossed one million downloads so far on Google Play Store.
The Dalai Lama spoke for all of us when he said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” And during times of stress, a lot of healthcare experts are reiterating that sleep is also a medication for well-being.
But falling and staying asleep can be tough amid high stress. The internet is full of advice on how to maintain sleep hygiene, including going to bed and rising at the same time every day, banning nicotine from your life, and avoiding large meals, caffeine, alcohol, and gadget time before bedtime. But what if you cannot get those hours of sleep despite all that?
Perhaps a sleep app could help you sleep like a log. We tried out Sleep Cycle, which tracks and analyses your sleep patterns to help you sleep well and wake up refreshed and raring to go.
Launched in 2009, Sleep Cycle is one of the most downloaded intelligent alarm clocks and sleep trackers. The key feature of the app is its ‘smart alarm’.
If journaling is something you want to start, now is the time to use the Grid Diary app. Numerous surveys show that regular journaling can help boost productivity, maintain wellbeing, develop new habits, and even set new goals.
Sticking to journalling is a breeze with Grid Diary, an app that combines your weekly, monthly, and yearly diary, and enables you to build your own journal and planner system. The art of journaling is not easy, and most of us find ourselves battling ‘writer’s block’ when we see a blank page. Grid Diary aims to help change your life and realise your dreams by becoming “the simplest, yet most powerful and effective personal growth tool”.
The app combines powerful diary and planner templates with reflective prompts to help you focus and think about the areas of life you want to track so that you can flourish.
In 2020, Grid Diary won a spot in one of Google Play’s ‘Best App’ awards of the year. The journaling app is available on Apple's iOS and Google’s Play Store. It has crossed one million downloads on Play Store and is rated 4.6 out of 5.
The app is not just a diary-keeping app; it also works like a planner. The app has many useful features, such as a prompts library, quotes library, reminders, templates, tags, file upload options (for photos), themes, sync services, passcode etc.
Whether you like to maintain a morning diary, success diary, gratitude journal, or bullet journal, or simply want to record your feelings, this is the app for you.
At a time when social media is full of friends and family needing support, and the news is grim, a community-driven app HaikuJAM aims to help you with mental health, anxiety, and depression, with a twist of social game.
The Made in India app connects you with strangers around the world, who ‘jam’ with you to write micro-poems, quotes, or stories together. The app is inspired by the Japanese poetic form 'haiku', which captures the essence of a moment in just three lines.
Its ethos lies in promoting creativity, which according to research, can boost well-being, reduce stress, think clearly, and grow as people. HaikuJAM has been downloaded more than five lakh times on Google Play Store, and has a rating of 4.4 stars out of five.
Founded by Dhrupad Karwa, Neer Sharma, and Andrew Leung, who met at the University College London (UCL), HaikuJAM was initially launched in the UK in 2015, and started in Mumbai in 2017.
The company claims to have more than 800,000 jammers across 163 countries, who have written over 65 million lines in about 102 languages. Its mission is to realise a more meaningful universe by helping people express themselves without barriers.
In a nutshell, the short creative writing process helped in stressbusting, especially as you can share your ideas and thoughts with others, who may have a different perspective. HaikuJAM helps you to make creative writing a part of your daily life, with fresh prompts and a creativity tracker.
This app has an array of free meditations, sleep music, stories to “calm your mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, enhance deep sleep, and improve happiness”. The app stands out, for not only its quality sessions, but for being able to provide short meditation exercises on the go to inculcate the habit.
It offers free meditation routines to choose from under categories like guided and unguided meditations, calming music, talks, sleep, beginners, stress etc.
Insight Timer has a large free library of guided meditations by top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists, and teachers from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford and more.
Users can choose routines with spans of less than five minutes to over 30 minutes. Customisations include music and a female or male voice for audio. You can choose from high spiritual or religious content, and can filter by benefit, practice, and even origin of meditation.
We used a host of meditation apps but found such expansive customisation available only on Insight Timer. The app has various courses such as “how to restore sound sleep”, “getting over overeating”, “manage anxiety”, and ‘manage anger”.
This is a must-have app. Insight Timer has a 4.9 rating on the Google Play Store and has been downloaded more than 5 million times. The app is available on the App store as well.
MyLife Meditation (earlier Stop, Breathe & Think), is one of the Editor's Choice apps under the Health & Fitness category on Google Play Store for offering a digital wellness platform that functions like a personalised mindfulness coach, offering activities for all levels for kids, teens, and adults.
The app, available for both iOS and Android devices, is rated 4.6 on Google’s Play Store and has recoded more than one million times. The app’s mission is to help kids, teens and young adults “build the emotional strength to tackle life’s ups and downs”.
MyLife Meditation offers daily wellness check-ins and suggests activities personalised on how you feel and learn to maintain perspective through your mental and physical wellness journey. The app also helps you develop simple habits so you can get to a better place in just a few minutes a day.
If you are looking for a meditation app that fits your lifestyle, especially for beginners, this one's for you. If you are extremely busy, stressed, and keen to start/maintain the practice of meditation, we would recommend you download this app.