Building a happier and healthier brain with mindfulness has become an effective way to assist with depression, stress and anxiety. A tool that uses mind and body training to help change the way people think, mindfulness encourages a ‘safe place’ to tune into your thoughts rather than letting them bottle up or overwhelm you.
Regardless of whether you suffer from depression or not though, the act of mindfulness can be a positive step in boosting your mood on a bad or super stressful day. And let’s face it – we all have those days. From learning how to deal with stress to finding an ‘off’ button for your brain when things get too hectic, mindfulness uses practical techniques like meditation and breathing to slow down what’s happening in the moment, allowing you to take a step back.
If you find yourself really struggling with stress and anxiety it is best to talk to someone like a clinical psychologist, but mindfulness can work really will alongside the help of a professional. If you’re dealing with mental health conditions or stress, these apps can help you work on mind-boosting exercises anytime. Here are the top mindfulness apps for smartphones that can guide you through practising daily training.
1. Headspace (on-the-go)
An app aimed to teach you the basics of meditating, Headspace acts as your very own personal trainer to assist with training your mind. The app provides 10 minute meditating sessions talked through with you by the cofounder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe. Complete with hours of content on stress, relationships and happiness, Headspace on-the-go offers animations about how the mind works with tips on how to sit, breathe and track your activity.
Mindfulness medication activates the ‘rest and digest’ part of our nervous system with the help of stress management. As you continue to meditate your brain physically changes to shape itself in a more positive way. The Headspace app promotes a degree of focus and helps to filter brain activity during creative and work tasks to gain more awareness in the moment, because sometimes we all just need a little head space.
2. Thought Diary Pro
Cognitive behaviour therapy – a tool to change unhelpful and unhealthy habits of thinking – works hand-in-hand with mindfulness. Thought Diary Pro is a clinical method that coaches uses to alter these negative thoughts and identify reoccurring patterns and behaviours. Available from iTunes for $7.99, the app helps uses to recognise thinking errors, also known as cognitive disorders, by recording and changing distressing thoughts.
Mindfulness integrated cognitive behaviour therapy is proven technique for helping patients with mental health conditions. Renowned psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has rated the app as the “best of the bunch” for mindfulness on the go. By keeping track of negative thoughts, the app helps to generate alternatives but is best used by those already familiar with the basic principles of CBT.
3. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is one of the most popular and highly regarded apps for practising mindfulness. Developed by Australian psychologists, the free app is designed to suit a variety of age groups with six different meditation courses to try. Suitable for 7 year olds through to adults, Smiling Mind promotes the benefits of mindfulness by bringing balance and clarity to your life.
Meditation as a mindfulness tool is a lifelong practice and can eliminate physical and mental stress and help to fight depression and anxiety. This app’s goal is to encourage everybody to practice meditation and use it as an everyday means of coping.
4. ReachOut WorryTime
Developed by ReachOut Australia – a site dedicated to helping you through tough times – the WorryTime app is a free place to store troubling thoughts about your business or daily activities. Once stored in the app, you’re able to set a time to reign control over each issue and address them accordingly. Perfect for those that lead busy lives or when you need to switch your brain off for a while and deal with the stresses at hand later, the app ensures daily issues don’t impact everyday life.
5. My Mood Tracker
Also recommended by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, My Mood Tracker is a tracking app for moods, emotions and anything else that will affect the way you feel. Designed to give you a better understanding of the triggers behind mood swings, the tracker app is a gentle reminder that all bad moods are usually temporary and it’s only a matter of time before you’re on the path to feeling good again.
At a cost of $9.99 from iTunes, My Mood Tracker uses a fun and powerful design to encourage you to record your thoughts. It allows you to track everything from sleep, exercise, pain, stress and energy levels to see how each alters your daily moods.
Managing stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions can be easier with smartphone apps specifically aimed at promoting mindfulness techniques. And whilst it’s important to realise that there isn’t a set cure to fix these issues overnight, training yourself to observe emotional reactions and their effect on your mind and body can leave you to be better equipped to deal with stressful situations in the future.