Recently, I was asked to try out Thrive’s ‘Feel Stress Free’ app and thought I’d share some of my thoughts on it with you.
Thrive is an organisation which creates apps using psychology based techniques to help people with their mental health. One of the great things about their apps is that they are evidenced based and can therefore really make a difference to how you manage your mental well being. You can find out more about the ‘Feel Stress Free’ app here with specific information about the evidence behind using some of the features.
As most people who read this blog will know, my emotions can change every second sometimes and it’s hard to keep up with it. The app allows you to track your mood which is really useful if you experience regular mood changes. It also stores this data so you can see how your mood changes over time. It asks further questions about where you were and any specific events that may have caused the emotion. I really liked this element because it allowed me a chance to notice if there were any patterns in my mood – my therapy has taught me the importance of questioning why I am feeling a certain way, whether it is linked to past experiences and such. Having to answer this on the app gave me time to reflect. Another element of my therapy (MBT) is looking at alternatives and this app actually provides examples of alternative ways of thinking. Whilst it is not as specific as getting different perspectives in a therapy situation, it does provide a good starting point.
The app has different exercises which it recommends depending on your answers to the questions about mood. These include breathing, deep muscle relaxation, self hypnosis and meditation. All of this exercises give you an option of how long you’d like to do them for. Some of the exercises take as little as 3 minutes. This is really useful to use if you find yourself in a situation which is making you really anxious. You can always find a quiet space and do some guided breathing to ease some of the stress of the day.
There are a couple of features on the app which are not particularly helpful in my view. For example, the zen garden and message in a bottle. These enable you to design your own zen garden and send/receive positive messages via the app to other users. They could provide some light relief when stressed or low in mood but with the rest of the app being so evidenced based and genuinely helpful, those aspects seem a little unnecessary. But perhaps that’s just me not feeling the need to have fun with an app designed to help with mental well being!
So who would this app be beneficial for? Anyone who has unstable moods and wishes to track them and people who get caught up in feeling very stressed would definitely benefit from having this app available to them. I’d also suggest that it would be great for anyone who is looking to explore different techniques to improve their overall mental health.
It sometimes feels like everything around us is going at a million miles per hour and thoughts can follow that speed. It’s not often that we take 5 minutes to just breathe or focus on relaxation but it can make a huge difference to our lives. I’d recommend downloading this app as an investment in your well being. Having it readily available on your phone might encourage you to slow down a little. It’s very easy to use and I am yet to have any issues with technical stuff.
‘Feel Stress Free’ is available on iOS and Android and costs work on subscriptions. For one month it will cost £4.99, for 3 months it will cost £3.33 each month and for a year it’s £1.99 each month. It’s an investment in your mental health (and much cheaper/easier to access than a therapist.)