Self-Care Apps And Their Effects On Your Mental Health
Self-care apps are on the rise with over 4,000 different ones available. However, can these apps really help your mental health? They all have the same promise to improve our mental wellbeing. However, even self-help can feel overwhelming. Before you download your next app, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of self-care apps.
What I find ironic is how more of these apps are popping up. Yet, we’re constantly being told by doctors and researchers to put our phones away. How are we meant to do that in a world controlled by ‘health apps?’ Perhaps, technology isn’t so bad after all and it might be able to help us. People who are being diagnosed with serious mental health disorders like depression are turning to their smartphones for comfort, counsel and support.
But, this doesn’t mean scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. There is an app called Shine that focuses on self-care. Apps like this focus on providing people who lead stressful and anxious lives with methods to relax and self-soothe. They are designed to help you regain motivation and focus on positive thoughts, which can be life-changing.
Self-Care Apps To Channel Your Emotions
Shine isn’t the only app either. There are thousands of self-care apps like Aloe Bud, Happify, Happy Not Perfect and Self Checkout all available in your iTunes store. In addition, all of these apps have one core focus, to improve your mental state. They might make use of mood trackers, trigger alerts, reminders, self-care suggestions, guided meditations and more.
The funny thing is that the techniques they use are not new and are actually pretty basic. However, they just make mental wellness more accessible to busy people and incorporate pleasant visuals. they are essentially very basic and established self-help methods repackaged using sunny visuals. Because we spend a large portion of our lives sitting on our phones, and if we are to continue doing so, it makes sense that we should use them as tools to help our emotional health rather than challenge it.
Social media platforms are guilty of challenging many people’s mental health for many different reasons. These apps are free, available 24/7 and come at no expense. But do they offer a cure? Or is their existence proof that we are solely reliant on hashtags and the ‘health craze’ on social media? I believe it could be a bit of both, but if people are genuinely benefiting from them then I do not see an issue.
Now Is The Most Vital
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the world is experiencing a ‘mental health epidemic’ with stress, anxiety and depression levels skyrocketing. WHO says one in four people will experience a mental health difficulty at some point in their lives and 450 million are currently suffering. Therefore, mental health disorders are one of the world’s leading causes of ill health and disability. The main problem is that people who are experiencing these disorders are often overlooked. The world doesn’t take its effects seriously enough. Even worse other barriers like time, money and physical access prevent people from seeking treatment.
So even if we think we know more about mental health issues, there still isn’t enough support available. The British Medical Association warned that thousands of patients are waiting more than a year for access to counselling or therapy on the underfunded NHS. The problem with this is that those who are on the waiting list are battling with the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. It is said that almost half of them will try to commit suicide. A scary thought!
Therefore, our supposed ‘wellness systems’ are ultimately useless. That is why apps now exist where you can take traditional support only offered in therapists’ offices and keep it in your pocket. No more waiting lists. You can access the support on your own schedule that meets your own needs. These apps are smart because they create an experience that is also fun and engaging. Happify now has more than 3.3 million users worldwide and is available in seven languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Chinese and Japanese.
Gen Z And The Millenials
These apps are most popular amongst the younger generations. Stats have shown them to be the highest number of users and founders of self-care apps. There are no surprises there since these two generations are the most tech-savvy and anxious generations in history. Growing up in a world of smartphones has made them dependable on the devices and as a result, they’re seeking their help too!
I do not think smartphones will ever be a replacement for mental health care (particularly for serious conditions – that may lead to suicide). But the help that they offer is better than none at all. Most of these apps focus on empowering their users to look after their minds as they do with their bodies – like working out for mental wellbeing. They are encouraged to practice doing this daily because looking after your mind is a lot harder and more complex than looking after your body.
There Must Be A Balance
However, I think it’s crucial to establish a balance. These apps might be extremely helpful, but you never want to be 100% reliant on a smartphone. Too much of anything is never healthy.
There’s no doubt that self-care apps are helpful in the short term. They are also beneficial to those who are coping with mild conditions. However, if you’ve got a serious condition no smartphone app will be able to replace traditional healthcare and immediate therapy. That’s why telephone support and community groups are vital. If you require help then you can contact the following charities: the Samaritans, Mind, Childline, Nami, Sane, and the Centre for Japanese Mental Health.
These apps are incredible and should be used wisely. They’re great for tracking medication and moods. However, do not rely on them and try to discover yourself through other methods as well. Self-care is only one aspect and you should always be in close contact with family and friends. There comes a time when you need to put the smartphone down entirely. Do not try to fix the problem with the problem. However, the apps are a fantastic reminder that we must take action and pay closer attention to our mental health.
Perhaps the associations we have about Mondays in general ruin how we start our week. All it really means is that you have to change your mindset a bit. Instead of it being a blue Monday, why can’t it be a happy one? Find out how to change your mindset here.