Anxiety and stress have always existed and will always exist, but there are tools to better control them
Anxiety and stress have always existed and will always exist. However, it must be recognized that our lifestyle and our current society can encourage the development of these health problems. It is therefore excellent that we are talking openly and more than ever about these emotions and symptoms, especially since it is possible to better manage them on a daily basis or during particularly stressful events.
If you are experiencing anxiety or stress, you are not alone. For many, the pandemic has forced us to change the way we live, work and interact with others; our view of the world, as we have known it, will never be the same. For this reason, this pandemic period has been, and can still be, stressful and anxiety-provoking. According to a Statistics Canada survey, almost 40% of Canadians aged 12 and over reported having poorer mental health at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 than before the pandemic.
Whether or not the pandemic is a causal or aggravating factor in our anxiety, it is important, now more than ever, to find ways to manage this stress and anxiety so that we can return to a healthier and more serene life. And thanks to technology, some options are more accessible than ever before!
Mobile apps can help manage stress and anxiety
There are many different apps available that can help better manage stress and anxiety.
Some apps will offer to read or video material to learn more about anxiety and how to manage it. Others teach or coach in relaxation exercises, such as guided and/or mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises. Other apps offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT, a proven and the most widely used therapy for anxiety disorders) exercises, to help you change negative thinking and other harmful patterns. Still others provide a space for journaling or tracking your moods, or a community to share with people who share similar concerns or issues. Some even offer the possibility to chat with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.
Most app focus on anxiety and stress in general, but some will offer treatment for specific health problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, for example.
The best app for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences, and you may need to test more than one to find the right match.
But above all, if your anxiety is moderate to severe, or regularly impacts your sleep or daily functioning, first consult a physician for help. After this initial step, adding the use of an app to your treatment plan may be discussed with your clinician, and deemed favorable.
MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app that uses scientifically proven strategies based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). MindShift CBT can help you reduce worry, stress, and panic by following evidence-based strategies. The app comes with a clean and user-friendly design that allows you to learn and practice CBT strategies in an easy and intuitive way. With MindShift CBT, you can challenge negativity, learn more about anxiety, develop more effective ways of thinking, be mindful, and relax. If you are looking for anxiety, stress, and panic relief, you have come to the right place.
Mon Sherpa is a chatbot (a computer program that simulates human conversation) that helps you to identify and understand your symptoms, and provides you with a personalized program of exercises to improve your mental health. The app is based on proven techniques of cognitive and behavioral therapy, positive psychology, and mindfulness meditation. It is supervised by a scientific committee of researchers and experts in psychological counseling.
This app is only available in French.
Wysa, your happiness buddy, is an AI chatbot (a computer program that simulates human conversation) that can help the user relax and get unstuck. It uses science as a foundation to strengthen mental health, and employs research-backed techniques of CBT, DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), Yoga and meditation to help cope with stress, anxiety, deep sleep, loss and other mental health and wellness needs. Wysa can be used to rewire the mind to improve emotional health, and it can also be used as a tool to manage stress, anxiety and depression.
Headspace is an app that helps people relax, manage stress, and focus their energy to become more centered and well rested. Headspace offers guided meditation, sleep meditation, and breathing exercises. Users can choose from hundreds of guided meditations on a new topic each day, including anxiety, focus, relaxation, and more. Headspace can be helpful for people who want to reduce stress and anxiety, improve their sleep, and increase their focus and productivity.
Anxiety and stress are pervasive in our lives, and some suffer from it more than others. Fortunately, the problem is being recognized and discussed with more openness than ever before, and thanks to technology, options are now easily at our fingertips.
Apps are one of those options, and when combined, they offer a wide range of therapeutic exercises. All you have to do is take the time to look for the app that will work best for you, try a few if the first one isn't the right one for you, and then be diligent in using it to get the benefits, and possibly learn something that will help you for the rest of your life!
Your health care professional can help you choose
Feeling confident is important. Get all the essential information about health apps by talking to your healthcare professional.
AppGuide provides reliable information about mobile health apps that allows patients and healthcare professionals to make informed, shared decisions about using a health app to track health status or act on your priority health goals.