Technology has become ubiquitous. Every one now seems to have a smart phone and I am getting used to looking at the tops of people's heads all the time. This technology puts more demands on our society than perhaps any societal evolution in history. We are constantly plugged in and flooded with information 24/7.
Mindfulness practice helps us to unplug, or at least to pay attention to more than just out phones, tablets and computers. But new technology can be harness to help those who suffer from mental illness. In my experience, Recovery Record is a top notch app. to help people affected by Eating Disorders to monitor and modify their behavior.
Below is a blog written by my friend and colleague Portia Kimbis on some apps that assist people in recovery. Remember, these apps are are great help, but should be used in conjunction with professional and expert counseling. So stop being distracted and start being well!
7 Awesome Mental Health Apps You Should Be Using
There are many applications (apps) out there that can aid with symptom management of or recovery from a mental health disorder. Choosing an app might even feel overwhelming and that’s not the purpose of these tools! I have made a select list of some of the eating disorder/mental health apps available. Remember everyone is unique so take time, do your homework and find the app or apps that work best for you!
Eating Disorder Recovery Apps
Recovery Record: This app can be used by both a person struggling with an eating disorder and their treatment providers. The app lets people log their meal and snack completion as well as their emotions. This app offers tips and skill reminders when needed. It is very interactive and allows you to send “gifts” to other users as encouragement. Because this app can be used by both patient and providers it gives real time information so that the provider knows going into the session how the patient is doing throughout the week. Walden Behavioral Care has partnered with Recovery Record and uses this app in our programs. The app is free to all users however there is a cost for a provider after they have paired with a certain amount of patients. iTunes gives this app a rating of five stars.
Rise Up + Recover: This application is similar to Recovery Record in that you can log meals, snacks, and emotions. This app is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and provides a treatment directory for users as well as a Recovery Warriors shop. Rise Up + Recover is free to all users. iTunes rates this app with five stars.
Kissy Project: This app is based on Kirsten Hertog’s recovery after suffering from anorexia and binge eating disorder. Her app offers motivational quotes daily, access to her blog, help lines for eating disorders and depression. She also gives challenges and weekly tasks out on the app for users to do. This app is free to all users. iTunes rates this app with three and a half stars.
Other Helpful Mental Health Apps
Breathe2Relax: This app is for stress management. It walks the user through breathing exercises to lessen anxiety, anger and heighten mood. It uses diaphragmatic breathing. This app is free and is rated four and a half stars by iTunes.
Lantern: This app allows users to fill out questionnaires that look into the user’s body, stress/anxiety, mood, sleep, and social life. After the assessment you can sign up for the subscription that gives you a coach trained in CBT who can provide you feedback and answer any questions. The user is given daily exercises tailored to the needs of the user (based on the assessment.) The daily sessions are evidence based and stem from cognitive behavioral techniques. While the app itself is free the subscription is $75 per month or $398 for the year. iTunes rates this with four stars.
PTSD Coach: This was developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD. This is intended to be used by those suffering from PSTD or PTSD symptoms. The app gives education around sign and symptoms of PTSD, self-care, how to find support and emergency access to the suicide hotline or personal contacts. This app offers relaxation skills, positive self-talk, anger management and other coping skills for symptoms of PTSD. You can add your own pictures and music to the app and users have the ability to track how their symptoms have been progressing. iTunes rates the app with four stars.
DBT Diary Card and Skills: This app was created by a DBT trained and licensed psychologist. It offers DBT skills, emotions and behaviors to choose from, coaching on skill use, the ability to customize, emergency contact use within the app, listen to music, you can also send your personal therapist your diary card on a weekly basis. This app is $4.99 and is rated with four stars from iTunes.
Have you used any apps like these? Let us know what your experience was!
Portia Kimbis is the Marketing and Community Relations Associate for Walden’s S. Windsor Clinic. Formerly, she was a Residential Treatment Assistant at Rushford, an adolescent boy’s rehabilitation program. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Patient Coordinator for the OB/GYN Department at the Cornell Medical College at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Ms. Kimbis is enjoying her role at Walden and feels her position is allowing her to learn more about the mental health field and eating disorders. In her free time, she volunteers at Forgotten Felines, a cat shelter where she takes care of felines who need homes. She also enjoys yoga and traveling. Ms. Kimbis received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 2013 with a double major in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies.
Many of us dreamed of being a superhero as children, and we may even have a desire to have superpowers as an adult. This YouTube clip from happify.com does an excellent job of explaining how mindfulness works in simple and everyday terms. It also lets us know that there are ways of obtaining new skills at any point in our lives, and when they are as effective as mindfulness can be they really can feel like a superpower.
I truly believe in the healing properties and power of music and am a music fanatic. I will post playlists from time to time pertaining to wellness. Today will be marked with reverence for a true original. Let's celebrate his life through his music.
I can't say that I am a huge David Bowie fan per se, but I have always admired his musical ability and knack for writing a great song, not to mention his collaborative spirit. Here's my top five in memorium:
5. Modern Love
4. Under Pressure (w Queen).
3. Space Oddity
1. Suffragette City
And bonus points for The Man Who Sold the World for being covered by Nirvava unplugged and the song titled David Bowie by Phish.
"Fame, bully for you, chilly for me
Got to get a rain check on pain" David Bowie, Fame
I found this article on twitter today. I am a Mindfulness trainer and use many of its principles in my therapy and coaching. I like to relay articles like this to show that anybody can benefit from making the mind stronger and more flexible through presence and awareness.