A few months ago, I got an email through my blog from a company called Thrive. They wrote to me to tell me all about their app, “Feel Stress Free” and to ask if I would try it out and review it here for you guys to see!
They describe the app as using “clinically proven techniques (CBT and also mindfulness techniques) in order to build resilience, prevent and manage stress/anxiety.” – which sounded right up my street! So I said I would love to and, after getting a code (for a free subscription) I downloaded the app and gave it a go.
So here’s what I found:
Okay, let’s start with the behind the scenes stuff. This app is created by Thrive who describe themselves as “a social enterprise that has been founded by psychiatrists and psychologists that develop apps to help individuals live happier, healthier lives”.
Disclaimer: You do normally have to pay to get the App and more detail about the pricing structure can be found here: https://feelstressfree.com/payments/package.html
So, you’ve signed up and downloaded the app – now what? Well, there’s plenty to choose from! The app is set on a beach with the calming sound of waves to soothe you as you work your way through. The app opens by asking you to complete its “Mood Meter” (see below)
You simply mark off on a linear chart how you’re feeling and then they ask you a couple of questions about your general mood. These questions are very similar to what a counsellor or CB therapist would ask during sessions. This is a great way to track how you have been feeling as it records your daily moods for you to see so you can note improvements or days when you feel particularly down, which could help you to identify triggers.
Once you’ve done this, the app then takes you to another “island” which hosts lots of options so you can chose what would you feel would help you the most at this time. Based on your answers to the questions input on the previous “island”, the app also recommends which options may help you .
Each island is a guided session where a calming voice talks you through a “guided routine”. I tried the Deep Muscle relaxation option on a particularly restless night and, while I didn’t immediately fall asleep, the difference in my body felt amazing afterwards! I felt a lot more still and much calmer, which ultimately led me to falling asleep. I used the Breathing option on a night when I was feeling particularly jumpy and scared, it really helped me to focus and the music was really soothing.
I particularly liked the Self Hypnosis option as I suffer with mild OCD, so I used the phrase “A thought is just a thought” and I now find myself repeating the process when I feel particularly anxious. It basically suggests that you repeat whatever your “key phrase” is , while soothing music plays, with some eye movements and deep breathing, so when you feel anxious you can repeat your phrase and feel yourself automatically repeating the eye movements and deep breaths. Of course, it doesn’t make it all “go away” but I found it helped to ground me which in turn made me feel calmer.
The app also offers other little things such as the chance to receive and generate “Messages in a bottle” using prepared phrases that are sent out anonymously to someone else using the app and I felt that it was quite nice to think that I’d sent some words of support to someone else who may be struggling.
It also has a “Zen Garden” which is calming for the more creative of you out there! Its pretty easy to use but it is a bit small and fiddly, so I can’t imagine trying to do it mid anxiety attack, but definitely while I’m sat waiting for a train or just feeling a bit stressed.
Overall I think this is a really good app. It has something for everyone, so you can use it as much or as little as you like and tailor it to your personal needs. It also works on a laptop/computer as well as a mobile phone so you can access it whenever and wherever you like.
It is a little bit pricey, so I think if you’re going to get it, you need to push yourself to use it as much as possible, but I think that if you do, it will be really effective.
They also have a great twitter account on @ThriveAppsUK where they post motivational quotes which is a nice daily boost!
So make sure you go check them out and if you use the app, let me know how you find it!