For people with anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there are now a number of mobile apps designed to make a difference.
As anxiety can be very upsetting and debilitating, frustration can set in if you’re trying to find online information and confronted with poor search results that provide irrelevant information or is superficially thin on information. It can also be difficult to find and keep a track of these reliable resources. But never fear, there are apps that can help support your anxiety and post-traumatic stress recovery, delivering information at the touch of a fingertip and at your own convenience. These apps are not a replacement for seeking professional medical advice, but they may help support any treatment plan.
Headspace is an incredible meditation app that provides meditation exercises and simple mindfulness techniques that helps you find calm and clarity. It is free for to download and offers a free 10 minute meditation program. If you become a subscriber, you can also access loads more content, guided and unguided exercises, track your health performance, connect with friends and be rewarded with bonus gifts.
Founder, Andy Puddicombe says "This exercise isn't about getting rid of thoughts, it's more about learning how to be at ease with them" in a recent LA Times interview.
While Andy may be a trained Buddhist monk, don't expect robes and chanting. The founders describe Headspace as a 'gym membership for your mind' and make use of fun cartoons & videos to explain things clearly and make meditation and mindfulness more accessible.
The app has attracted a huge following with many celebrities such as Emma Watson and Gwyneth Paltrow among its many fans.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Do you guys know about <a href="https://twitter.com/Get_Headspace?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Get_Headspace</a> ? Its an app that teaches you how to meditate. It's kind of genius x</p>— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) <a href="https://twitter.com/EmmaWatson/status/352443201136771075?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 3, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Best for: Those looking for a flexible and engaging app that helps to reduce stress and worry through meditation practices.
Note: The Headspace app is not related to Headspace Australia — the mental health foundation established by the Australian federal government to provide early interventional mental health services to youths aged 12-25 years
As its name suggests, the Calm app is perfect for those who are seeking to relax, need help falling asleep or looking to calm the nerves. It provides meditation exercises from as little as 2 minutes to 20 minutes complete with several options for peaceful sounds of nature and the soothing feminine voice of the meditation guide.
Best for: Guided meditation exercises that you can squeeze into work lunch breaks or at times of high anxiety and stress. Available in both iOS and Android. Free with paid options via In-App Purchases.
The tagline for this Self-help Anxiety Management (SAM) app is “Anxiety Management on your Mobile” which pretty much sums up what it does. Developed by a university team of psychologists and computer scientists, this mobile app offers a selection of self-help methods for people looking to manage their anxiety, asking you to rate how you’re feeling and provides a way
Best for: Monitoring your anxious thoughts and behaviour through exercises that encourage self reflection.
Available in both iOS and Android. Free.
Scientifically designed by leading experts in psychology and neuroscience, the Happify app turns 15 years worth of research into a series of activities and games, proven to be effective in reducing stress and negative emotions. 86% of frequent app users indicate an overall increase in happiness levels in just two months making this app a practical resource for improving life satisfaction.
Best for: Those seeking exercises that helps them to learn skills and habits that reduce negative thinking, improves the mood and trains the brain for positivity.
Download in iOS and Android. Free with paid options via In-App Purchases. https://twitter.com/Happify/status/718824621223624704
The PTSD Coach Australia app was created by The Department of Vet Affairs to help people understand and manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Based on the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs PTSD Coach App, the Australian version is aimed at veterans and those serving in the Australian Defence Force. The app allows users to measure the severity of their symptoms, helps them track results, assists them in managing their health appointments and provides information on treatment and support programs.
Best for: Veterans, Defence Force personnel and anyone else seeking effective tools and techniques for managing PTSD.
Available in both iOS and Android. Free.
Note: It is important to point out that these apps are intended to provide general information only. We strongly recommend you seek professional help for your individual set of circumstances.
Other related links that provide useful information:
For more information on anxiety treatment and managing post-traumatic stress disorder, contact these relevant organisations: Beyond Blue Helpline 1300 224 636 Phoenix Australia Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health 03 9035 5599 We strongly recommend speaking to your GP. A GP will be able to provide a referral to relevant specialists as required.