Smartphones have a reputation for zapping our mental health, and while this might be the case when it comes to social media and comparison culture, there are some apps that can actually make you feel happier.
Whether your worries about the future are spiralling out of control or the new Covid restrictions have simply led to burnout, your smartphone can be a vital tool in getting you closer to your best. Think of it like a therapist you might otherwise not be able to afford.
Here are a handful of clever digital tools to help you find more joy this winter…
Developed by a team of scientists who have been studying positive psychology and CBT for decades, this mood-boosting app uses evidence-based daily activities and games to help gently lift your spirits.
A free version of the app comes with 13 free meditation tracks that explore how to better cope with stress, calm anxiety, conquer negative thoughts, defeat loneliness and improve relationships and friendships. There’s also a news feed with uplifting stories and an active online community to share your worries with, too.
Stress and anxiety can quickly make us feel under the weather and studies have found that meditation can be a useful tool in combatting the problem.
If you have no idea where to start with the ancient Buddhist practice, apps can be really helpful, and Headspace is a great tool to have on-hand for moments where you need to slow down.
It contains short, emergency meditations for pacifying panic, anxiety, or stress, and longer guided meditation courses that address happiness, as well as motivation and work stress longer term. There are also lots of handy meditations for children too.
3. Stop, Breathe and Think
Stop, Breathe And Think is a handy app that nudges you to check in with your breath during moments of stress and anxiety throughout the day, helping you stop worries about future events from snowballing.
Each time you check in with the app, you’ll be asked to rate your mood, so it can suggest a menu of helpful mindfulness exercises for your day. As you continue recording your emotions with each visit, it tracks your mood over time, helping you identify patterns in your behaviour.
Being happy isn’t just random luck of the drawer; the creators of SuperBetter say it’s a skill that all of us can harness and improve, no matter our economic situation.
Once you sign up, the app will gameify getting you towards your happiness goal. You can level up, get power ups, go on quests, make allies and fight ‘bad guys’ to play your way to a more positive mindset. As you progress, you’ll earn points in different categories, like mental, emotional, social and physical resilience.
If the sound of ocean waves gently lapping at a shore takes you to your happy place, Portal is the app for you. This beautifully designed piece of tech is like a hug in an app, and transports users all around the world, sharing some of the most soothing sounds and visuals from nature.
You could take your mid-morning coffee break with the sound of the rain in the Julian Alps or chill out in the bath alongside the crackle of a log fire. Either way, it definitely beats overhearing your partner on another work Zoom call.