This Study Says Mindfulness Apps Can Be Very Good for Your Mental Health
You are not alone if you are suffering from anxiety or depression, that’s a fact. Data shows that one out of every five adults in the US is suffering from anxiety, stress and/or depression. An increased consumption of technology is being blamed for breeding the chances of developing mental illnesses, especially since studies have shown the negatives of social media usage.
However, through another study, we now know that technology can also help in the efficient management of anxiety and depression symptoms through mindfulness health apps. These apps should obviously not be considered a substitute to mental health care centers. But data has shown that many people have benefited from using these apps and have improved their symptoms of depression.
Can A Mobile App Really Help You?
A recent study conducted in the University of Otago suggests that using mindfulness meditation apps can actually boost your mental health. The study was conducted on a controlled group, selected on a random basis. Subjects of the study were allowed to use mindfulness meditation apps for a total period of 10 days. According to reports received from the participants, there was a significant level of reduction in the depressive symptoms and stress levels they exhibited before the study, only within 10 days of usage.
The age range of participants was between 18 years to 49 years. The participants were randomly given access to three apps: Smiling Mind, Headspace and Evernote. Smiling mind and Headspace are meditation apps while Evernote is a non-mindful app. Each participant could use an app for only 10 minutes per day for 10 days in total. After the 10-day period expired, participants were given the choice to use the app for a further 30 days at their discretion without any compulsion.
At the end of the entire study, the results showed that while the app usage was high in the first 10-day period, it dropped significantly when participants were given the freedom to use them at their own discretion. Therefore, further research might be required to investigate the impact of reduction in usage and whether symptoms return after people curtailed or stopped using the apps.
Other factors, such as the time frame, gender, and frequency of apps usage, may also need to be adjusted to verify the results in more depth. However, preliminary evidence has clearly showed that mindfulness apps do play a positive role in reducing the level of anxiety and depression symptoms in a very short span of time. The long-term impact of their usage needs to be studied through further research.
A little synopsis of some of the mindful mental health apps used in this research can be found below.
This app has been developed by practicing psychologists and is a mindfulness meditation program which aims to boost mental health. The app is useful for people of ages 7 and above and contains helpful techniques on how users can better deal with their daily stressors and challenges. It contains audio lessons on meditation which are sequential in nature.
Lessons are based on teaching mindfulness meditation techniques, breathing exercises and calming techniques. There is also an option of measuring your performance over a period of time. You can track your session’s progress and mood changes with built-in self-reports.
Headspace app is all about meditation and is a great app for those who have always wanted to explore the benefits of meditation but have been unable to focus. Headspace is perfect for amateur meditators as it contains a complete guide right from the basics of how you can start a healthy meditation session. The app also contains useful mindfulness techniques which can help you in establishing calmness in your life. Although the app is not free, but the basics of meditation can be learned through it free of cost.
This app is basically designed to help you in organizing your life by keeping a track of your activities. You can make memos, useful notes, webpages, handwritten notes, or simply keep any photographs that you like. There is an option of creating notebooks and annotations out of data that you have created. You can also track record of edits, give comments on notes and also export or search the data.
This app is very useful in sorting your mind by categorizing everything in the form of notes and voice memos. You can review these notes later to organize your day in better way. Reviews show that this app has been very helpful in managing daily stress of activities which otherwise require a lot of attention to manage.
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