We all have routine stress that effects everyday life. Some stresses are easy to let roll off our backs and others stick with us. Without positive coping strategies in place our stress levels can begin to rise. Research illustrates that stress in North America has become a 300 billion dollar industry per year. This is largely due to the physical and mental toll that stress plays on the human body. “Stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety”. Research also shows young adults spend an average of 5 hours a day on their phones. You can find anything on your phone but surprisingly many don’t know there are apps for coping with stress.
I frequently ask in therapy sessions what my client’s current coping strategies are. Sometimes of their answers are great, like “I like to exercise…doing crossfit helps me burn off the stress of the day” or “I go for walks.” Other clients identify time with their kids, spouse or friends helps them feel less stressed. Others like to read or write. The list of coping skills is endless and yet, some clients reply, “I don’t have any.”
While exercise, going for a walk, connecting with friends or working on your garden are all great ways to help you cope, what do you do when you can’t sleep and its the middle of the night? Or what coping strategies are accessible when you are stuck in traffic? In order to have an accessible coping strategy with you at all times, I’ve researched the best 4 Apps for coping that are out there (free on the App Store):
Stop Breathe & Think:
When you open the app it asks you to “check in” with yourself and push the start button. The second step shows a diagram of a person and says “I’m physically…” giving you options to choose how you are feeling – from great down to rough. The next step asks how you are mentally. What I like about this app is you can then choose from a large pool of emotions, picking up to 5, that helps narrow down appropriate coping strategies. Lastly, click the emotions you feel and click “See Results”. The app will then provide results based on your answers. This is one of my favorite apps for coping with difficult emotions. Bonus – there is also a kids version of the app!
Simple Habit- Meditation:
This app considers itself the best app for coping designed for busy people. When you are on the go, the app will allow you to chose from options “tough day”, “at work”, “commute” or even “SOS”. Simple Habit will then provide you a 5 minute meditation that is appropriate for your current location and where you are at in your day. It’s quick and easy!
Virtual Hope Box:
The great thing about Virtual Hope Box is the versatility is provides. It gives you 4 choices from “Distract me”, “Inspire me”, “Relax me”, or “Coping Tools”. This app is a great resource for when you are feeling overwhelmed and need a “pick-me-up”. It offers puzzles to help you unwind. Through this app, there is access to meditations, controlled breathing, and problem solving “coping cards.”
My Coping Plan:
If you have been to therapy you may have already established a coping plan. This app for coping organizes everything you need to cope with stress in one place. You can fill in your coping plan by listing “Things I can do on my own”, “People I can spend time with”, or “People I can call”, when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. My favorite part of this app is it includes an “Emergency” section providing you resources when life seems too overwhelming.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needing help to cope with stress or other difficult emotions such as anxiety or depression, reach out for help and find healthy ways to cope. While apps for coping can be useful and handy tools they are not intended to replace support or therapy.
If your or anyone you know is experiencing severe or long-term, unrelenting stress, please reach out for help. If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone and all calls are confidential.