Why Apps Can Help with Stress and Pain
The nervous system typically functions at a baseline level of activity such that a certain amount of stimulation will trigger feelings of stress or pain. In cases of chronic stress or pain, the nervous system doesn't have a chance to calm down to baseline and functions at a higher level such that it takes smaller triggers to create stress or pain. This is why working with the central nervous system to reduce stress can alter the amount of pain or stress experienced.
Headspace - This app continues to lead the way in meditation, but after looking around a bit we found some others.
Balance: Meditation and Sleep - This app includes a section for improving your relationship with pain, which is part of chronic pain management.
Insight Timer - This app has a social function. Headspace does offer live group meditation, but Insight Timer also has chat capabilities to encourage community.
Non-meditation Apps for Improving Your Daily Existence
Mindfulness Bell - This app rings a ceremonial bell at set intervals throughout the day, and can also be set to random. We actually really enjoyed the random gong sound interrupting daily activities to remind us to be present. There were moments when it didn't seem random and was actually comically appropriate, but you really can't have your phone interrupting a business meeting so beware of the settings.
Breathwrk: Breathing Exercises - This app has reminders available so you can keep your efforts up all day. It also has different exercises for waking up or winding down so you can adjust how it supports you based on what you need in the moment.
I Am: Daily Affirmations - It is exactly that, simple positive messages such as "I am worthy." Positive thinking in some way, shape, or form is widely studied and implemented. Most people can benefit from a self esteem or motivation boost.
Fabulous: Daily Self Care - This is an approachable and not pretentious app to engage in habit tracking, goal setting, and self love. It includes custom mood fixes to give suggestions for sluggishness, rushing, overwhelmed, and unproductive.
Focus @ Will - This is a subscription music service operating under the premise that certain music can help you concentrate. There is a fair amount of research supporting this, and this app also has some beta stations that might even support concentration in those who struggle with ADD or ADHD.
Results May Vary
Self care is important, as is seeing licensed providers regularly. We hope you enjoy our pick of apps and if nothing else you have taken away a sense of permission to download something that just might help you feel better. How often you open that app is up to you, so don't forget to make regular time for your wellbeing. If you fall out of habit, just love yourself and get back into it.