[Image shows 3 spoons laying on a laptop keyboard with a clipart of torn notebook paper with a red paperclip overlaying. On the paper reads “3 Helpful apps for Mental Health” with a ITunes App Store Logo in purple. At the bottom of the banner is the url for Thee Crohnie Grace Blog]
Here lately I have been struggling to keep up with my therapy journaling and have been having more meltdowns, I was able to find 2 Apps though that cover the same things I have been learning in my behavioral therapy and 1 App to help during meltdowns. So I figured I would share what they are and what they do. The names of the apps are: Moods, What’s Up, and EmergencyChat. All of them are free!
[Image shows an IPhone screen with three apps. One is a white block with 3 dots: blue, yellow, and pink that reads “Moods” below, the second App is a pink block with a black hand with a smaller hand holding it, and it reads “What’s Up” below it, and then a black box with a green circle and white chat circles that reads “Emergency…” for EmergencyChat]
In my therapy we have been talking about the importance in identifying emotions and how they can help you better identify and verbalize your concerns. Especially since with my sensory overloads, I have a hard time identifying what I am feeling until I am overwhelmed and unable to verbalize those emotions. “Moods” helps you find the words to fit your emotions.
Upon clicking on the app you will be met with a screen that asks “How Do You Feel?” with three options: good in green, okay in orange, and bad in red.
[Image shows a white screen that reads “How Do You Feel?” With three colored sections. One is green and reads “good”, one is orange and reads “okay”, and one is red and reads “bad”]
When you click one of the three options it opens up even more words!
- Good: Happy, Effective, High, Social, Elated, Energetic, Playful, Lively, Optimistic, Playful, Lively, Optimistic, Active, Walking on Air, Alert, Excited, Contented, Serene, Relaxed, Calm, Love, Untroubled, Rested, Focused, Cheerful, Safe, Fearless, Peaceful.
- Okay: Steady, Indifferent, Calm, Even, Relaxed, Neutral, Balanced, Careless, Focused, Middle-of-Road
- Bad: Pissed, Upset, Sad, Out-of-control, Unsafe, Depressed, Bloated, Lethargic, Risky, Angry, Furious, Skeptical, Doubtful, Tired, Tense, Nervous, Stressed, Bored, Fatigued, Worried, Pressured, Sleepless, Distracted, Irritable, Fearful, Panicked
It even offers some Emoji’s for if you are struggling to find words to cover how you feel which is extremely useful for neurodivergent people like me who know how they feel but can’t always find the right words, as well as you can include your own options.
Once you have selected all of your emotions you click “Continue” and it logs your mood onto a calendar. From there it gives you the option to “Add A Note” or click “No, I’m Done”. It can be helpful to write what happened before you started feeling that way, so that once you are able to go back through you may be able to identify what exactly led to those feelings. Then you can view your moods and try to track how you have been feeling.
Of course once you identify how you are feeling, it can be helpful to find exercises to help, coping strategies, information, and even some more personal things like journaling your feelings and habits (both positive and negative). And one App can do all that and more: “What’s Up?”
[Image shows a screen that reads at the top “What’s Up? Let’s Cheer You Up a Little” with four sections. The first shows hands holding and reads “Help Right Now: Everything you need to keep calm right here”, The second shows a profile face with 3 gears and reads “Coping Strategies: Thinking Patterns, Metaphors, Manage Worries & Positive Steps”, The third shows an open book with letters and numbers rising from it and reads “Information: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Self Esteem & Stress”, and the last one shows a stick figure sitting by a sprouting plant and reads “Personal: My Diary, Positive Habits, Negative Habits, My Notes”]
Starting at the beginning you can click on “Help Right Now” and it comes up with four more options: “Stop!: Right now, just take a minute to calm down”, “Get Grounded: A fun, simple game to keep you grounded”, “Breathing Control: 3 simple breathing techniques to help you calm down” and “Catastrophe Scale: Put your problems into perspective easily”.
[Image shows an IPhone Screen Snapshot that is an App that reads at the top “Help Right Now It’s Okay, You’re Safe Here” and then a hand in the stop position that reads “Stop! Right now, just take a minute to calm down. The second is a shovel digging into a pile of dirt that reads “Get Grounded: A fun, simple game to keep you grounded”. The third option is a set of lungs that reads “Breathing Control: 3 Simple Breathing Techniques to help you calm down”, and then the final one is a gauge with the pointer sticking straight up that reads “Catastrophe Scale: Put your problems into perspective easily.]
“Stop!” starts with a breathing exercise that I have been working on in therapy which includes breathing in intervals of four, then you swipe and it tells you to observe your thoughts and feelings and gives examples, then tells you to pull back and ask yourself questions to help put things in perspective, then tells you to try something that works best for you or to try the other options.
“Get Grounded” will ask you to name 5 things of a random category like “Elements”, “Gems”, “Ingredients in a Good Burger”, “Extinct Animals”, etc. And will then have 5 stars on the bottom of the silhouette image matching the category. As you think of things that fit into that category, you can click on the stars and they will spin and get slightly bigger. It will ask you to do this 5 more times. And then if you need to keep going it will let you keep going until you feel better.
“Breathing Control” offers three different breathing techniques: Belly Breathing, 4-7-8 Breathing, and Roll Breathing. It will walk you through each step of the breathing exercise.
“Catastrophe Scale” just allows you to rate your troubles from 0 being “Everything in life is perfect” to 10 being “Everything has fallen apart and it feels like it’s all your fault”. It is a good visual representation to help put things in perspective that sometimes while you might be upset, you have been through worse and you can make it through this 4 or 5.
If you would like some coping strategies then just return to the main menu and click on the section that says “Coping Strategies”. It will bring you to a section of various coping mechanisms to fit different strategies that work for different people.
[Image shows a IPhone Screenshot of an App that reads “Coping Strategies: Cope with thoughts and feelings”. It then has 4 sections. The first section shows three puzzle pieces interlocking that reads “Thinking Patterns: Identify unhelpful thinking patterns, and challenge them”. The second section shows a chat bubble that reads “Metaphors: Helpful ways to better understand your thoughts”. The third section shows a circle smiley with a unsure squiggle smile that reads “Manage Worries: 10 simple ways to help manage your worries. The fourth section has two shoe prints that reads “Positive Steps: Simple steps you can take to start feeling better”]
The first option, “Thinking Patterns”, brings up 12 different thinking patterns:
- Mind Reading: Assuming we know what others are thinking (usually about us)
- Mental Filter: When we notice only what our “filter” allows us to notice and we dismiss anything that doesn’t “fit”.
- Prediction: Believing we know what’s going to happen in the future and treating it as a certainty.
- Compare & Despair: Seeing only the good and positive aspects in others and comparing ourselves negatively against them.
- Shoulds & Musts: Thinking or saying “I should (or shouldn’t” and “I must”, therefore putting pressure on ourselves and setting up unrealistic expectations.
- Critical Self: Putting yourself down, being too critical on yourself, or blaming yourself for events or situations that are not totally your responsibility.
- Black & White Thinking: Believing that something or someone can only be good or bad, right or wrong, rather than anything in-between or “shades of grey”.
- Catastrophizing: Imagining and believing that the worst possible thing will happen in a situation, when realistically things would turn out much better.
- Emotional Reasoning: I feel bad, so it must be bad! I feel anxious, so I must be in danger.
- Mountains & Molehills: Exaggerating the risk of danger, or the negatives, and minimizing the odds of how things are most likely to turn out, or minimizing the positives.
- Evaluations & Judgments: Making judgments about ourselves, others, or things that happen when we have no evidence to back up those ideas.
- Bad Memories: Sometimes events trigger memories of being hurt in the past, leading us to believe that the danger is here and now, rather than in the past, causing us to feel down, upset, stressed, or worried right now.
With each of these, it will also include an “Ask Yourself” or “Remember” with tips or questions to help put things in perspective and break that thinking pattern.
In “Metaphors” you will see 10 different metaphors, I will not repeat those all because metaphors confuse me, and also I do not wish to spoil all the details of the app. The names of some of the metaphors though are: “Passenger on Bus”, “The Mountain”, “The Ball”, etc.
The next section is “Manage Worries” which has 10 different mechanisms for coping with worries and fears. Such as repeating your worry until you’re bored silly, breathe it out, and recognizing false alarms and many more.
The last section in coping strategies includes “Positive Steps”. The 12 positive steps given are:
- Be kind to yourself
- Exercise regularly (If you can)
- Take up a hobby and/or learn a new skill
- Have some fun and/or be creative
- Help others
- Eat healthy
- Balance sleep
- Connect with others
- Beware of drinks and drugs
- See the bigger picture
- Accepting “it is how it is”
They each go into a lot more detail, some offer questions, advice, and examples.
[Image shows an IPhone screenshot of an app that reads “Information: Learn more about the below subjects”. Then there are four sections. The first section shows an upset stick figure in a suit that reads “Anger: Learn how to better manage anger”. The second box pictures a stick figure with a scribble next to his head that reads “Anxiety: Understand and cope with anxiety”. The third box shows a stick figure sitting at a desk with a stack of papers and his head resting on the desk in a defeated manner that reads “Depression: Learn methods to cop with depression”, the last section pictured on the image is a photo of a face with shoulder length hair and a blank expression that reads “Self Esteem: Build your self esteem and self value.]
Besides Anger, Anxiety, Depression and Self Esteem, there is also Stress when you scroll down farther.
When you click on Anger, Anxiety, or Depression it will give you a bunch of different information on thoughts, physical sensations, behaviors, identifying your triggers, what to do when you feel angry, and dealing with the physical sensations.
When you click on Self Esteem it will give you the effects of low self esteem, tips on doing things differently, and thinking differently.
And when you click on Stress it will come up with things similar to Anger, Anxiety, and Depression: thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, behavior, identifying your triggers, and then doing things differently and thinking differently.
[Image shows IPhone Screenshot of an App that reads “Personal: Keep Track of What’s Going On” with four sections. The first section shows a journal and reads “My Diary: Good Days or Bad, keep track of how you feel”. The second shows a plant growing that reads “Positive Habits: Keep track of your positive habits”. The third section shows a withered up plant that reads “Negative Habits: Try and break those negative habits”. And the final section shows a clipboard with a list that reads “My Notes: Keep your ideas or suggestions organized here”.]
The next section is “Personal”, which covers a diary that you can write entries in, keeping track of positive habits and setting goals to reach new positive habits, negative habits and setting goals to break those negative habits, and notes where you can write little notes to yourself on good days to remind you of the good days.
Overall this app has a little bit of everything for everyone and is incredibly helpful. It is free, but you can make donations or buy themes to help the app developer.
The last app I want to mention is extremely helpful for those who experience sensory overloads, have sensory processing disorder, autism, or have issues with going nonverbal or not being able to communicate verbally. This app is the EmergencyChat App!
When you click on the app it will immediately pop up with this screen that reads “Meltdown: I gave you my phone because I can’t use or process speech right now, but I am still capable of text communication. My hearing and tactile senses are extremely sensitive in this state, so please refrain from touching me. Please keep calm and proceed to the next screen that has a simple chat client through which we can communicate.” and then the green option to “Continue”.
The message can be customizable, as well as the font size can be changed to be more accessible. From there you can go back and forth with just one phone typing messages back and forth until you can verbalize again.
Overall, these three apps are fantastic at applying skills taught in therapy and all available at your finger tips for free. Within just this week I have found them to be extremely helpful for identifying feelings, easy and efficient journalling, and dealing with nonverbal communication during and after meltdowns.
Hopefully they will be able to help you guys out as well!