Integrating Technology into Mental Health

There are plenty of ways that technology can interfere with feeling well. Scanning through Instagram or Facebook may impact your self-esteem; Twitter is full of arguments and provocations; and streaming channels can lead to binge watching and not getting enough sleep. However, there are also some great options for reducing stress and reconnecting to yourself.

Apps

Breathe

The Breathe app is useful for when you're feeling overwhelmed and could use some help slowing down, pinpointing how you're feeling, and then mindfully managing your emotions. The app directs you to pause, check in with yourself physically and emotionally, note how you're feeling in the app, and then choose from a selection of recommended mindfulness exercises, such as engaging in mindful breathing or engaging with your senses.

There are many free meditations, as well as additional meditations you can access with with a monthly membership.

notOK

The free notOk app was developed by two teens in response to one of them really emotionally struggling as a result of bullying. It's a good fit for when you need to connect to someone you trust, but you're not sure what to say. In a moment of crisis, you can simply push a button in the app and a "trusted contact" will receive a text letting them know you need their help. The website for the app even includes a page for trusted contacts to help them understand how best to respond to you.

This is a good fit for when you just really need to talk. If you're worried that you cannot keep yourself safe, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Virtual Hope Box

This free app was developed by the VA and is truly all encompassing. There are options for storing meaningful images and songs that you would like to connect with during tough moments. If you simply need a distraction, the app also includes games like Soduko and word searches. There are several options for guided meditations. It also includes a section to store phone numbers of people you may want to call if you are needing additional support.

Walking Meditation

Walking home from the metro? Going for a hike? Simply need to get out of the house for a bit? This app provides a guided walking meditation to help you let go of distractions and simply connect with the experience of walking. Useful for when you simply want to connect with where you are right in this moment.

Blogs/Websites

MARC UCLA

UCLA's mindfulness research program offers a list of free meditations. They vary in length from 3-13 minutes and have been developed to specifically help you unwind and reconnect with yourself. You can easily save the link to this page on your phone and bring it up whenever you need it.

The Mighty

Feeling isolated in your personal struggle? The Mighty offers posts from others who are also doing their best to manage their moods, their pasts, their self-harm urges, and their emotional pain. You may find that some articles don't quite click with your perspective or experience, but it can be a good starting point to get additional perspectives and tips on ways to move forward.

Streaming

Be Free: Release Stress and Anxiety

If you're looking for a longer meditation or one specifically to help you relax into sleep, the two meditations on this album tend to be very helpful. Dr. Friedmann is a hypnotherapist and his soothing voice and use of imagery have been a good fit for many of my clients. You can stream them for free if you have Amazon's unlimited music service or purchase them for $7.99.

YouTube

ASMR

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a relaxing sensory experience brought on by listening to quiet, everyday sounds. YouTube is filled with channels of people creating ASMR triggers by whispering or creating quiet and repetitive sounds, This option is definitely not for everyone, but quite a few of my clients have found it helpful.

Yoga with Adriene

YouTube has a variety of options when it comes to exercise or relaxation. One channel I often tell my clients about is Yoga with Adriene. Her emphasis is on body positivity and "finding what feels good" rather than trying to reach a specific fitness goal. She also focuses quite a bit on breathing and the mind-body connection. Her videos are also pretty short, varying from 7-50 minutes. The channel has literally hundreds of videos, but some good options include Yoga for Anxiety (16 minutes), Yoga for Self Love (50 minutes), and Yoga for Bedtime (19 minutes).

Have you tried any of these options or have additional suggestions? Reach out and let's talk.