When I was first contacted by Thrive, a company that develops therapeutic software, my curiosity was spiked by the sheer breadth and depth their app Feel Stress Free seems to promise. Allow me to explain: having used various tools for managing stress and anxiety before, I’ve often headed down a path of declining interest, as I get stuck in a rut of repetitive activity. However, Feel Stress Free’s unique characteristic seems to be the huge variety of ways it offers for managing stress and anxiety – which have actually been created by psychologists/psychiatrists and are clinically proven to be helpful. I thought this could be a remedy for my tendency to lose that spark of interest.
The other main advantage I can see from the layout of the app is the possibility for personalising the ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, which is something I feel passionate about. I don’t think all methods work effectively for everyone, but that’s not a problem here; I picked up on five key areas of managing negative emotions that Thrive are striving to help with. I thought I’d outline these below and talk about how you can implement these things in your own life – both with and without the help of your phone.
This is an important skill for everyone to develop I think, although it can be hard and doesn’t always come naturally. We’re often taught to think about others, which is wonderful but can also mean that we struggle to keep our thoughts purely on ourselves for a while. Journaling, in any form, is a great way to practice the art of reflection, as is talking to other people about how you’re feeling. There’s a section on Feel Stress Free specifically for reflecting on your mood as well as a thought trainer bit, which teaches you how to reframe potentially negative thoughts in a more positive way.
It seems obvious, yet finding ways to relax is often overlooked on the journey of anxiety management. I wrote a post recently detailing a few of my favourite creative hobbies for reducing anxiety which could be helpful if you’re a little stuck for ideas about how to relax. Another great way to relax is by meditating: Feel Stress Free has several areas on the app that fall under this idea, from breathing exercises and mindfulness activities, to deep muscle relaxation.
One of the great things about the creative tasks I talked about above is the fact that they can act as a distraction. Taking your mind off whatever is getting to you can be surprisingly effective; one of the ways I like to do this is by getting outside for a walk. Feel Stress Free contains a good selection of engaging puzzle games which I think are pretty good for distracting yourself if that’s what you need.
I think being positive about yourself, like telling yourself how proud you are of the things you’ve done and how wonderful you are, is actually quite a scary thing for most of us. In our society we’re taught to be modest and humble; not self-obsessed or boastful. But I think this concept, taken to the extreme, can be quite damaging, especially for those of us who are a little more sensitive. Talking ourselves down all the time, even in small, subtle ways, can have a big impact on our confidence and therefore our ability to feel good about ourselves. Journaling can definitely help with this, but if you need a little boost, Feel Stress Free uses a ‘message in a bottle’ concept, which basically allows you to send/receive positive messages to/from other app users.
The last method of managing anxiety I want to cover is demonstrating self-love. This can be through simple things like taking a bath, having an early night or reading a book, or even through a slightly more unconventional way on the app – by cultivating a zen garden. You get to design a calm virtual space for yourself which is a great way to show that you will take the time to do things that are just for you.
There are so many ways to personalise and manage feelings of stress and anxiety; it’s not always easy to get on top of these things but there are options out there for combating these issues. Thrive offers a great array of choices which I think can keep you invested in helping yourself and could be a great place to go if you’re not sure where to start.
Let me know the best way you’ve found for managing anxiety in the comments below ❤
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This post was written in collaboration with Thrive. All opinions are my own.