Feeling anxious? There's a terrific app for that
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you can’t breathe? To the point that you think you’ll choke or collapse? Maybe you’ve experienced that feeling of nausea and dizziness before an exam or a difficult day at work. Perhaps you’ve found yourself hot, sweaty and shaky for no apparent reason.
Unfortunately, far too many people are familiar with these sensations, which are all symptoms of anxiety. In fact, anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, with one in four people experiencing the condition (ABS, 2008). There are many different causes of anxiety, but some have speculated that technology and social media could be contributing to poor mental health. So, who would have thought that an app could help with anxiety management?
Moodnotes is an app based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). This is a psychological treatment, involving the recognition of how thinking (cognition) and actions (behaviour) influence the way one feels, widely recommended by clinical psychologists. When you recognise unhelpful patterns, you can replace these with more positive ones and develop coping strategies. Moodnotes allows you to track your emotions using a combination of visual tools and journaling. If used on a regular basis, the app allows you to see patterns in your moods and can help you to identify behaviours or external factors which trigger anxiety. Additionally, Moodnotes has a function which shows common “Thinking Traps” and provides recommendations on how to avoid negative thought patterns. Moodnotes also gives you the option of setting a passcode to protect your information.
Whilst Moodnotes should not substitute professional therapy, it is a valuable tool for anxiety management. Even having your thoughts and emotions written down can help to reduce anxiety. Furthermore, you can bring it along to your professional therapy sessions for further discussion. Moodnotes has certainly made a difference to my mental health and has increased my self-awareness, as it’s an easy way of identifying negative thought processes.
Where else can I get help?
See your GP and ask for a Mental Health Plan
Call Lifeline at 13 11 14
Check out the beyondblue website at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or call 1300 22 4636
Find your nearest headspace centre here https://headspace.org.au/ or call 1800 650 890
Check out eHeadspace https://www.eheadspace.org.au to speak to a support worker via online chat
References: Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.