Comfort: A Click Away

Before I get started I would like to let anyone reading know that the apps I’m going to talk about can only be found on iPhone and other Apple devices. Each one, that I took notice to, said it was If any of you are Android and would like similar apps, please email me and I will be more than willing to help you out: bridgette@thepulpzine.com



Earlier this summer I had a really bad anxiety attack and could not calm down no matter how I breathed or what I thought about. The time period in which this attack lasted dragged out severely in comparison with the others. Each time I thought it had ended, I found myself in a panic once again.

Desperate to calm down I tweeted, called, texted; just looking for someone to help me through the uncontrollable frenzy that was going on. The feelings of impending doom and gloom were unjustified and not being able to identify the cause for panic only caused my panic to increase. I began to read articles, hoping for suggestions on how to handle attacks that cannot be contained simply with recommended breathing or thought redirection, but because I didn’t know what triggered the attack (or any of the others, really) it was hard to find a method that was fitting.

Eventually I ended up looking into apps that are helpful for people with anxiety or other similar disorders, or just good for creating a calm environment. These apps are for everyone! Even if you don’t have anxiety, you can still enjoy them.

Featured image by Mary K. Cantrell

Featured image by Mary K. Cantrell

For those who may not know much about anxiety, I’ve round up some statistics. Anxiety disorders are the leading mental illness in the United States at this time, taking up 18% of the population. While these disorders are treatable, 66% of people suffering don’t get treatment. Things that are said to help with anxiety can vary from person to person in effectiveness – like music, for example. One genre may be a go-to for someone having a panic attack while that same genre could be the cause in another. It also isn’t uncommon for someone with anxiety to also be experiencing depression or vice versa.

GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) affects 3.1% of the population (6.8 million adults) and is more likely in a woman than a man. Panic Disorder is equally common in both genders, generally begins around age 13, and is found in 6.8% of the population (15 million people). While people tend to make jokes about phobias – like arachnophobia, for example – specific phobias are a serious anxiety-related illness. Specific Phobias affect 8.7% of the population (19 million people). Like GAD, phobias are more likely in women. The median age is typically 7 years old. Closely related to anxiety disorders – which some may experience at the same time alongside depression – are Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Equally common in men and women, OCD is found in 1.0% of the population (2.2 million people), and while most common in adults ages 19 and older, 25% of cases occur by age 14. While PTSD is almost always spoken when having to do with war, other traumatic events can cause it. Childhood sexual abuse is a strong element in predicting PTSD, with 45.9% of women who have been raped developing the disorder. 3.5% of the population have PTSD (7.7 million people).

Keep in mind that these apps are suggestions meant to help, but are not guaranteed to. If you feel that they may cause you greater panic and anxiety, I would advise you refrain.

432 Player, download here.

432player

 

Most music is played in the tune of 440hZ, but 432hZ is the natural vibration of the universe and body, which is why it is found to be so calming and energising. An easy fix for those who don’t have the time to or know how to convert their music, this app can be downloaded. I find music in the tune of 432hZ to be quite calming in comparison with the same songs played in the tune of 440hZ. As music varies as a trigger and factor of control for my anxiety, I can’t really say for sure that this would always help but it has definitely helped nearly every time I’ve used it as a method for calming down during an attack. I love this app both when I am in a state of panic and going about normal business. This app is not anxiety-specific, but rather something I’ve found to help me.

Relax Melodies, download here.

relaxM

While downloading apps in a frenzy, this one caught my eye and turned out to be really good. I have the free version of the app which displays an ad across the bottom of the screen, so I haven’t really used all of the features available in the app. Though I have primarily used this as an aid in falling asleep and pushing myself back into a dream if I feel myself waking up, the binaural beats are fantastic for during the day. Both the relaxation and concentration beats are calming. Scrolling up the sound screens, I found a cool feature that allows you to play pre-made tracks – and edit them before you add them to your favourites if you fancy. This was one of my favourite features of the app. I also noticed that the app didn’t drain my battery as much as other music apps have, which is a bonus, so I will most likely invest in the premium version. This app isn’t necessarily anxiety-specific, but is similar to android apps for anxiety.

Sleep Time, download here.

sleeptimer

Again, I’ve been using the free version. Or used, I should say. Do not use this app with your device charging or if you device overheats when sitting on a mattress or covered. A recent news story caught my eye because of this very app, and taught me something that could save my life. The only times I’ve used this app is when I’ve slept at night. This is the only time I charge my phone, and because of that I’ve made the choice to stop using the app. In a week of use, however, I discovered that my sleeping patterns were really irregular when it comes to light sleep and deep/REM sleep. Clicking on the stats gives you the percentages for total sleep, which is really helpful for nights you get a full amount of sleep. Lack of sleep is said to be a cause of anxiety, but this app is not anxiety-specific, but rather an aid to let you know if your sleeping pattern is irregular.

SAM, download here.

sam

Created by the University of the West of England, this app is exceptional in helping to understand and manage anxiety. SAM is my favourite app for anxiety information, help, and in the moment relief by far. The app allows you to log your anxiety in the moment and access different types of small exercises for immediate help. The other self-help options are relatively short as well, but nothing exceeds 30 minutes. By logging your anxiety as it happens or as often as you remember, the app creates a chart of how your anxiety rises or falls over time. You can also keep track of specific things that make you anxious, which is helpful if they are time-specific and you know when you might next experience that specific thing. Of the anxiety-specific apps, this is one that I feel actually helps in more ways than just to calm one down. (Levels above do not reflect my personal feelings of anxiety charts.)

End Anxiety, download here.

endanxiety

There are many hypnosis apps for those with anxiety, but this one is in a female voice that I find sounds more like an actual person than a computer generated voice. Because of this, I really enjoy the app itself. Because I have the free version, nearly all of the features are disabled (including the hypnotic booster). The audio included is about 35 minutes long which is really good for a long-term self treatment. The creators of the app also offer other apps for hypnosis such as self-esteem boosting, depression relief, and a quit smoking version. This is an app I’ll definitely be getting the pro version of once I decide that I have the time to use it consistently.

There are a few other apps I’ve used that I felt were extremely similar, but less nice than the ones above or that I just didn’t use too often:

  • (I Can) Be Fearless, download here.
  • i-Qi timer, download here.
  • Anxiety Free, download here.
  • Pranayama Breathing, download here.

If you’ve seen the tumblr post about inhale 7, exhale 11 with the signal boost for those with anxiety, the Pranayama Breathing app is something I found similar. It’s more advanced and allows you to set an inhale, exhale, and even a sustain time and shows you in a live circle where to do each. Since I only used it once for a short time, I can’t say how it helps during an attack. For those of you that may like meditation and breathing exercises, this would definitely be an app to try!

Obviously these apps haven’t cured my anxiety, but they create a start to helping me control my anxiety. Further health issues add to stress that may have something to do with my anxiety, so I must recommend that anyone reading this take into consideration their health as a whole. If you feel the need to check with your healthcare professional before using any of these apps, please do. And, as always, if any of you ever want to talk feel free to contact me via provided email!

1 Comment

  1. Tessa · August 13, 2014

    Loved this! I think I’m going to have to try some- especially the sleep one, because my sleeping patterns are basically non-existent…