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9 Mental Health Apps You Need To Check Out

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mental health

Everyone needs a mental health day, right? How about more than a day? How about a lifestyle change? Are there mental health apps for that?

Our mental health has never been more critical and, thankfully, never been taken more seriously. Once people eventually realized that taking care of your mental state is just as important as your physical health, more and more have finally taken the necessary steps to heal. One effective and convenient method of keeping your mental health on the up and up is an app.

  1. Talkspace
  2. Moodfit
  3. MoodMission
  4. Sanvello
  5. Headspace
  6. Happify
  7. Shine
  8. notOK
  9. MoodKit

1. Talkspace

Here is the Coca-Cola of the mental health apps available. All you need to do is download the app, answer a few screening questions, pick your therapist, and then get to work. It’s an incredibly intuitive app and makes the entire process (which can be very scary for people) totally nonthreatening. 

Talkspace allows instant online chat, video, or phone with the therapist of your choice. No sitting in a waiting room, no sifting through lists of psychologists to see who accepts your insurance. Just pull out your phone and hit your therapist up for a healthy chat. 

“For the most part, we liked Talkspace’s sign-up process as it felt more personal, and we liked the opportunity to take a more direct role in choosing our therapists.”opencounseling.com

2.Moodfit

Voted Best Overall Mental Health App 2020 and 2021, Moodfit acknowledges that mental health is an extremely personal journey and that every patient requires a specified process. This app provides a customizable set of tools to make your mental health journey entirely your own. 

The app works by allowing users to select daily goals to complete and an accompanying activity that helps complete that goal. You also have a mood journal, gratitude journal, meditation and breathing exercises, sleep and lifestyle trackers, and so much more. Anything you need to take detailed notes on your mental health state. 

“This app literally feels like a miracle. 2 days into my 7 day free trial of the membership, I was sold. I can track my moods and sleep, check off daily goals (and set reminders to do them!), see trends over time and see how they correlate with other variables, record thought distortions and challenge them, ground myself back from a panic attack, practice daily gratitude, and more.”itskristint

3. MoodMission

Some of us need more convincing that taking care of your mental health is worth the effort. MoodMission provides evidence-based Missions to improve your health. For every answer the app gives there is scientifically-backed evidence to explain in full detail why it’s an effective method of therapy. 

“I realized that MoodMission would be useful for those times when I was in need of self-care but felt too busy or stressed to prioritize it. With this app, all I would need to do is take a few minutes out of my day no matter where I was.” – oktotalk.com.au

4. Sanvello

Sanvello, originally named Pacifica, was originally designed for people struggling with depression and anxiety but has since expanded to be a full physical and mental health tracker. Like many of these apps, there are meditation exercises and mood trackers of sorts. 

But, unlike the other apps, your therapist can have their own account as well. Patients can upload their information and therapists can keep track of it. This kind of collaboration between therapist and patient through an app allows for a more detailed, accurate, and measurable kind of therapy that only serves to help. 

“[Sanvello] relies on mainstream respected psychological practices: cognitive-behavioral correcting of erroneous or unduly catastrophizing or insistent thinking, mindfulness, visualizations, self-tracking, goal-setting, and the option for peer support — all for free or, with the paid version, for less than a session or two of therapy.” Psychology Today 

5. Headspace

One aspect of mental health care is quieting your mind. Anyone with anxiety would scoff at the idea of a “quiet mind.” But Headspace has tools and methods that can take even the most on-edge, anxious person and make them meditate like a Buddhist monk. 

If you’ve never tried or even considered meditation, Headspace is a great way to start. It provides users with basic instructions on mindfulness and walks them through. More advanced meditators might find this a little repetitive as the app seems to focus mostly on beginners. 

“Headspace is the best meditation app we tried. We think its more structured courses – which give you the experience of taking an in-person class, but one that you can do anywhere – will get beginning meditators started and help them maintain the habit. The app also offers short meditations for emergencies or the occasional random quiet moment. We prefer Headspace’s design too, which includes a warm interface that has fun illustrations and a well-organized library of courses.”NYTimes

6. Happify

Taking care of your mental health doesn’t have to be a depressing bore, it can be fun! Happify provides scientifically-based tasks and games that measure your emotional well-being. Think of Happify as a tool to help increase your happiness in a fun, engaging way!

Unlike a few of these other apps, Happify can be used for people as young as teenagers. Anyone who’s dealt with a depressed teenager may want to take a look at Happify as a tool to help them out. 

“Initially, I was skeptical about the use of Happify for my own personal use, but I enjoyed using this app. The features did seem too simple, but then I read the research behind each activity and found myself more engaged than I expected. My favorite part were activities which brought me forward to mindfulness.”Ellen Belluomini, Ph.D., MSW

7. Shine

Mental health journeys are undoubtedly personal. Shine knows this and aims to make your digital mental health experience as personalized as possible. With daily meditations aimed at people of all experiences, Shine helps you calm your anxiety effectively and personally. 

Shine was inspired by the lack of mental health options for underserved communities such as women, POC and indigenous peoples, and LGBT communities. These are people who, more often than not, do not see themselves reflected in mental health efforts. And so, Shine was launched to be there for people who have felt pushed to the side or cannot find a therapist who can relate to their situations. 

“Along with the audio tracks, Shine sends inspirational images and relevant educational articles through messaging. Shine also notifies the user daily for a check-in where the user types a gratitude list and self-care goal.”One Mind PsyberGuide

8. notOK

It’s okay to not be okay. One of the most difficult parts of tackling your mental health issues is admitting to yourself and others that you are, in fact, not okay. notOK aims to make that part easy for you. Like a panic button, notOK hooks you up with some immediate support.

Like Talkspace, notOK connects you with someone amongst your friends and family that you trust to talk to. When you’re having a hard time, all you need to do is push that button and whoever is in your circle will come quickly to support you. 

“One important message I’d give to parents of teens and tweens who will use this app: choose that trusted circle of friends and family together. And if your child receives a request to be in the trusted circle, make sure they’re committed (and prepared) to follow through if they receive an SOS alert.”Katie Etue, Cool Mom Tech

9. MoodKit

The one thing that you can’t find in a standard First Aid Kit are tools to help your mind. That’s where MoodKit steps in. This one of a kind app is designed to aid in your application of coping mechanisms in your mental health journey. 

MoodKit, using four integrated tools, helps you work on bringing your mood up, identify and work on unhealthy habits or feelings, keep track of your progress with a 1-10 mood scale, and allow you to keep a journal of your progress for your own peace of mind. 

“It’s like having your own portable psychologist … packed with tools designed to improve not just your mood, but also your overall well-being.” 

Whatever you choose will be based entirely on your struggles, your situation, and your goals. What’s critical is not necessarily which app you choose, but that you take your mental health as seriously as your physical health. There’s absolutely no shame in being honest about mental difficulties. You’re far better off taking that leap to better health than keeping it inside for fear of judgement. 

Mental health matters, make sure you make yours matter.

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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Business

Qista Creates Eco-Friendly Mosquito Trap

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Qista is about to save our summers. 

Mosquitos are the worst, right? Those little suckers with their high-pitched “eeee,” and their disease carrying proboscis are an offense to our skin and our moods. The females in particular violate our physical autonomy by sucking our blood and leaving us with a super itchy bump. 

Not cool, skeeter. Not. Cool. 

We cover ourselves with Off! Deep Woods (the only one that works), we have cute citronella candles, and we slap our arms and legs. But none of that seems to work. Those little suckers keep coming back. 

Until now. 

Tiger Mosquitoes Have Invaded France

Here in America, especially on the east coast, we are used to Tiger mosquitos. Immediately recognizable by their white stripes, these little buggers are great at ruining a BBQ. In France, Tiger mosquitoes have exploded in population this year. 

To combat this problem, French businessmen Pierre Belagambi and Simon Lillamand founded and created Qista. Without the use of chemicals, tiki torches, or a very quick slap, Qista creates a clever, eco-friendly trap for mosquitoes. 

No more Off Deep Woods, no more citronella candles, and no more itchy bumps. Qista is going to save our summers. 

How Does It Work?

The entire process is surprisingly simple. So simple, in fact, one wonders why Qista didn’t exist sooner. 

First, Qista disperses recycled carbon dioxide that simulates human breathing. This draws female mosquitos towards the device. Second, Qista releases an olfactory lure that mimics the human body scent that draws female mosquitoes even closer. Finally, a small vacuum sucks mosquitoes into a trap like they suck our blood. 

That’s called karma, skeeter. 

Female mosquitoes are specified because Qista ignores male mosquitoes. Rather, male mosquitoes ignore Qista. Males, bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and all other insects are not attracted to anything released by Qista. They get to continue to play their role in biodiversity. 

The combination of the trap and the consumables are what make Qista so effective. Plus, you can control the device. You can turn it on or off, check weather conditions, and see how many of those tiny suckers you’ve caught and trapped. 

If you don’t give yourself an “evil laugh moment” when observing that detail you’re missing out. 

Kill Them, Kill Them ALL!

Tiger mosquitos, originally from Asia, first entered the United States in the mid-1980s and France in 2004. They can survive a broad range of climates and spread very rapidly. They cover the entire United States and 70% of France. 

The Tiger mosquito is also an incredibly efficient vector of a variety of mosquito-borne pathogens that cause several diseases. Encephalitis, all four serotypes of dengue, yellow fever, West Nile virus, and more are all at risk when bitten by one of these buggers. 

That being said, there is currently no evidence that Tiger mosquitoes are spreading disease in the United States. But the risk is very real, nonetheless. 

These aggressive biters primarily feed during the day and lay their eggs in any container of standing water. 

Because the Tiger mosquito is so effective at reproducing and spreading, Qista may be the most effective method of combat we’ve encountered. 

We are continuously searching for clever, innovative ways to combat prevalent issues like mosquitoes. Qista is one of the smarter ideas put into practice. We are so sick of chemicals, candles, and smacking our legs only to miss. 

Thanks to Qista, it’s time to die, skeeter. Time. To. Die.

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Build A Home Gym Instead Of Going Out To Exercise—Here’s Why

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Although many are hopeful that the vaccines can help us return to the normal we once knew, the Delta variant brings a much bigger threat to everyone who steps foot outside. It’s clear that staying inside remains necessary. Fitness buffs, in particular, have paused their regular gym routines. As a result, some build a home gym to stay fit despite the ongoing pandemic. Here’s why you should do the same and know which equipment you need for your exercises.

Gym-Goers Choose to Stay Home

Despite the virus, some gyms in Texas or Indiana remain open. Mask-wearing varies depending on the state’s policies. Even with observed health and safety precautions, the risk of contracting the virus is higher when you’re exercising with others.

Plus, even if you may be protected with a vaccine and want to continue your fitness routine, you may still be at risk of getting the virus. That’s why many fitness buffs around the world express the same sentiment that it’s much better to exercise and build a home gym.

Nirbhay Metha from India says he doesn’t want to go back to commercial gyms anymore. Similarly, Ben Barbanel from the UK has also expressed his intention of never going back to the gym and relying on technology to work out. Plus, Shylah May has also been fond of home workouts, and she’ll stick to that routine.

Why It’s Better to Build a Home Gym

Well, aside from the obvious spread of the virus, building a home gym can help you save some cash and time in the long run. Run Repeat reveals that an annual gym membership charges less than $500. But it can go upwards of $950, depending on the gym.

For one, you no longer have to share gym equipment (and a shower) with other people. That thought alone keeps you safe from getting the virus or spreading it to others.

Sure, you’ll be surprised at how expensive most gym equipment is. But most quality gym equipment can last a few years. With proper use and maintenance, home gym equipment can last up to seven to ten years.

If you have a home gym, you no longer need to commute, drive, or walk to your nearest gym. Therefore, you’ll no longer have to spend a few bucks on a bus ride or gasoline for your car when you can immediately use equipment at home.

Although a trainer may not keep a close eye on your form, you can always subscribe to online exercises. Most of them will give you detailed instructions on moving properly or remind you of your form when you exercise.

Equipment You Should Have to Build a Home Gym

Before you splurge on equipment you might not even need, it’s best that you assess which ones you’ll regularly use. Think about the exercises you usually do at the gym, for example, cardio or strength training. From there, determine which equipment is best suited to complete your daily workout routine. But, if you don’t have the luxury of having an ample space to fit all of the gym equipment you need, there are space-saver options.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells won’t take up too much space in your home. You can store them by using a drawer or a sturdy rack. Examples of dumbbells you can purchase are from Core Home Fitness or BWSS. You can move up or down a weight, depending on your workout.

Price range: $299 to $499

Mat

A mat is essential to your home gym. Even if you won’t do yoga, it’s best when you do exercises lying down. Plus, it’s an alternative if you don’t have a carpet. The ones from Yoga Zeal or Lululemon are worth buying.

Price range: $79 to $145

Suspension Training System

This one has different straps, which you can use at home or on the go. You can anchor the straps on a sturdy pole or column, and you can work up a sweat with the right exercise. A highly recommended suspension training system comes from TRX.

Price: $167.95

Bike

A bike is another useful gym equipment when you want to build a home gym. It’s not bulky like most treadmills or ellipticals. And in a few minutes, you can burn a lot of calories.

Price range: $130 to $399

Treadmill

Standard treadmills do take up space, but there are some you can fold and store. Plus, you can even multitask with some treadmills that you can put under your desk while working from home.
Price range: $270 to $600

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Lifestyle

Is A Digital Detox Worth It? This Study Says No

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According to a 2019 study by Loughborough University in Britain, 24 hours of smartphone abstinence had no effect on mood and anxiety. This data flies in the face of all those lifestyle blogs encouraging people to go on a “digital detox.” If someone tries to tell you the first step to solving life’s problems is to simply log out and look around… 

…they may be full of it. 

Put the Phone Down

This is not to say that you shouldn’t take a break from the screen. The study doesn’t say, “Keep your eyes glued to your device, you sheep!” Rather, it comes to the conclusion that there’s way more to detox than just putting the phone down. 

It is very likely nonsense to say that one simple trick like switching off your phone can lead you to live a happier life,” says Andrew Prybylski, experimental psychologist at Oxford Internet Institute. 

As human beings, we’re always trying to fit together all kinds of things, like being a father, being a husband, being a professor … there’s always a balance that you have to strike.” 

There’s no question that it’s a good idea to look away from the screen occasionally. Anyone whose job requires them to stare at a laptop all day knows the physical pain that can occur right at the back of the eyes. 

You know what I’m talking about. 

We Crave Our Smartphones

The 2019 study, led by Dr. Thom Wilcockson, asked participants to place their phones in a sealed bag and leave it there for 24 hours. Psychologists then measured three variables: mood, anxiety, and craving. 

The only variable that had any effect was craving. 

The craving results indicate that, as expected, people enjoy using their smartphones and miss them when they are unavailable. However, our results indicate that it may be inappropriate to consider smartphones in the same framework as behavioral addictions as we found little evidence that they meet important behavioral addiction data,” says Dr. Wilcockson. 

There are plenty of blogs that compare an addiction to smartphones or social media as the same as, say, an addiction to alcohol or heroin. That may not only be an unfair comparison, it may be irresponsible. 

The growing popularity of ‘digital detoxes’ has been encouraged by claims that removing oneself from technology can help reduce stress and improve well-being. However, our results suggest that a short-term digital detox from your smartphone is unlikely to provide any health benefits,” adds Dr. David Ellis. 

There’s More To Detox Than Your Phone

There was a time when reading newspapers was seen as harmful to one’s personal health and damaging to society as a whole. Before that, books. Before that? I don’t know… rocks? 

There will always be voices yelling that the shiny, new thing is dangerous. That it should be cast aside for tried and true methods. In fifty years there will probably be people yelling about how we should log out of our brain chips and return to our smartphones for “good ol’ fashioned reading.” 

Moderation is key in every aspect of life. You don’t want too much of anything, or too little. Tap into your inner Goldilocks… minus the breaking and entering. 

If you have a habit you want to break, here are a few methods you can try. 

Are digital detoxes worth it? Short answer, probably not. It’s always a good idea to put the phone down once in a while. But if you’re counting on that minor lifestyle change to be the first step in a wellness adventure, you may want to try a little harder. 

Go ahead and put the phone down. Log out and look around. It’ll be good for you. But don’t pretend that lifestyle coaches know what they’re talking about.
Don’t forget, these lifestyle coaches trying to get you away from the screen are counting on you to look at their screen.

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