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‘Stress-relieving apps can never replace therapists’

In this era of smartphones, we have a multitude of apps that claim to provide a solution to get rid of stress and make us feel contented.

Published: 24th March 2020 10:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2020 10:09 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: “What is this life if, full of care,We have no time to stand and stare” go the opening lines of the poem ‘Leisure’ by WH Davies. Indeed, today, one word can be used to describe the way many of us pass our days – chaotic. Be it a student or an employee or a businessperson, the list of things to do never seem to stop. Inevitably, the pressure takes a toll on our lives, and most of us feel stressed and exhausted by the time we hit the bed.

In this era of smartphones, we have a multitude of apps that claim to provide a solution to get rid of stress and make us feel contented. From a long-term perspective, are they really effective? City-based clinical psychologist Dr Radhika Acharya says, “Stress is an emotional response to a particular situation. Every person’s emotional response may be different. In mild cases of stress, apps may help in providing relief. For effective results, it is always advisable to consult a psychologist.”

Dr Purnima Nagaraja, a city-based psychiatrist and psychotherapist, points out, “Apps offer anonymity. Some people might prefer them, instead of going to a therapist. Apps offer a community type of bonding between individuals. However, it is not enough. People need to reach out and communicate to other human beings.”

Why are such apps so popular? “Apps offer a short-cut method and instant solutions to issues. Moreover, even today, there is a lot of stigma and fear associated with mental health. However, a trained therapist will never put a label on a patient or stigmatise him/her,” informs Dr Purnima.

A few stress-busting apps

  • Calm: True to its name, the app seeks to make one calm through their guided meditations, breathing programmes, masterclasses, music and more.
  • MindShift: The app reportedly uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful. Its features include CBT-based tools, a thought journal, coping cards, belief experiments and more.
  • Colorfy: With this app, you can feel like a kid again as you colour pictures of mandalas, florals, animals and patterns. Mandalas are a great way to reduce stress and make one feel better.
  • Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep: The sounds of birds chirping, ocean waves, rainfall in a forest, sounds in a jungle, etc. would immediately make us forget our worries, right? This app does just that.
  • Fabulous: Daily Motivation: This science-based app claims to make you discover mindfulness and reduce anxiety. Its features include Zen and Vipassana meditation, deep work and power nap sessions, Yoga exercises and more.
  • HaikuJAM: Originating from 17th century Japan, Haiku is a popular form of poetry, whose English form has a 17-syllable structure arranged in a 5-7-5 pattern, across three lines. In this app, you write a line, and strangers across the world will add the other two lines for you to write a poem!
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