Anxiety? There’s an App for it!

Don’t have a lot of time to address anxiety? If you have a smart phone, you are in luck, because as far as anxiety is concerned, there are many many apps for it! Here is a review of some of my favorites:

Breathe2Relax – Free (iPhone or Android)

This is a free app created by The National Center for TeleHealth and Technology. According to them, this app is “a portable skill rehearsal tool for practicing diaphragmatic breathing.” Even though we’ve been breathing since the day we were born, many of us develop breathing habits that can actually increase the experience of anxiety. Practicing proper breathing techniques is a great way to start decreasing anxiety.

Universal Breathing by Saagara – Free (iPhone or Android)

This is another free breathing app that offers more variations on breathing techniques. It also tracks the amount of time you spend practicing. If you have practiced breathing in yoga or meditation classes this is likely a good one for you.

Buddhify – $1.99 (iPhone or Android)

Does the idea of meditation fill you with more anxiety? This guided app makes for a gentle way to experiment with meditation.  Using short guided meditations for everything from walking to work to trouble sleeping to working online, this app offers a practical way to try meditating.

Relax Melodies – Free (iPhone or Android)

Anxiety often makes it difficult to relax which can make it difficult to fall asleep. This app offers soothing sounds and white noise to help the mind and body unwind.

Worry Box—Anxiety Self-Help – Free (Android only)

Not everyone likes to keep a journal, but there is lots of research to support the benefits of writing down our thoughts. This app allows you to write down your thoughts and asks you questions to help evaluate different aspects of those thoughts.

Do you have any favorite apps? Please leave us a comment and let us know!

The Power of Thank You

Do you know what your partner most wants to be thanked for?  Do you let your loved ones know what sort of recognition is most important to you?

In this 3 min TedTalk Laura Trice discusses the importance of asking for and giving thank yous.

Can you Make Friends with Anxiety?

People often worry about the impact stress and anxiety may have on their health. In this TedTalk Kelly McGonigal, a Health Psychologist, offers a different perspective.

What might change if you make friends with stress and anxiety?

One of the Biggest Communication Pitfalls

One of the biggest communication myths that leads to a lot of unnecessary pain is the belief that if somebody really loves you then you shouldn’t have to tell them what you want or need.

For example: If you loved me I wouldn’t have to ask you_______________ (to say I love you, for your help, to plan a date, etc).

Some people hold the belief that if they have to ask for what they need or want from their partner than somehow it doesn’t count.  Not only does it not count, their partner’s inability to anticipate and respond to their unvoiced needs is interpreted as a sign that their partner doesn’t really love them or that something is wrong with their relationship.

This belief can lead to a lot of suffering for both partners.

Part of creating a healthy relationship is the ability to both recognize and voice our own needs and wants. This isn’t always an easy thing. Sometimes we aren’t even sure what we want or need and try to outsource it to our partner to figure out. Making requests for what we want can also lead to feeling vulnerable, not feeling like we have a right to ask for what we want, or being scared of hearing a negative response.

A great resource for exploring request-making for wants and needs is Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

Experiment: take a moment to think about your current relationship or past relationships. Can you see any areas where it may be hard to identify or ask for what you need/want from your partner? What are some of the thoughts or beliefs that might be acting as barriers?

Do You Allow Yourself Enough Time for Change?

I started practicing with a new yoga teacher a couple months ago. He focuses on making sure the body has a solid foundation before building into more advanced poses. Since I started we have focused a lot on my feet. That’s right. My feet. For 2 months now.

It got me thinking about how easy it is to be impatient with change, to expect instant results. Our minds often want us to be 100 steps ahead of where we are and it creates a lot of suffering. All the different stories we have about ourselves with change: if I was really__________(smart, good, able, etc), than I would be able to______________(be relaxed, do a handstand, be an expert, etc) right away or at least in very short order. What a set up!

So back to my feet.

If it has taken 2 months to make changes in my feet and they are still a work in progress, what a journey it is to change a much less concrete area like anxiety. Now that doesn’t mean that it takes forever, but it does mean cultivating patience and space for change to happen.

Just because we have an idea about how we would like to change doesn’t mean we should be able to do so at the snap of our fingers. Change is a long game; and neuroscience research backs this up. Time is essential for the brain and nervous system to rewire itself.

What sort of stories do you tell yourself about feeling anxious and not just being able to make it go away? What are the judgements and critical voices you have when you try something like mindfulness and your anxiety doesn’t shift immediately?

Delicious Ambiguity

Gilda Radner says it so well!