Stress is much talked about nowadays and little is done to actually cope with it. We all seem to have heard of it, but do we really know the meaning behind it? Do you know when you are stressed? What symptoms of stress have you developed? Are you able to deal with it and how? If you don’t have ready answers to these questions, then do read this text.
“Stress accounts for as much as 75-90% of both psychological and physiological conditions”
– said Dr Lehan Stemmet (Auckland Institute of Studies, New Zealand) during his speech at this year’s edition of the Sector 3.0 Festival. That’s a pretty alarming statistic. So, we really need to act to reduce stress, not just talk about it. We have a bunch of useful information for you, as well as five apps that may come in handy for these efforts.
What is stress and how can we recognize it?
Stress can be defined as feeling that a certain situations or emotions overwhelm us. Usually when faced with a stressful situation, we think, ” crap, I won’t do it,” but very rarely do we say it out loud – perhaps out of shame, but more often probably because we are unaware of the stress itself. However, to deal with it effectively, we need to know when and in what situations it starts to nag us.
Both the causes and effects of stress are individual issues – they will be different for everyone. Sleep issues, irritability, rowdiness, or panic attacks that accompanies daily activities are just some of the symptoms of stress. A stressed individual “detaches” themselves from reality, often feels crushed and loses self-confidence, which may eventually put them in great trouble in their daily functioning, at work, and in their interactions with other people.
It takes a degree of self-reflection to be able to recognize stress and the factors that cause it. This is especially true since, unfortunately, we’re used to keeping stress inside and not admitting that it’s bothering us. It is self-reflection that underpins the process of building mental resilience, a shield that will enable us to face stressful situations with our heads held high and immunize us from stress in the future.
What is mental resilience and why should you develop it?
Mental resilience is our ability to cope with difficult situations, anxiety, stress or pressure – a concept that Dr. Stemmet also addressed and discussed in his speech. Mental resilience is the ability to say to yourself, “cool, I can do it” regardless of external factors, such as your financial situation, personal situation, or an ongoing pandemic.
Mentally resilient people know that difficult situations are part of life, but they are able to accept them and see them as challenges or opportunities. They can work quite effectively under time pressure, consistently strive to achieve their goals and they do so confidently and with peace of mind. At work, they focus on performance, and in their daily lives and relationships they move forward with their heads up.
The good news is that mental resilience can be improved. Stress coping techniques will be a useful tool here. I also refer you again to Dr. Lehan Stemmet’s talk, who also gives hints about what is important in building mental resilience. We, on the other hand, decided to check what technologies can further support us in this process. Here you”ll find five very different apps that are to assist you in building mental resilience.
5 apps to help build mental resilience
Driven is a virtual mental resilience coach. The application is built on a complete resilience training course based on the PR6 methodology, i. e., a predictive model based on six resilience indicators. The first step you take in your application is to complete a test to assess your level of mental resilience, on the basis of which you will be set further course objectives.
The application provides knowledge in a structured manner – users move through the course modules, which activate as they progress through the subsequent stages. On the plus side, you learn by communicating with a bot, not just by reading plain or “dry” texts. In addition, every day Driven asks about our mood, which can help us understand the causes of stress.
Smiling Mind is first of all a mindfulness app, but it also features a special routine to help reduce stress levels with a dedicated meditation series as well. If you are feeling stressed and considering meditation to relieve that stress, you will like this app. You can use it to decide when you want to meditate, and it will remind you to meditate every day at the time you choose, helping you build good habits.
On top of that, Smiling Mind asks you how you feel every day, helping you build self-awareness towards emotions and stressful situations. Smiling Mind also offers other short routines, such as those that improve sleep quality or make it easier to get through difficult situations, so they can also be supportive in stressful situations.
Dr. Lehan Stemmet also said that in dealing with stress, it is important to be able to see the bigger picture and not just look at the particular situation you just found yourself in. A stressed out individual usually doesn’t do this – instead, they spend hours thinking about what is stressing them out. Grateful is an app that can be a perfect getaway for an over-pensive head.
It functions like a diary, with daily questions being asked, such as:
- What made you smile today?
- What are you thankful for today?
- What made you laugh today?
Answering these positive questions for yourself on a daily basis will help everyone change their perspective a bit and think more positively regardless of the situation. Most importantly, it will help us see what is really important in our lives.
Developed by the University of Melbourne, The Resilience Project aims to promote good practice in mental health care in order to make people happier and more resilient in the face of life’s difficulties. The app was developed primarily for primary and secondary school students, but it is also popular in Australia in other environments: among employees of large companies, athletes or individual users.
The app helps strengthen mental resilience by regularly monitoring users’ well-being. It prompts users to monitor their well-being on a daily basis, thus improving their emotional self-awareness. It also features breathing and mindfulness practices and an emotion diary. With a simple interface and icons, the application is easy to use and does not consume much of our time.
Aetheria (Android/iOS, bezpłatna)
Aetheria is an app created by Amanda Southworth, who was also a keynote speaker at the Sector 3.0 Festival of 2021. It is dedicated to individuals who already have been diagnosed with mental conditions such as neurosis, anxiety or depressive states, which are often triggered by stress (Aetheria supports 20 diagnosed mental disorders). If you know that your stress level is already a very severe problem, you can support yourself with this app.
Aetheria encourages self-reflection through a series of questions about your personality traits and daily well-being. In the latter case, it also enables an assessment of the intensity or magnitude of sensations/emotions, which provides users with an in-depth understanding of the underlying stress and of themselves. It also offers assistance in developing crisis action plans or facing negative emotions so that you can deal with them more effectively.
The application is free and available on iOS.
Please remember that apps will never replace specialist medical counseling when it comes to mental illness. If this affects you or someone close to you, make sure you get proper treatment.