Sweat drips across your forehead, your heart is racing and you are overtaken by an overwhelming sense of unease. Breathing has become a challenge, like you’ve forgotten how and your gut is telling you to abort mission.
Welcome to the fight or flight response. This is a physiological reaction developed to heighten your senses and alert them to danger.
Threat, or perceived threat, activates the body’s sympathetic nervous system, releasing adrenaline so we can escape from, or tackle threats to our safety. This is a logical response when you are in the wild and dealing with a bear. But what if there is no bear, and this is how you feel all day?
At present around 3 million people in the UK suffer from anxiety. These disorders are characterised by feelings of nervousness and panic which can manifest throughout the day, in social situations and at work.
If you are experiencing severe anxiety or panic attacks, see a doctor or consider speaking to a therapist. However, if you are more on the mild to moderate scale, having some tools to manage your condition, can be life changing. All these are available to access on the go, from your phone and most are free too.
This app is recommended by the NHS and involves creating music to reflect your mood. Described as a “musical journal, you create yourself”, Cove believe therapy of self-expression can greatly improve your mental health. The music is calming and personalised. So it can be helpful if you are struggling to put your feelings into words.
Mindfulness meditation has proven to be helpful to sufferers of anxiety. The focus here is on slowing down and observing. This can reduce racing thoughts and bring on a state of peace.
This meditation app has an “on the go” section as well as specific meditations to use to combat your anxiety. Many are as short as 5 minutes, so are perfect for beginners and for slotting into your day. Over 12 hours of content is available for free, without a subscription.
Designed by therapists, this app is useful for those dealing with depression and anxiety. It is unique, in that the app will test your mood, and send you a report, after only two weeks of usage. This can not only aid you to understand your own feelings but make any further conversations with friends, or professionals flow better.
Moodpath also provides 150 psychological exercises and videos to strengthen your mental resilience.
Break the cycle of worry with this positive psychology programme. Combining relaxation tracks, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ) principles and techniques used by Olympic athletes, this app will help to calm your mind. Other benefits include a reduction in low moods, increased concentration and a better night’s sleep.
This free app is designed to help you to manage your anxiety with a range of self-help techniques. Created by experts from the University of West England, who realised many students were suffering, but not seeking help.
The app allows you to understand what triggers your anxiety, as well as providing tools to manage it when it arises. The Social Cloud feature allows users to share their experiences anonymously with others in the SAM community.
Shallow and restrictive breathing is a common symptom when anxiety hits. If you feel this is coming on, slow down the episode with breathing techniques. Breathe2Relax calls itself a ‘portable stress management tool’. It uses diaphragmatic breathing to reverse the body’s fight or flight response and stabilize your mood.
It can also be combined with HealthKit and your Apple Watch to measure your heart rate throughout the breathing exercises, so you can clearly identify the benefits.
My Possible Self
My Possible Self is a plan that promises to help you to feel better in 8 weeks using CBT, problem solving therapy and more. Complete an initial assessment and then the app will identify modules to suit your needs.
Relevant modules include Managing Fear and Anxiety, Building Happiness and Wellbeing and Managing Stress and Overload.
Sometimes nothing can beat just talking to someone. 7 Cups allows you to talk to a trained active listener instantly or arrange online therapy with a professional. Everything is kept confidential and users can even search for listeners based on life experience or affiliation.
Chat rooms and community forums are available for those who want to connect with others for more support.