Top Tech to Support Mental Health at Work
The stats are stark: 15.8 million working days were lost in 2016/2017 due to poor mental health at a cost of £42bn per year for UK businesses and £99bn to the UK economy.
And this isn’t a blip: mental ill health caused 37% of workplace absence in 2015/2016 and 40% in 2016/2017.
As with many areas of our lives, technology has come to the rescue and today there are plenty of apps to help you manage your mental health.
If you’re feeling frazzled or want to proactively look after your psychological wellbeing, this blog is for you. We take a look at our favourite mental health apps.
What is Mindfulness?
Based on an abundance of research, many wellness apps use mindfulness to help users counteract stress. If you don’t know what mindfulness is, read this section. For those that do, jump straight down to our recommended apps.
The concept of mindfulness became fashionable about ten years ago. But it’s fair to say it’s not just a passing trend as research shows that it:
● amongst a whole host of other benefits.
Even the NHS approves it as an approach to dealing with anxiety.
The basic premise of mindfulness is that over-busy minds create a state of anxiety within the body. By slowing down and achieving a state of heightened awareness of the here and now, you calm the brain and place your body into a more relaxed state.
But it’s not always easy to break unhelpful habits to reach this condition. Which is why, in this age of digital transformation, many people turn to an app to help.
There are many mindfulness apps out there, each employing different approaches. Some use guided meditation while others apply stories, music or animation. Many can be used on-the-go or at work while others require you to take time out somewhere quiet.
Before we look at our three favourite apps, don’t forget that they should be used to complement rather than replace real-world health services, particularly if you are suffering from a mental health condition.
Our Top Three Mindfulness Apps
This is one of the better known and most widely used mindfulness apps. Using animations to explain the different concepts involved, you’ll learn the basics of mindfulness and meditation. All sessions are voiced over by Headspace founder, Andy Puddicombe, who left Bristol to become a Buddhist monk.
Free to download on both ioS and Android, you can test the waters with the free ’basics’ package which gives you ten days of guided meditations. This should be enough to help you decide whether to opt-in to a subscription for access to the full 550 hours of content.
In true Buddhist-meditation style, some of the content focuses on using the breath as a technique to calm the system and bring awareness to your body. The additional content centres on specific topics from pain management to anxiety and also provides emergency mini-meditations to help you deal with uncomfortable situations.
Sessions can be downloaded and used offline and you have the option to tailor the length of each session to fit the time you have available. Which makes this a highly useable app that can be used in a way that matches your lifestyle.
With over half a million downloads and a 4.3 star rating, you know The Mindfulness App is doing something right. It’s free to install and comes with a range of subscriptions starting at £2.49 per month for specific themes or £7.99 per month for the full package. You can try out the premium bundle with a free one-month trial which gives you access to over 200 meditations and courses from leading world-thinkers.
The content is based around themes like travel, sleep and mindfulness at work and the less costly subscriptions give you access to specific topics.
The free premium trial eases you in with a week-long course that asks you to spend just five minutes each day learning about mindfulness techniques. And with a range of guided and silent meditations for beginners, intermediate and the advanced there’s something for everyone.
You can also schedule daily nudges to prompt you to be more mindful and you can track your progress with the stats provided by the system.
Mindfi provides something a little different to the other apps by helping you incorporate mindfulness with every aspect of your day. Each short exercise aligns to a different part of your day like your commute, meals and breaks. It also helps you to focus better by learning how to ignore distractions which calms the brain.
Short sessions take just three minutes while long sessions take 10 minutes. There’s also the option to set a timer to help you focus for specific periods of time.
Best of all, for the workplace, none of the shorter sessions require you to shut your eyes so you can plug your headphones in and complete your mindfulness practice without disrupting your workflow.
As with the other apps featured here, MindFi is free but does include in-app purchases.
Looking for a mental wellbeing boost. Just pick the app that suits your lifestyle and goals best, take it for a free trial and decide whether you want to sign up for more. Before you know it, mindfulness will be a new part of your life and excessive stress a thing of the past.
San-iT provide business IT support across Manchester and the North West. To find out more about our services visit our website.