Looking back over my thirty something years on this planet I am not sure a day has gone by where something hasn’t caused me stress. As a child there are problems to be solved and new skills to be learnt. The world is a much smaller place but it has it’s own trials to get through. School adds another stress. I liked school mostly (I was one of those odd ones!) but it did cause stress. Exam stress, homework stress, course work stress…. boy stress! Then ‘life’ kicks in and there are bills to pay; working weeks to get through. The things causing our stress may change over time but there is always going to be something. It is the way that we learn to cope with these stresses that can make all the difference. Thrive is a new app and its goal is to help you feel less stressed, to feel happy and able to find a way to cope with everything life throws at you.
The ethos behind the app is mindfulness. This is a concept I only heard of this year, I am a little slow to the party. Initially I though it was just another way for Yogi’s to make money but after a little research and chance to explore this app I can see how it is one of the most valuable things we can learn to do for ourselves.
Thrive: The App
The app starts by asking you to scale your mood. From there is gives you a choice of options to select to help you analyse why your mood lands on that part of the scale. It helps to really hone in on what is on your mind, good or bad. With this step complete the app offers suggestions of which mindful exercises to complete for the day. This mood meter can be repeated through out the day if you would like.
There are four possible exercises to complete; Breathing, Meditation, Deep Muscle and Self Suggestion. Before each exercise begins the app offers a short explanation of what it is and you can read more about the benefits and how the exercise helps. Within Mediation there are further options including a mindful walk, mindful body scan and meditation.
You are walked slowly through each exercise by the calming female voice, the little cartoon figure and the gentle sounds of waves lapping at a sandy shore.
All of these are simple to complete and some can be done within two minutes so if you know you don’t have the time to get involved in a deep meditation there is still something you can do to help you feel calmer.
The Zen Garden is one of my favourite parts of the app. You can make your own zen garden within the app. It doesn’t matter how long you need you could spend 2 minutes or 20 minutes on designing your garden if you needed. Your progress can be saved for you to continue later on. This is a proven way to relax.
Within the app there is a section called “Wellbeing”. This section offers more in depth help and advice around common factors that causes us stress emotionally and physically. Some of the subjects covered include improving sleep, caffeine intake and finances.
You can track your in app progress including your mood meter readings and exercises completed. I found this incredibly interesting as I feel much happier and calmer having used the Thrive app than I did before and yet I have scored my mood as lower. I know this is not the case. Personally I believe it is because I can now see how happy I can be. I have more tools at my disposal to help rid me of emotional stresses that before I felt were just part and parcel of adulthood.
Does the App Work?
So does the app actually work, it certainly talks the talk, does it walk the walk?
Yes. Very simply this app is brilliant. I was sceptical at first, I admit I find this sort of thing very dubious but I have been thoroughly surprised. Not only do the mindful exercises help me relax but this app has taught me a lot about myself.
The app has been developed around clinical evidence using mindful and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques that are proven to help reduce stress and boost psychological wellbeing. So this isn’t just your average app.
What Have I Learnt?
I had plans to use this app almost daily over the last month to complete the review process. Well that hasn’t been possible. At first life just got in the way, one thing after another meant I didn’t have any time to myself without distraction from either the girls or Hubby. I realised I needed to make time to complete this review, so I did.
Then it occurred to me; there is more to it than simply a review. I don’t have any time to myself… ever. Admittedly I am sat on my own writing this but the girls are playing together in the next room. My eyes are on this but my ears are listening to what they are doing. I value my time in the evenings and weekends with my husband. Some days we both get some evening work done but we try to ensure we do that together. I struggle with the idea of taking a bath on my own as that removes valuable catch up time with Hubby. I go to the toilet with an audience, I do my makeup with little helpers. I don’t go shopping on my own and when Hubby offers to look after the girls so I can go I just think of how boring it will be on my own. I have always been comfortable in my own company and for many years after having kids I have craved it but now I am so familiar with constant human company I now longer know how to take time for myself.
Perhaps this is all part of motherhood but it can’t continue. Not if I want to be there to emotionally support my children through the new chapters they are about to embark on. To help them with school and nurseries. I need to be on my best game.
This may seem like a lot to have learnt from an app but honestly it has made me stop and really reflect on how I am living my life. I am not a naturally mindful person. I do not concentrate on the now or on one thing. My mind is a maze of future plans, past mistakes and errands to be run. This app has really shown me the importance of slowing that all down and taking time to just be in the now. Even if that is not as often as it should be.
You can download the App HERE. And use the code FSFAUGUST31072017 for a free trial (This code must be redeemed during August 2017 to be valid.)
*I was provided with a months free subscription to the app in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.