Written by Michael Woodman
MindShift is a free app designed to offer practical support in relation to feelings of anxiety. Rather than suggesting that you avoid situations that create anxiety, the app guides you towards opportunities to face them in a constructive way.
You can build a personalised profile from a list of 'situations' (such as tackling social fears, letting go of perfectionism, and even coping with test anxiety) and then develop a plan which is delivered in a number of stages:
- Get the facts: the app introduces you to the facts about your chosen situation - often these are supported by video clips of other young adults discussing their experiences. Your experience may be more similar to those of other people than you think!
- Check yourself / Active Steps: build a profile based on your own experience so that the app can offer better advice and strategies, (i.e. for 'test anxiety', do you have trouble falling or staying asleep in the days leading up to exams? Does your mind go blank when the timer starts?) By combining this profiling process with bite-sized strategies and opportunities to reflect on fears, the app offers ways in which anxieties can be broken down in manageable ways.
- The app also suggests a variety of Chill Out Tools based on your profile, (including relaxation exercises, visualisations, and mindfulness strategies), as well as a series of active steps that you can take in the weeks, days, hours and even minutes leading up to the stressful event.
All of these tools can be engaged with as part of a personalised (and password protected) programme, or by dipping in and out as you see fit.
Remember: while MindShift is a practical, accessible tool designed in conjunction with healthcare professionals, it doesn't advertise itself as a replacement for therapeutic support. Most universities will have a counselling service that you can talk to in confidence to receive advice if you are worried about your own mental health, or you could always discuss your concerns with your G.P.