Getting Healthier - “There’s an app for that!” Part 3: Wellness, Stress Reduction, & Behavior Change

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

October 22, 2013

Moving on to the final part in this series for healthier living apps, the focus will be on the “how to” area of wellness. How do I manage stress? How can I achieve my lifestyle change goals? How do I make my new behaviors stick? Check out the following for answers!

  1. Calm – Stressed out and too busy to relax? This app can help reduce tension and bring calm into your day with seven guided relaxation sessions that range from 2 to 30 minutes.
    • Features: Provides a mix of mindfulness (focused awareness in the present moment), relaxation, and meditation techniques to help you focus on the present moment and reduce anxiety. You choose your background scenery and the length of the session. A soothing voice walks you through the steps as you listen to peaceful nature sounds. Free and available for iOS and Android (type “Keep Calm” in search box for Android).
  2. Lift – Changing behavior and developing new habits requires vigilance; otherwise, we forget and fall back to our usual patterns. This easy-to-use app provides the needed assistance in making goals achievable with daily reminders. You can choose from a list of habits or create your own.
    • Features: Community support amongst members provides encouragement each day. Personal progress reports let you see how you’re doing. Free and available for iOS and Android.
  3. My Healthy Habits – Developed by Indiana University Health and part of the American Heart Association’s “Listen to Your Heart Initiative”, this app will keep you focused and motivated as you incorporate wellness habits into your daily routine. Choose from pre-loaded healthy habits or create your own. Select which daily push notifications will best remind you to practice your new behavior. It is similar to Lift in functionality, so see which one works better for you.
    • Features: A calendar that tracks your progress over 21 days, and an opportunity to share with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Free and available for iOS, and coming soon to Android.
  4. Juice – If your energy level needs a boost, this entertaining and easy-to-use app is for you! Users spin a juice bottle to rate their energy, sleep, exercise, nutrition, mood, stress, and other energy-related health habits. Choose from great, good, okay, bad, or awful to rate how you did each day. No matter what rating you end up with, daily expert tips are provided.
    • Features: Weekly reports help you see where improvement is needed, links to quality sites (CDC, National Sleep Foundation, etc.) for additional information, and the ability to set your own reminders.
  5. Fig – A wellness app that focuses on the whole person by allowing users to track the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of their daily life. Activity themes include healthy eating, energy level, sleep quality, immunity, parenting, marriage, and more. Once a theme is chosen, users select goal activities that will match their unique wellness needs. Each goal activity features tips and incentives to encourage you on your journey.
    • Features: Allows users to set the frequency of their activity and sharing of progress. Updating goals is easy and can help avoid “giving up” if you set your sites too high at first. Free and available on iOS and Android.

I hope you find these suggested apps (as well as the previous ones in my last two blog posts) helpful as you practice replacing unhealthy habits with healthier ones. Remember, changing behavior is a process; it takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself alongjavascript:void(0); the journey, and before you know it you’ll be reaping the rewards of better health!

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