Along with several natural supplements, a growing number of apps can support and boost your mental health.
When it comes to training—and nurturing—your noodle, a number of apps would appear to have you covered. Read on to find out what studies and experts approve of the latest in brain and mental health trends. Plus a few natural supplements to boost your brain health, too.
Do brain-boosting apps really work?
Good news: the progress you’re making on your brain-training app is not just in your head. One 2019 study discovered that playing an app called Decoder for eight hours over a one-month period improved participants’ ability to concentrate.
However, another study says even though many brain-training apps often work, there is one caveat: a particular app may work for one type of brain training, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily transfers to another task.
What about using an app for relaxation?
Mindfulness apps can decrease stress—especially those that help users cultivate acceptance or “learning how to be open and accepting of the way things are in each moment.”
Kimberlee Mancina, registered psychotherapist and founder of Nourished Mind Psychotherapy based in Toronto, Canada, uses apps in her practice, believing them to be “valuable complementary tools for traditional therapeutic interventions.
“They can act as a starting point, are much more accessible—financially, they’re more affordable —and can add therapeutic support,” explains Mancina. She adds that those with anxiety or agoraphobia may find them particularly useful.
Natural brain boosters
There are also several natural supplements to boost brain function.
Research published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry indicates that ingesting an easily absorbed curcumin supplement can help with brain power; in particular, it may improve memory and attention abilities significantly.
Recent research indicates that inhaling a compound in rosemary—namely 1,8-cineole—is significantly related to better performance on cognitive tasks, and breathing in higher concentrations of the herb leads to even better performance.
Used in Ayurvedic medicine since 500 AD to treat anxiety and improve cognitive processes, memory, and recall, one recent study found that a daily 300 mg extract had a significant effect on some components of memory.
5 mental health and wellness apps
There’s no shortage of apps out there to help you with your mental health. So, we had registered psychotherapist Kimberlee Mancina share her recommendations:
- Bliss: As a positive psychology advocate, Mancina is a big fan of this app. She loves the various prompts this app provides to assist with gratitude journaling.
- MoodKit: Mancina finds this app works well for tracking mood on a weekly basis.
- Calm & Headspace: Mancina loves these apps for their tools to aid in guided meditation for stress reduction, anxiety, and sleep.
- Talkspace: This app is helpful for connecting with therapists, especially since it can be intimidating to find a therapist for the first time.
- YouTube: This app is an extensive resource for sound healing, guided meditation, and emotional freedom techniques.
- Instagram: Mancina sees this as a powerful platform covering topics from parenting to gratitude work that has helped to normalize conditions and realities.