Stress-busting Solutions Just Using Your Cell Phone

written by Richard C. - Apr 4, 2016

is a writer and journalist based in London, UK. His writing focuses on mental health, sex and relationships, and technology. His favourite food is pizza and will do almost anything for a slice.

Photo credit: by Rich Cooper
Photo credit: by Rich Cooper

Modern life is a headache. Work work work, bills bills bills, rush rush rush. While there are many wonderful things about the time we live in, there’s no denying that the stress is piling on. There’s everything to do and no time to do it in, and it’s not getting any easier.

But there’s a tool you can use to lift the burden from your shoulders, and it’s sitting in your pocket right now. You maybe use your phone for accessing Facebook, checking the news or - heaven forbid - making phone calls, but it can also help bust some of the stress in your life.

So let’s take a look at some of the things your iPhone, Android or Windows phone can do to take some of the tension out of your life.

1. Play a stress-relieving game

Photo credit: by Ustwo, from official press kit
Photo credit: by Ustwo, from official press kit

Mobile games can be surprisingly intense. They’re challenge-focused, pitting you and your wits against the clock, forcing you to repeat the same tasks over and over until you just manage to beat the level. And then the next one starts.

The small amount of satisfaction you get from these games is nothing compared to the frustration they cause, so step away from Super Hexagon and try something a little more down-tempo.

Try Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, possibly the least demanding yet most rewarding game of all time. You put out some food for the neighborhood cats, who then eat the food and play around in your backyard. That’s it, and it is absolutely adorable. Who could get wound up watching a cute cartoon kitty playing with a ball of wool?

If that’s not your thing, give Monument Valley a go. It’s a puzzle game, but a very simple, soothing experience. Your goal is to guide a silent princess through a series of M.C. Escher-like architectural impossibilities, with absolutely no pressure applied. The world it creates is so beautifully serene that you’ll wish you lived in it.

Download Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector for iPhone and Android.

Download Monument Valley for iPhone, Android and Windows phone.

2. Manage your sleeping patterns

Photo credit: by Northcube AB, from official press kit
Photo credit: by Northcube AB, from official press kit

If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, it’s understandable that you might be a little cranky in the morning. If you never get a good night’s sleep, then ‘cranky’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Sleep is so important to our well-being, and if you’re not getting some solid shut-eye, your mental health suffers.

Your phone can actually help you monitor and improve the quality of your sleep. Apps like Sleep Cycle use the accelerometer in your phone to record your sleeping patterns - just put your cell on your bed before you go to sleep and it’ll make an assessment based on your movements throughout the night.

After a few nights, the app will have built up a profile of your sleeping patterns, which it can then use to wake you up at the optimum time within a half hour window, ensuring you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go every time. No more groggy starts or waking up on the wrong side of the bed, just the best start to your day you can imagine.

Download Sleep Cycle for iPhone and Android, or try Sleep Well for Windows phone.

3. Use your phone to practice mindfulness

Photo credit: by Nickolai Kashirin
Photo credit: by Nickolai Kashirin

If you’re not familiar with meditation, you may be picturing a monk in white robes, sitting with his legs crossed and his palms in the air, humming softly. Fear not, meditation is actually a very simple, unobtrusive practice that requires only patience and a quiet space - the robes are optional.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps us to live in the moment, to not worry or feel stressed about things that have, may or will happen. The practice is focused on breathing, but requires some concentration on your part. To help you get the hang of it, there are a couple of really helpful apps that guide you through the process.

Calm and Headspace are two free apps that offer courses in mindfulness, comprised of daily sessions lasting around 10 minutes. There’s no hippy talk or condescending instruction, just soothing voices that help you use your breathing to clear your thoughts and put your worries to one side.

Download Calm for iPhone and Android

Download Headspace for iPhone and Android

Download The Mindfulness App for Windows phone

4. Talk to someone

Photo credit: Pexels, free stock photos
Photo credit: Pexels, free stock photos

Way, way back in the Dark Ages, people would use their phones for talking to people. They would dial a number, then use their ears and mouths to have an actual conversation with another human being. These days it’s texts, emails, tweets and updates - all valid forms of communication, sure, but can you really express your inner angst with a Snapchat?

Stress can come with feelings of abject loneliness. Everyone else seems to be doing fine, sailing through life without a care in the world, while you struggle through, trying to hold it all together. No one else could know what you’re going through, because you’re the only one going through it, right? Not so.

Everyone is fighting their own battles, large or small. It’s almost trite to say it, but we really have all been there. “But I can’t burden them with my problems if they’ve got enough of their own," you say. If they too are struggling with stress, they’ve been looking for someone to share their problems with as much as you. Nothing is quite as cathartic as two people getting absolutely everything off their chest together.

5. Put the phone down

Photo credit: Pexels, free stock photo library
Photo credit: Pexels, free stock photo library

Thanks to the internet and cell technology, we can contact anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is a modern marvel, for sure, but the downside is that we too can be contacted by anyone, anywhere, anytime. We no longer leave our jobs at the office. We take calls after 5 pm, we answer emails in our pyjamas, we’re checking the stocks, seeing what’s trending, buying, selling - stop.

Stop right there. Turn your phone off, put it on the table, and walk away from it.

We often wonder how people coped in the time before cell phones, but we should really be amazed that we’re coping with them. Now, when everything is instant and on-demand, we have to remember that we have the right to be unreachable. We have the right to not be emailed about that big sales meeting at 11:30 pm. We have the right to not take any calls today, thank you very much.

Unplugging yourself from the connected world and stepping back into real life is one of the single biggest stress relievers available. Even if it’s just for an evening, allowing yourself to escape everyone and everything will give you peace like you’ve never known - or rather, peace like you used to know.

Maybe we need to go back to a simpler time, where we aren’t tied to a pocket-sized computer 24/7. Our smartphones were supposed to be tools, but they have become our masters, and only by shutting them down occasionally can we find freedom.

All photographs licensed under Creative Commons


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