By Corina Notyce
DCoE Public Affairs
Is your temper short? Are you anxious? Find it hard to concentrate? What about your sleep habits — sleeping too much or too little? How about your mood — family and friends say you’re pleasant to be around? Your answers to these questions may reveal a level of stress that needs attention.
Everyone experiences stress at times. The demands of life can be overwhelming, and the unique challenges common to military life adds even more pressure. In addition to external factors that can lead to stress (job demands, relationship difficulties, increased family responsibilities, financial issues), it’s important to know that stress can be self-generated (negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations, always needing to be in control, seeking perfection). Whatever might be causing you stress there are steps you can take now to help reduce its harmful effects on your emotional and psychological health.
Keeping that in mind, here are three mobile apps from National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) to help you manage and cope with stress effectively:
1. Identify and track stress with “T2 Mood Tracker”
Understanding your stress is easier when you identify triggers contributing to feelings of stress and anxiety. With the “T2 Mood Tracker” app, you can monitor, track and reference your moods and behaviors throughout a period of time, allowing you to see how environmental influences and life stress may be impacting your psychological health. Unique features make it easy to keep a record of your emotional experience for your own awareness, or to share with your therapist or health care provider. “T2 Mood Tracker” is available for Apple and Android devices.
2. Release stress with “Breathe2Relax”
Deep breathing releases the stress from your body because it helps activate the body’s relaxation response. The “Breathe2Relax” app demonstrates and guides you through a series of breathing practices to help you physically calm yourself, providing relief for stress, tension and anxiety when you’re in stressful situations. Practice the exercises regularly on their own or in tandem with clinical care directed by your health care provider. “Breathe2Relax” is available for Apple and Android devices.
3. Manage stress with “Tactical Breather”
Gaining control over your mental and physical responses to stress is eased through breathing techniques taught in the “Tactical Breather” app. This customizable stress management tool introduces you to the benefits of controlled breathing through tutorial and guided exercises. Primarily created for service members during intense combat situations, the app teaches you how to gain control of your heart rate, emotions, concentration, and other psychological and physiological responses to your body during any challenging situation in life. “Tactical Breather” is available for Apple and Android devices.
Everyone experiences stress differently, but we can all benefit from identifying sources of our stress and working to release and manage it effectively. For more healthy ways to deal with stress, contact the DCoE Outreach Center at 866-966-1020, firstname.lastname@example.org or live chat and receive resources for free.