With a 32% increase in diagnosed mental health conditions in adults since 2007 and 92% of students feeling mentally distressed, it is of significant importance that we are constantly exploring different ways in which societies mental well-being can be improved as a whole.
There's no denying meditation is an effective, proven method to help millions of individuals overcome stress and anxiety- helping to find their inner peace. Yet, what about those millions of people who meditation doesn't work for? Whether the lack of time or a style of thinking which suits other methods better, there are numerous reasons why meditation won't work for everybody.
There are alternatives, though not many know if it. The most popular and the one which has accumulated most evidence is progressive muscle relaxation. There are numerous different areas in which deep muscle relaxation is beneficial. It can help for those with both psychical and emotional pain. The method was originally explained by Edmund Jacobson in the 1930's who demonstrated that the mind and body are deeply linked and that relaxation in the body brings about calmness.
The national institute for health and care excellence recommends a related treatment, applied relaxation, as one of the high-intensity interventions for anxiety disorders. Applied relaxation is an advanced form of progressive deep muscle relaxation developed by Lars-Göran Örst, professor of clinical psychology, in the 1970's. Meditation is not recommended in the guidance.
Depression and anxiety are common conditions at present. Over a quarter of the British population will experience some type of mental health issue during their lifetime. This is due to different factors such as, stress and poor sleep. Deep muscle relaxation will significantly reduce some symptoms linked with depression, anxiety, panic disorders, stress disorders, PTSD, OCD and Insomnia.
Deep muscle relaxation can also help with insomnia. There is a study that has found it as effective as sedatives when dealing with stressful situations, but without the side effects. In a study of the technique and the benefits for one affected by the panic disorder, it was shown to reduce stress and panic in 38% of patients with no other techniques involved. It has also been found to help those with PTSD, where people affected tend to be more on edge. The technique was shown to relax their entire body in time. A 2012 review of scientific studies found that it can also effectively reduce anxiety in those with schizophrenia.
Progressive muscle relaxation also reduces physical long term pain. According to breastcancer.org, the technique can actually reduce nausea, vomiting, anxiety and depression linked to cancer or treatment. A meta-analysis of fifteen published controlled clinical trials (found on cam-cancer.org) among patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy has shown that in 14 out of 15 studies reviewed- Progressive muscle relaxation was proven effective in significantly reducing nausea, pain, anxiety and depression. It also helps those who suffer from chronic headaches, high blood pressure and digestion issues. It can also slightly increase dopamine levels (which regulates movement) in Parkinson's patients.
The technique causes the 'relaxation response' which decreases your heart rate, slows and deepens your breathing, stabilizes blood pressure, relaxes muscles and therefore results in your body beginning the healing process.
Deep muscle relaxation is a simple technique which can be carried out almost anywhere and usually only takes 10 minutes to complete. It typically includes breathing in, contracting a group of muscles, holding for 5-10 seconds and finally breathing out relaxing those muscles. There is an app called 'Feel Stress Free' created by Thrive therapeutic software, it is the only clinically proven app to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, the activities include deep muscle relaxation as well as meditation, deep breathing and other techniques.
'Feel Stress Free', created by Thrive Therapeutic Software, is a mobile app which uses clinically proven techniques in order to prevent and build resilience to stress, anxiety and mild depression. It has been developed by leading Psychologists and Psychiatrists to give users early detection and treatment of common mental health conditions. It is recommended to use when individuals are feeling anxious, stressed or mildly depressed. By using the techniques within the app on a daily basis, users will learn to build resilience to the pressures and anxieties that tend to come with life.
Feel Stress Free includes a variety of clinically proven relaxation techniques and other beneficial features- these include:
- Relaxation techniques- Activities within the app are each evidence-based and clinically proven relaxation techniques, users may wish to use all of them or just one. The app will also make recommendations depending on how the user is feeling. The techniques include deep muscle relaxation, meditation, self-hypnosis, calm breathing and distraction therapy games.
- CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) based mood meter- The CBT based mood meter allows the user to track their mood, train their brain to question automatic, negative thoughts and recommends the relevant activity.
- Security- All of our servers are based in London with no outsourcing overseas, fully ICO registered and encrypted meaning user data is completely confidential.
- Confidential support- With proven CBT techniques within the app, users can now seek to support themselves 24/7 confidentially.
To download the app, visit: www.feelstressfree.com