A Review: Pacifica – An App For The Anxious

This post was written by Jessica Forrester and was originally posted here.

Today I wanted to share with you my review of an App I’ve recently started using called Pacifica.

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I found out about the App through a Buzzfeed article, highlighting the best Apps for people suffering with Anxiety.

After testing a few out, I’m committed to making this one work for me.

The App is designed to help monitor your feelings, alongside the other aspects of life that might enhance your Anxiety (Sleep, eating, exercise, etc).

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I’ve only been using it a few weeks, but the latest update even allows you to compare your data between days.

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The App sends you a notification each day asking how you’re feeling, which is great for me because usually I’m quite forgetful or lack motivation for these things.

But, the App also allows you to monitor your mood throughout the day so the data is more accurate.

Not only that, the app allows you to set goals and challenges for yourself to help you fight your every day anxieties. You can choose from a variety options – be it overall negativity, anxiety or something a little more specific – and from those, create challenges.

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I only have the free version, which means I don’t have access to all the services everyday, so each day, there’s something different to try. For example, there are relaxation and meditation exercises including peaceful wave soundtracks to help keep you calm, as well as a Thoughts section where you are able to record yourself talking things through. I’ve not used that section (I hate my voice!), but I imagine it’s great when trying to reflect.

Anyway, I’d say the App is a really easy to use monitoring service for anyone really- each section uses a diagram of a circle where each segment means something different; when you’ve reached a good thing, it turns green. (that was difficult to explain)

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It’s a good way to make sure you’ve drank enough, eaten enough and had enough exercise – things which are all super important for the anxious individual, but also anyone else who wants to keep check on their lifestyle.

Has anyone else used this App? What did you think?

Anxious And Stressed? There’s An App For That!

Pacifica

This post was written by Lauren Ate Pacman and was originally posted here.

Hey you lovely people!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel things so strongly that it seems as if I don’t  have the capacity to take deep breath and think about the why. I mean, i’ve (kind of) mastered owning the way that I feel – taking in the fact that nobody is responsible how I react to situations except for me. And, i’ve stopped looking to other people to fix how i’m feeling.  But being entirely self-aware? That’s something i’m in the process of working on.

If you read any psychology or sociology paper, self-awareness is often heralded as one of the things we should all be aiming to achieve, and it makes sense. The more self-aware we are, the more we can control our thoughts and understand why we act the way we do. This means that we can further understand what we can do to overcome any barriers we may be facing. Which is why the Pacifica app is so useful.

WHAT IS THE PACIFICA APP?

The Pacifica app is a free app designed to help with stress and anxiety. Providing daily tools such as the “How do you feel” feature, and three different daily exercises that alternate (you can only do one per day on the free version), it helps you focus one day at a time on your emotional health and wellbeing. Not only this, but it also has a health tab where you can track how much water you have been drinking, how much time that you’ve spent outside and how much exercise you’ve done. These little things might seem really simple, but until you start using the app, you don’t realize how little you really do for yourself.

HOW DOES IT HELP?

I’ve been using the Pacifica app for about a month now, and even though I don’t use every functionality (the experiments tab just isn’t for me), there is lot’s about it that I do like.

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This is the homepage. Each tab, or section has it’s own use and when chosen, goes through to a second page where the focus is solely on that. The focus provided is super useful and actually helps you to concentrate on what you’re doing, and with things like this I think you need that.

If you’re anything like me, then figuring out how you feel isn’t the easiest thing to do. Most of the time I just do lots of things and don’t stop. But by sitting down and sifting through emotions it makes you acknowledge things that you might otherwise ignore. And ok, yes. Sometimes they’re bad, but a lot of the time you feel a lot better than you think (or at least I do). By keeping the design and layout minimal and simple this is the only thing that you focus on, and it makes it super easy to update just before bed.

THE BEST PART?

My favorite part of the app is the “thoughts” page. Here, the app gets you to record yourself image1 talking about a moment in your day wherein you felt anxious, asking you questions like “What went through your mind when you started to feel anxious?”, “What was the worst thing that could have happened to you?” and “What did this experience mean to you” before prompting you to listen to it back and pin point the areas that you were positive and the areas where you were negative. It also asks why.

Were you catastrophizing? Predicting the future like it’s the truth? Using pressurized words? The constant questioning seems like a lot the first time that you do it, but after a while you realise how important it is.  It really does help you to understand your thinking process and what you can do to stop yourself from slipping into a negative mindset.  This is only highlighted via getting you to record it again, asking you questions that help you think about the situation differently.

HAS IT HELPED?

Via using this app I found that I catastrophize a lot. I mistake my feelings for facts and believe that I know the motives of others when that’s clearly not true. I won’t say that since i’ve been using Pacifica this has stopped, but I am more aware of it, and even though I might not be able to deal with it succinctly enough for my liking just yet, it’s something I can work on. I also find it really empowering to see the graph of how you’ve been feeling over the past weeks and months. Sure there’s a few bad days in there, but a bad day does not make for a bad life and I think that it’s important to be reminded of that sometimes.

Overall, I can’t say that i’m less anxious, but I feel like I can deal with it a little better than I could a month ago. I’m more aware and I know when I just need to turn off my phone, curl up in a ball and go to bed. I know I can’t control the outcome of everything – I just have to figure out how to be ok with that.

Have you tried this app? What did you think?

Lots of Love, xoxo

Managing Anxiety in the Digital Age

Dear Stress, Let's break up.

This post was written by Kate Carmichael LPC and was originally posted here at ATX Counseling for Teens.

This month we are talking about joy!  Obstacles that get in our way are feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear.  Everybody knows what it is like to experience stress, stress is a part of life and even though it is inevitable, we do not have to suffer with constant anxiety, worry thoughts, or a sense of unease.  We can choose new ways of healing and discover greater peace even in the most challenging circumstances.  I have recently discovered a new app that can help by allowing us to become aware of our own emotional triggers.  I find this incredibly refreshing considering technology can be a huge source of stress for many people.  This app utilizes a treatment approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which helps us identify our irrational beliefs and unhealthy behaviors.  Irrational beliefs (or negative self-talk) are the deeply rooted misperceptions that we carry about ourselves, others, and life situations.  These beliefs play like elevator music in our minds constantly making us upset and limiting our own potential.  Oftentimes, people are unaware of how deeply these thoughts go, sometimes stemming from previous trauma or an emotionally unsafe person whose voice we have internalized.  The app has features that allow you to identify these thoughts and help you replace them with new, more positive, and more productive ways of being.  It also offers breathing techniques and experiments to help you learn new behaviors when the going gets tough.  Becoming aware of our self-talk is incredibly important in our path towards experiencing greater joy.  Our thoughts are very powerful; they affect everything from how we feel about ourselves to our relationships with others.  If you can think positive, be optimistic, and find some peace you will know joy.  And these thoughts are conscious choices you can make every day…even right this moment!

Download the app here:  thinkpacifica.com
And check out the youtube video below to learn more.

Centering thought of the day:  By choosing positive, loving thoughts, I create a life full of joy.  All is well in my world.

Anxiety? There’s An App For That.

Pacifica

This post was written by Rachel Lyn and was originally posted here at Roots Elemental.

When it comes to technology, I’m a strong believer that less is more. It is so easy with the current highly evolved technologies widely available as well as living in a Western society to become engulfed in screen-time. Once in a lunar eclipsed moon, I find an app or a piece of technology that helps to connect back with the self versus focusing energy outside of the body.

Pacifica is a free app designed to assist with lessening the physical causes of stress and anxiety through mindfulness. It utilizes five categories rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation and key wellness factors.

1. Mood – A thermometer for your feelings and general mood throughout the day. You can track improvements and take note of triggers over time like water intake or number of hours of sleep.

2. Relax – When you feel stressed, Pacifica offers three relaxation exercises: deep belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and positive visualization. You can even pick your soundscape like summer nights or rooftop rain.

3. Thoughts – When you feel overwhelmed and your mind is racing, this app can assist with bringing negative thought patterns into the forefront to develop more positive perspectives over time.

4. Experiments – If you’re feeling up for a challenge, this section provides ways to explore your health and get some forward-motion traction.

5. Health – A section to track your daily wellness factors like hours of sleep, time spent outdoors, minutes exercising and caffeine intake.

Why the awesome folks at Pacifica created the App:
“While there will always be a place for traditional therapy, barriers such as stigma, cost, and logistical considerations often get in the way of individuals getting the treatment they need”. Get the whole story from their about page.

True That.

Awareness and support for folks who wrestle with anxiety and stress is important work. Together, we move forward.

In a fast-paced world of conflicting values, I really like how Pacifica highlights that change happens over time. Depending on how much consciousness we have towards our health factors, we can expedite real change and balance in a lasting way. It allows you to be a detective for your own emotional and physical wellbeing on a non-judging and gentle path. As we stay strongly rooted in the present, we can look to the future.

Get the App

Visit thinkpacifica.com/blog for more on startups & anxiety

Manage Day-To-Day Stress and Anxiety with the Pacifica App

Pacifica

This post was written by Ashlee Christian and was originally posted here at OfficeNinjas.

No matter what manner of office ninja you are, daily stress and anxiety come with the territory. In fact, being able to handle all the things that your role demands of you is what makes you rock. However, too much daily stress and anxiety can be hazardous to your health. As someone who suffers from (sometimes comical amounts of) chronic worry, I can say that managing it has been hard for me.

Being mindful of your stress and working to understand what causes it can be the first step towards better stress management. And since this is 2015, there is, naturally, an app for that! Pacifica features a variety of tools to help you manage daily stress and anxiety. The app is based around Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and works to help you understand your issues and change patterns of behavior over time.

The app is comprised of five main activities: Mood, Relax, Thoughts, Experiments, and Health. Each activity allows you to reflect on your daily moods and thoughts over time, as well as challenge yourself to face your anxieties head on and push through them.

MOOD
Mood
The mood tracking activity allows you to rate your daily moods and recognize patterns over time. The app will send you notifications at various points throughout the day asking how you’re feeling. Along with rating your mood you can add a note explaining why you are feeling a certain way. This can help identify any triggers or scenarios that may lead to certain moods.

RELAX
Relax
The relax feature allows you to choose from three relaxation activities: positive visualization, muscle relaxation, and deep breathing. You can also select from a variety of relaxing soundscapes to accompany your activity of choice. This feature is amazing for those times during the day when you feel your anxiety ramp up, or at night when you find it difficult to turn off your brain and fall asleep.

THOUGHTS
Thoughts
The thoughts activity allows you to record your daily musing and helps you work through and process patterns of thought and behavior. Plus, the daily quotes is awesome in getting inspired and setting your focus for the day.

EXPERIMENTS
Experiments
This activity is different than the rest as it challenges you to face your anxiety. Choose one of your goals, identify a small step towards this goal, and then rate how difficult you think it might be to achieve it. Whether or not you get a chance to complete the experiments, simply writing them down and reflecting on the triggers that cause you anxiety throughout the day is useful.

HEALTH
Health
The health activity features seven categories to rate yourself on everyday: sleep, exercise, eating, water, caffeine, alcohol, and outdoors. Over time you can use this feature to identify correlations between these health factors and your levels of stress and anxiety.  For example, you may find that your stress levels are higher on days where you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or lower on days when you work out in the morning.

As an office ninja you may not be able to control what gets thrown at you throughout the day, but you can, over time, learn to control how it affects you. With Pacifica you can take your stress and anxiety into your hands and show it who’s boss!

Pacifica is available for iOS and Android devices and is free with limited features, $3.99 for a 30 day trial, and $29.99 a year.  

Office ninjas, how do you manage your daily stress and anxiety?

5 Diet Tips for Anxiety

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Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps one deal with a tense situation in the office, study harder for an exam, or remain focused on an important speech. In general, it helps one cope with the tasks and demands of everyday life. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can become a disabling disorder. Fortunately, effective treatments for anxiety disorders are available that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive and fulfilling lives. However, studies have shown that having a healthy diet may reduce signs and symptoms of anxiety. Although food can’t cure an anxiety disorder, consider some diet changes and that would benefit a severely anxious person:

Avoid or limit caffeine intake as much as possible. Caffeine is present in many soft drinks, not just in tea and coffee and it can set up its own vicious cycle. It can speed up heart rate and disrupt sleep – which later on become prevailing signs of anxiety. Trying to overcome tiredness by drinking more caffeine only makes the long-term problem worse.

Avoid too much alcohol. Similarly, alcohol can worsen the symptoms of anxiety, and disrupt sleep. Many people reach for a drink to calm their nerves, but the consequences of overindulgence can outweigh the benefits of initial relaxation. For some, a hangover, insomnia, and dehydration make one feel worse than before one had a drink. In excessive amounts, alcohol can actually act as a depressant, making the drinker feel sluggish or more anxious. Alcohol, like a simple sugar, is rapidly absorbed by the body. Like other sugars, alcohol increases hypoglycemia symptoms. It also causes mood swings.

Eat complex carbohydrates, also known as carbs. During anxious times, turn to comforting carbs. These foods act as a mild tranquilizer by increasing the amount of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Complex carbs such as potatoes, wholewheat bread, and pasta take longer to digest than sugary simple carbs like white bread. That way, one can stay fuller longer and blood sugar is likely to stay steady, eliminating stress and anxiety.

Be sure to drink eight or more glasses of water a day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches and stress. One should be well-hydrated and drinking lots of water a day can decrease symptoms of anxiety.

Take multivitamins and mineral supplements. B vitamins, whose role is to unlock the energy in food, are crucial. Vitamin B-6 helps manufacture serotonin in the brain. Choose a daily supplement that supplies 100 per cent of the daily recommendation of all vitamins and minerals.

Although tension and daily stresses are unavoidable, one can relieve tension and manage stress and anxiety better by watching out for what one eats and what one does not eat. Remember that a healthy body and a healthy mind are often one and the same thing.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

Anxiety Attacks Explained – It’s Just Your Body

Anxiety Attack Explained

Anxiety or panic attacks are sudden periods of intense anxiety, fear, and discomfort. While these attacks might seem to happen for no reason, they’re actually the body’s response to what it perceives as the need for “fight or flight”. The attacks usually last about ten minutes, but can be as short as one minute. In severe cases, these attacks can happen in cycles. These cycles may last for extended periods. These cycles can cause “anticipation” anxiety between episodes.

Physical symptoms of anxiety attacks generally include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and sweating. Tingling and numbness in the extremities, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches and nausea are also commonly experienced. These may appear to be random, but they’re actually the result of the body’s preparations for protection.

The anxiety attack is brought on by a sudden onset of fear. In response, the body releases adrenaline followed by increases in the heart and breathing rate and production of sweat (to regulate body temperature). These actions prepare the body for the physical activities of fighting or escaping. Because the anticipated strenuous activity rarely follows the panic attack, these reactions result in physical discomfort.

The increased heart rate is felt as heart palpitations. Rapid breathing (hyperventilation) results in a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and blood. This leads to the tingling, numbness, dizziness and lightheadedness. The adrenaline causes a narrowing of the blood vessels which results in less blood flow to the head. This also contributes to the lightheadedness and headaches.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

Managing My Anxiety with Pacifica

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This post was written by Alyson Shane and was originally posted here.

Many of you know that over the past while I’ve been trying to take positive steps to start tackling the stress and anxiety that I deal with in my day-to-day life. Part of that has been creating positive dialogues by sharing my experiences, and recently it’s involved using an app called Pacifica.

I’d never really considered using an app to manage my anxiety, but after John mentioned it and sent me a link to their webpage, I figured “why not?” Since then I’ve been using it daily and have really been noticing a change in my mood and my anxiety levels.

Basically the app provides you with tools to work on mindfulness and to track your moods and activities over time, which attempts to paint a picture of the kinds of behaviors that can increase or decrease anxiety and stress.

There are five daily tasks: Mood, Relax, Thoughts, Experiments, and Health, though when you use the free version (like me, I’m cheap) you only get access to three a day. Honestly though this is more than enough.

There are two things about this app that I liked enough to sit down and write a review, one of which is the little push notification. Usually I hate them, but there’s something sort of soothing to look down at your phone and see a message that says “how are you feeling?” – even when I know it’s coming from an app, it makes me stop and think.

This also works well because once I see the push notification I go right into the app and input my Mood, which means that I don’t just use it when I’m feeling good or bad, which would skew my ability to figure out if I’m making progress.

The other is the Thoughts feature. I used this for the first time the other day after a particularly stressful experience.

Basically the feature has you record your thoughts out loud, then it plays the recording back to you and asks you to identify positive and negative statements.

When you identify a negative statement, it displays leading questions which force you to think about why you felt that way, and why you expressed it the way that you did.

Once you’ve listened to it once (or more times if you need) the app has you re-record your thoughts on the issue: was it as bad as you thought? How could you change your thinking patterns moving forward? etc.

I really struggle to do this in the moment and while it was a bit weird to talk out loud when nobody else was around, hearing myself played back and thinking critically about the statements that I heard myself making really, really helped.

The app does other stuff, too, like helping you track how much you sleep, how well you ate, how much exercise you got, etc, but this was the most influential tool that I’ve used so far.

I really find that managing my day-to-day stress and anxiety levels can be a challenge, and having an app has really helped me be more mindful of my choices and it’s helpful to go back to a particular day and be able to say “yeah, I handled that really well” or “I could have done better, what can I improve on?” and see that progress over time.

What about you – do you have any app recommendations for managing anxiety? I’d love to hear them! 

Getting Help For A Friend Struggling With Anxiety

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Getting help for a friend who struggles with fear and anxiety can be tricky. He or she may be reluctant to get help or they may be scared. This is the time that your friend needs you the most. With this in mind, here are some suggestions on how a person can help his or her friend with their anxiety.

The first step a person should do is to convince their friend to get professional help. Explain to them that they must decide to get the help they need to overcome their anxiety. Nobody can do it for them. Explain to them that seeing a professional will really help them in the long run and that it is in their best interest to get this help.

Remind them that is hope and there are solutions to their anxiety problems if they seek treatment. There is nothing wrong in asking for help. Try to convince your friend that there are ways to manage your persistent anxieties and fears, however they must make the effort to learn these techniques.

When your friend is struggling, be there for him or her. Be supportive of your friend and try to help him out during his struggles. Dealing with fear and anxiety can be tough so give your friend a break when he struggles with his fears and anxieties.

One technique that you can use is to learn from your fearful and anxious situations. In every stressful situation that you experience, begin to learn what works and what you can do to improve. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a stroll around your local park. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a short walk.

Taking advantage of the help that is available can go a long way in managing your fears and anxieties. When you are with your friend, you need to remind him or her of this fact.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

5 Natural Anxiety Tips

Natural Anxiety Tips

Nobody enjoys persisting anxiety problems. From the physical symptoms to the mental fatigue, it’s important to remember that anxiety is highly treatable. Here are five natural anxiety tips to help you.

Diet
When we eat a balanced diet, our bodies tend to function better. First, try to get enough iron, potassium, selenium, and chromium. These have been shown to affect anxiety. Moreover, try to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. On the flip side, avoid refined sugar, soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, and anything else that has caffeine like tea, coffee, or chocolate. Caffeine is a major trigger for many anxiety sufferers.
You can use the HEALTH tool within Pacifica to help.

Exercise
Regular exercise will help your body to relax and relieve it from stress. Exercising helps produce endorphins (i.e. that’s why you feel better after you exercise). Try exercising 30 minutes a day.
You can use the HEALTH tool within Pacifica to help.

Relax
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to take a moment to pause. Try listening to music, talking to a friend, working on a crossword puzzle, reading a book, taking a walk, taking a nap or painting a picture. Doing things that you enjoy will definitely help to alleviate stress.
You can use the RELAX tool within Pacifica to help.

Sleep
If you are stressed and suffering from anxiety as a result, try to get some deep and proper sleep. Sleep is a natural relaxer and sleeping will definitely help when you are suffering from anxiety.
You can use the HEALTH tool within Pacifica to help.

Negativity
How we think determines how we perceive the world. Try and avoid developing negative feelings (easier said than done). Such feelings can only spoil your day.
You can use the THOUGHTS tool within Pacifica to help.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.