New smartphone app reduces ‘student stress’ and anxiety

As crazy-awesome as student life is, it’s also pretty stressful – exams, budgets, late nights…

…’nuff said.

Luckily we live in a super-duper techno-savvy age in which things like games on phones can help with emotional disturbances like stress and anxiety.

According to an article published in the journal “Clinical Psychological Science”, playing a science-based app on a smartphone for 25 minutes can reduce levels of anxiety in people who are stressed.

The new app is a game based on a new cognitive approach to treating anxiety known as attention-bias modification training (ABMT) – the app is called Personal Zen (by Hadley Harris) and can be downloaded HERE, for free.

According to the game on the app, the player follows two characters around the screen and has to trace their paths as quickly and accurately as possible.

Researchers tested 78 participants who had scored high on an anxiety survey, and invited them to play the game for either 25 or 45 minutes, and then give a short speech while being recorded on video – a stressful experience for them to undergo.

Another group played another placebo game and also gave speeches thereafter. The nervous behaviour in the videos was analysed by experts, and study participants also gave feedback on their feelings regarding the speech.

The result: the participants who played the ABTM-based app showed less nervous behaviour and reported less negative feelings about their speech than those who played the dummy game. And it was the 25-minute version that was the most potent when it came to relieving stress and anxiety.

But why?

When we get anxious or stressed, we pay too much attention to the negatives and have less ability to see the positives in life – like how we can’t meet our friends at the end of the day for a drink because we are stone broke, or how the examiner for our end of year final loves testing on work done in lectures (with no textbook reference) – the lectures that you didn’t go to! STRESS!

These habits of attention reduce our ability to cope effectively with stress and can create a vicious cycle of anxiety. The Personal Zen app helps to short-circuit these habits and frees you up to develop a more flexible and positive focus. You should be able to reduce your stress and anxiety in as little as one sitting, and the more you play, the more you strengthen well-being and vaccinate yourself against the negative effects of stress.

Well, that’s the idea.

More research should probably be done but it can’t harm to download a free app and give your mind a break for 25 minutes a day, right?

Source: – “Smartphone app reduces stress for anxious people”