In this Thrive app review, a somewhat skeptical home worker tries out an app that promises to “optimise the mind” and actually help treat mental health conditions. Does the Thrive app live up to the bold promise of making you “live stress free?” You’ll have to read on to find out!
As a home worker, it is very easy to spend all day (if not several days) not talking to another person – or possibly without even leaving the house. For some, this is a kind of life to aspire to… However, as the winter evenings draw in, it’s all too easy to become a bit of a hermit.
A lack of natural light, reduced interaction with others, and an absence of some daily fresh air are all things that can genuinely affect your mental health.
With that in mind, I was intrigued when I was asked try out the Thrive app. It’s a programme of well-being that you can access online. It is available on all Apple and Android devices, and can also be used on computers via a web browser. (Thrive recommend Google Chrome).
What is the Thrive app?
Thrive is a system that claims to ” detect, prevent and help manage common mental health conditions.”
Its gamified “be stress free” system was developed by “experienced psychiatrists,” and is based around techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness.
As per the “blurb” on the website: “The Thrive app lets you track your mood over time, helps you train your thoughts so you can better manage different situations, and guides you in relaxation techniques to control stress.”
What does it cost?
Although the app is free to download, after a three-day trial you will need to purchase a subscription. The price for this varies depending on how long you sign up for.
The cost of Thrive’s “Feel Stress Free” app ranges from (GB)£3.99 per month for annual up-front payment to £5.99 per month on a monthly rolling subscription. This is, of course, a small cost for better mental health – if it works!
The company also offers regular discounts through social media. If money is a consideration for you, you’ll want to keep your eye out for those.
Thrive: Feel Stress Free – How does it Work?
Let’s start by saying that I am a bit of a skeptic and wasn’t at all convinced that something like this would help me.
However, after trying out what the app had to offer for a few days I am hooked.
An advantage of a programme like this is that you can access it where and whenever you like. Accessibility really is key, as people need help with stress and anxiety when it’s happening, not at an appointment in a few weeks’ time, if you can get one at all!
I used this app alongside a weekly CBT appointment at my local doctor’s office and found it an easily accessible ’go to’ between sessions
I logged on before work each day, to be met by a series of screens asking me about my mood. Following this, I was guided to a list of suggestions for the day.
The suggestions include exercises you can perform without leaving your desk, such as breathing, meditation, deep muscle exercises and self-suggestion. Before you begin each exercise, the app offers a short explanation of what it is and tells you more about the benefits and how you can expect it to help you.
Other suggestions such as a walk or cycle ride you can fit into a convenient part of your day.
I had never been much of a believer in things like meditation and deep breathing, but I have to say these exercises did relax me and, importantly for home working, leave me more focused afterwards. I have become more aware of my breathing, for example, and now find it easier to anticipate when things are getting on top of me – signaling that I might just need to stop for a while.
If you are busy and struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes you don’t feel you have the time to stop. However, a few minutes off definitely leave you more focused and ready to continue in a more productive manner.
One downside for me personally was the music, but after a little while I realized I could actually control this and turn it off! There is also a background noise of waves which I rather liked, and I found it helpful to leave this quietly in the background while I worked.
One of my favorite parts was the Zen garden; With a few clicks of the mouse you can design your own garden, rake the sand and rearrange things. I imagine many would be skeptical of the benefits of this but I truly urge you to give it a try. This section also offers some simple games which were a great five-minute distraction.
Sometimes if you are feeling panicked or stressed, just a few minutes of distraction can leave you refocussed for the rest of the day.
Obviously, an online Thrive app is no substitute if you need face to face medical assistance with stress and anxiety, and the app does make this quite clear suggesting when it might be appropriate to look for other help.
Personally, I found it good to have something constantly on hand and at an affordable price. I will definitely continue to use it and would recommend to others. For anyone worried about confidentiality, the Thrive app states the following:
“Thrive is confidential to each user. The mood meter is personal to you, along with all your activity within the app. All data is encrypted at rest and held in secure servers in London, UK.”