I have always had stress. It just comes with the territory of advertising and marketing. The business is demanding, sometimes 24/7 and clients are notorious for last minute requests. And in new business pitches are only a few weeks from beginning to end and require 14-16 hour days and weekends. Add to your day raising two children and managing a household and you have a recipe for high blood pressure, insomnia, rashes and other effects of stress. TODAY Moms surveyed 7,000 moms back in May and collectively ranked their stress levels at 8.5 out of 10. That’s some seriously stressed out women.
Fortunately I don’t have high blood pressure. I don’t sleep through the night though. I typically de-stress at the gym. It’s the one place I don’t have any responsibilities. My daughter typically goes into her room and sings and walks out a new person. I have friends who swear by yoga, but I need something with more energy to release my stress. Whatever your methodology, it’s important to find something that works for you.
I was recently invited to a focus group to talk to the creator of an anti-stress app called iDStress, an app created in Europe by Ana Lombard, a psychotherapist based in Barcelona. She specializes in relaxation with degrees in sophrology and craniosacral osteopathy and founder of the Enlace Center and specializes in relaxation therapy utilizing her training in psychotherapy, sophrology and Master’s degree in craniosacral osteopathy. She is the founder of the Enlace Center in Barcelona for conventional and alternative medicine where various specialists work together to offer patients balanced treatment for both the body and the mind. Ana believes that a well-managed mind helps heal the body and the regenerated body enables us to live our fullest lives.
According to iDStress, approximately 75% of the population today faces stress every two weeks (National Health Interview Survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention). This stress is contributed to manifestations of physical illness including, among others, muscle aches – 17%, or backache – 30%.
Can the very technology that causes some of my stress actually help solve my stress?
iDStress begins with 20 questions developed from the studies of Hans Selye, an endocrinologist often acknowledged as the first to demonstrate the existence of biological stress. Surprisingly my result said I was in the “Alertness Phase” and doing a fine job managing my stress. But then again I’m out of the ad world and working for a media company.
The three phases:
User is aware of their stress and should continue to actively manage stress to keep it at low levels
User is not managing stress effectively and unaware that physical weakness is closely linked to stress levels
User is experiencing chronic states of stress and at risk of serious health complications
I would have loved to have taken my blood pressure and my pulse before and after the “panic button” exercise. But I must admit that the exercise forced me to stop and focus on what was being said versus my usual hyper-tasking mentality. The exercise was eight minutes, the voice was very relaxing and it really didn’t seem that long.
iDStress gives you seven different exercises for use in different life situations.
For general mind and body relaxation – 15 minutes
For improvement of concentration and attention span – 18 minutes
For serenity during pregnancy and building a connection with your baby – 15 minutes
For peaceful and restorative sleep – 12 minutes
For proper oxygenation of body and brain – 11 minutes
For mind and body conditioning to recover internal balance with a simple gesture – 15 minutes
For use during stressful situations in life as they arise – 8 minutes
And there’s some built-in gamification, which had me hooked right from the onset. I managed to rack up 57 points while the background of the app was being explained to us.
The feature called “Elements” reminds me of worry stones many people rub to calm themselves. My favorite is “Touch The Water” Element where simply running your finger over your iPhone causes ripples in the water. The “Blow The Air” Element lets you send the dried fluff of a dandelion flying off the stem by blowing into the base of your phone.
The app also features:
• Alerts to remind you to actively manage your stress
• Is available in English, Spanish and French
• The basic iDStress app is free and the full app with all exercises can be purchased for $3.99 on the iOS App Store.
How do you control your stress?