"There's an app for that."
This phrase would have made little sense even just 15 years ago! I remember we were just realizing that we could send text messages from our flip phones right about then!
Today, as we all know, is very different.
Many have written about the issues that have been created by the saturation of technology, screens and the abundance of notifications many receive on a daily basis.
I absolutely believe there is a need for us to fast from these items from time to time. How often? It depends on the person.
However, I also see how technology has improved our lives.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a geek when it comes to tech.
Over the years, I have explored how technology and their applications (apps!) can benefit us in our lives and not merely harm us.
At Bethel University I have been able to play a small role in a new initiative called the Wellbeing Initiative led by my friend Christine Osgood.
Wellbeing is the pursuit of being whole. It is having peace (or shalom in Hebrew) with God, others and even yourself.
Wellbeing is a deep concept.
It has six components to it. Each area will affect all the others when they are experiencing stress or dis-ease:
There are a lot of ways that technology can help us in our pursuit of wellbeing! Today, I want to share my experience with one specific piece of technology and that is: THE SMARTPHONE.
The 5th limb many of us have attached to our bodies.
Below are some apps I have tried recently or use currently that I have found helpful in the pursuit of wellbeing. I assume that they ALL won't be helpful for ALL people. But I bet there is at least one or two that would be helpful for you.
Give some a try!
Here are the apps as displayed on my iPhone. Below, I have links and descriptions!
I hope this is as helpful for you as it has been for me. It takes perseverance, creativity, and adaptability to pursue wellbeing in this loud and busy time in our hectic world.
We may not all have the luxury to have quiet or alone time all that often. Ask someone who lives in a major city in Asia, a parent of toddlers or someone who can't afford a home with their own room.
Alone time is a very privileged thing.
So if you can have it - USE IT. If you can't get alone - use what you have, even if it's just "an app they have for that!"
(click on the names of each app below for links! Most are iPhone version links but many have Android as well.)
This is the app of choice for me when wanting to look something up in the Bible or look at various versions of the Bible. For readability, I suggest these versions: NIV, NLT, The Message
I am one of the millions of people around the world who daily read these Old Testament and New Testament passages every day as well as some "watchword" scripture verses that stand alone. I encourage those in my community at Mill City Church to read it and we do a reading from it monthly in our worship service.
All together it takes about 5-10 minutes unless you spend more time meditating on the passage. It also includes a prayer. It is available here as well both online and you can order a book. You can even sign up to have it emailed to you daily!
But I prefer the link above. It is to a church that somehow has magically gotten the text to be displayed on their website every day with LINKS to the passages. I heart links. As you can see in the image above, I made it look like an app on my home screen. Click here to learn how to do that.
I LOVE this app. Beautiful music (often from around the world) and British people reading a passage to you? YES PLEASE. Try it.
These are the "daily office" readings from the Church of England. Once again, join with millions of people around the world and read these daily selections and prayers.
Shane Claiborne and some of his friends took the Book of Common Prayer and engage the topics of mercy and justice along with the prayers and readings. I read this when I need to mix things up in addition to the Moravian Text.
An oldy but a goodie, these are daily devotional readings from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. First published in 1935 - remarkably relevant today!
There are a lot of apps good for listening to podcasts. If you aren't a "podcast person" yet give it a go! There are fantastic sermons and podcasts that support your walk with God! Here are some of my faves!
Lead Stories Podcast with Jo Saxton and Pastor Steph - (shameless plug)
Mill City Church - (additional shameless plug)
Tampa Underground - I love this community even though they are states away. Seriously. My people. They have a diverse teaching team as far as gender and ethnicity.
Lighthouse Minneapolis - My friend Pastor Dee is smart as a whip.
(I could go on and on - someday I will do a post of all the podcasts I listen to)
My favorite for workout tracking and healthy eating/food tracking.
My favorite app to determine how far I ran or how far I want to run. You can connect with friends!
This app reminds you to drink more water! Seriously.
Some people enjoy other journaling and note taking apps, but I am a diehard Evernote person. I got the version you pay for so that I can have it sync on all my devices. I have almost 1000 notes!
Podcasts make the list again for the cognitive section of the Wellbeing Wheel! I could list SO many here, but just two I am into right now:
The Road Back to You - based on the book about the Enneagram by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
Historically Black - this podcast came out in conjunction with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. It showcases stories like the one behind the popular movie Hidden Figures.
There are a lot of list making apps, but this one is my favorite. You can share lists with others. For instance, my husband and I have our shared grocery list on Wunderlist.
This app is not cheap. It's the most expensive app I have ever paid for. However, it is the central nervous system for how I organize my life. People often ask me how I can juggle my life between my jobs as a pastor, professor and podcaster - I usually just say, "very carefully." But I should say OmniFocus.
This app offers calming reminders for mindful breathing throughout your day!
This is an app that leads you through guided and timed meditation. When you need to clear your mind in order to focus at work or you are having trouble concentrating on what God is saying or doing around you - this can help!
Look into this app! It is "gaming your way to emotional health". Yes, it is an attempt to "gamify" the skills and actions that can help with depression and anxiety. It's fascinating.
It turns out just a little incentive from this game helps a lot of people pull through. It also has the ability to have others join you and cheer you on - they are your "allies"!
I am going to assume that most of you don't feel you need ANOTHER way for people to get ahold of you so I am only sharing this one app as something that can aid in relational connection. Voxer is a voice messaging system. It also has the ability to turn your phone into a walkie-talkie.
With some friendships and friend groups, this is an amazing and more personal way to connect. You can still hear someone's voice and their emotions without getting tied up in a call. Also, it's safer to use while in the car because you are listening to others and not looking at the screen.
Finally, the greatest thing is that you can speed your friend's voices up 4x as fast. I will give major Steph Points to anyone who can understand me at 4x given the speed at which I talk at 1x.
Meaning is an important aspect of Wellbeing. It is essential to all the other components in that often this is the motivation to pursue wellbeing in the first place! What is your purpose? What gets you up in the morning? This is what meaning is all about!
This is a daily gratitude journal. Did you know that gratitude and anxiety are mutually exclusive? Neuroscience has shown that if you make a list of what you are thankful for, you immediately decrease your anxiety level.
This is an app that helps you in building daily habits. It takes 21 days to make a habit... and 1 day to break it. Don't give up!
This app helps with tracking short-term habits like Strides. It also helps you track longer term goals like saving money or taking steps in your career.
Fun and Creativity
This is not a component on the Wellbeing Wheel technically, but I know it will impress my intensely fun-loving husband if I add it. Sometimes it's ok to use your phone for a little fun/creativity break for a while!
I love this for drawing! Especially on my iPad!
This is a fun game if you haven't played it yet. I really like that my avatar looks like she could be my sister!
Game with... dots. More than two actual dots.
Game with dice!
I hope you found something on this list helpful. Let me know what you try and how it works for you!