New “Check In” iPhone App: Provides Daily Emotional Support

A new iPhone app released today by the Institute for Health Solutions provides daily emotional support from a science-based approach to stress. Instead of offloading stress by eating, drinking, spending or overworking, people can switch their brain state from stress to well-being using simple mental practices and a few touches of this new iPhone app.

According to Joe Mellin, the director of development at the Institute and the app’s developer: “People wanted ready access to the tools and the mobile device provided an easy answer. People were suffering through a tense staff meeting, with one co-worker popping antacids and another with clenched teeth and wanted to use the tools. Now people can get daily emotional support with a few touches of the screen. It is a convenient way to be more relaxed and productive at work or at home.”

This new iPhone app that provides this daily emotional support is based on Emotional Brain Training (EBT), a neuroscience-based method that was developed at the University of California, San Francisco and has proved effective for stress and mood by Laurel Mellin, associate clinical professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics and director of the EBT Center of Excellence in the Center for Health and Community. She says, “Emotional Brain Training is based on emerging research that shows that mood management is not one size fits all. The brain moves through five different states depending upon the level of stress. Using the same mental process for each of the states compromises results. That’s why most people complain that they can’t meditate when they are stressed.”

The new iPhone app, Check In, gives the user the tools to identify their brain state, and then select the tool that is most effective in decreasing stress when in that state. It has two new main features. One is the Brain State Finder, that people can use to identify their emotional state on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the optimal state of flow, clarity, and productivity and 5 being overwhelmed, confused and stressed out. The second feature is “Get to 1.” For that brain state, it coaches the user through the mental process to return to that state of optimal functioning and flow. Video and audio support included in the app make learning the method easy.

The method is also available through health professionals who are Certified EBT providers locally or through coaching and groups by telephone. The method was first developed to treat obesity in children as the Shapedown Program, and later adapted to weight loss for adults, then to treat the range of stress symptoms.

While the nation is focusing problems such as obesity, depression, anxiety, and addictions, research is suggesting that these are primarily just symptoms of stress. Emotional Brain Training offers a way to process stress more effectively, decreasing the frequency and duration of stress episodes and with it the cascade of stress hormones that impact health in deleterious ways.

According to the app’s developer Joe Mellin, “The launch of Check In is step forward in meeting the mission of Emotional Brain Training: supporting a new paradigm in health care: switch from treating the symptoms of stress, such as obesity, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure to treating the stress itself.”

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