App Review: Move Mood

From the awesome people who brought you Calm Harm and Combined Minds comes another amazing mental health app: Move Mood.

“Low mood and depression weigh you down. Instead, engage, initiate, and activate. Build your power to lift this weight.

Move Mood was developed for people with depression or other mood issues, but I think it could be helpful for anyone who has trouble doing The Thing. (The Thing is what I refer to as any activity that is important and helpful, but our brains do not want to let us do it for whatever reason. People with anxiety, ADHD, or many other diagnoses also struggle to do The Thing.)

Helping people get themselves to do The Thing is sometimes referred to as behavioral activation. Basically, this app helps you take steps to trick your brain into doing things that make you healthier and are associated with better mood.

“Now choose a companion to work with you and to help motivate you.”

After you give the app your name, you get to pick an adorable avatar to help you in your journey. There are shapes, characters, and critters to choose from, and you can go back and change it if you want to. After trying some different options out, mine is now a fox.

Setting some tasks

The app prompts you to choose three tasks to work towards. I found it difficult to decide what my top priorities were in each category, but I see the benefit of limiting the number of goals so that the user does not get overwhelmed.

You are prompted to choose a “routine task,” a “necessary task,” and an “enjoyable task.” There is overlap for the different kinds of tasks, so you can decide which things are enjoyable for you versus necessary. Options for tasks are presented based on what you indicate is your priority, with options like “managing my mental health” and “improving my physical well-being.” You can also create your own task, so it is fully customizable.

Customize Task

I told the app that I want to walk a short distance every day to improve my mental and physical well-being. The app prompted me to create a series of very specific steps that go into this task. These kinds of specific steps help if the task seems overwhelming (for example, some people have a hard time showering because the act of bathing has so many smaller steps) or they have trouble knowing where to start.

The app then notifies you at a pre-selected time to cue you to do The Thing.

Although Move Mood markets itself specifically for depression, I think this app is very helpful for someone who wants to form better habits, with a little virtual accountability and planning. It follows a lot of steps I have used with clients in sessions for behavioral activation and does so in a non-threatening and fun way.

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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