A powerful therapeutic ally in the form of a remarkably simple and charming app
Size: 74.6 MB
Seller: Peter Wieben
The App Store is offering more and more apps designed to promote good mental health – from meditation apps to mood-trackers and simple ambient noise generators. A new app called Worrydolls, however, aims to tackle anxiety head-on, and does so in a way that’s remarkably clever, yet incredibly simple.
You may have heard of “worry dolls.” These small handmade dolls, which originate from Guatemala, are traditionally given to anxious children – the child is told that if you tell the doll your worries, those worries will disappear, as if by magic.
Although this might sound like hokum, the theory behind worry dolls makes a lot of sense. Through voicing their fears, children are able to externalize the problem, making it seem less intimidating and more manageable as a result. As such, worry dolls have been used in therapeutic settings by child psychologists and psychiatrists for years.
Well, who’d have thought it, but worry dolls can work for grown-ups, too – at least, that’s the thinking behind this new iPhone app.
Worrydolls is beautifully simple. On launch, you’re presented with a new doll and encouraged to fill in the blank section with a worry or fear that is bugging you. Your answer is attached to that particular worry doll and appears along the bottom of the screen – the idea being that this virtual doll will take ownership of your worry, so it will bother you less.
As you add more worries, your collection of dolls increases. The dolls themselves are really charming – they’re digitally hand-drawn and mimic the look of traditional worry dolls really well.
There’s no option of customizing the appearance of particular dolls, which is a shame – some users might have valued this kind of feature. But this is certainly no deal-breaker: the virtual worry dolls are lovely, and it’s a nice surprise to see the new faces and figures the app generates.
So what happens when you’ve added a worry doll in the app? By tapping on that doll you have three further options: you can tell the doll that you’re worrying right now (effectively logging the worry), you can tell the doll something else (adding to the worry), or you can list the worry as “finished.”
In this way, the app offers people with anxiety a way of cataloging and ordering their anxious thoughts – thoughts which often run away on their own, amplifying and evolving in the process.
By telling your thoughts to a worry doll, you’re forced to think that anxious thought through; it may be that the process helps you rationalize that thought, reframe it in a more positive light, or call on strategies which you’ve used in the past.
And by looking over worries which you’ve marked as “finished” – worries which you’ve effectively beaten – you’re better equipped to deal with new anxieties more successfully.
Revisiting historic worries which are no longer an issue is a proven way to tackle anxiety, especially if you suffer with irrational fears. The app encourages this through crowning old dolls and celebrating your triumphs over previous worries. You also have the option of telling the doll more about how the worry ended, and whether the outcome was as bad as you’d expected it to be.
This is a simple app – there’s no doubt about it. A menu button in the top-left lets you switch between current worries and old worries, and a further icon lets you share the app with others if you wish to spread the word to anxious friends.
Best of all? Worrydolls is a free download, with no hidden costs or IAPs. For a novel, charming, and potentially effective way to manage anxiety and keep troublesome worries at bay, download Worrydolls and let someone else help carry your worries for you.