I Got One Hand in My Pocket and a Mind Free of Worry
We learned about the possibility of offering a guided self-help tool from our Program Manager, Steven Rubin, MSW, who used a tool on Mentegram and found it quite helpful. This is his report:
“You may be wondering how an app can possibly help you stop overshopping and overspending. I was pondering a similar question when I first downloaded Mentegram to address my anxiety and depression. I was skeptical. Yet, it was instrumental in helping me to:
1.Become aware of my automatic and distorted thoughts.
2.Witness the visceral connection between those thoughts and my feeling anxious, lousy about myself, and depressed.
I found it to be a calming, reflective tool. I could feel the physiological effect both as I was using it and the effect continued afterwards too. My body felt more relaxed. By initially focus on my breathing and then answering the questions, I think my heart rate slowed down, although I didn’t wear a monitor. Instead of racing along with my thoughts, I now had the ability to watch them as they were trying to run away with me.
It’s an exercise in mindfulness to use this tool.
I felt as thought I had a wise, soothing coach in my back pocket 24/7 that helped me be accountable to my own goals. The tool helped me to evaluate my distorted thought patterns, in order to make more thoughtful, healthier decisions. In fact, just knowing I had that friend in my back pocket gave me a sense of reassurance and calm.
Putting in the work to develop and maintain a relationship with this digital friend takes commitment, patience, and restraint.
Here are my tips on how to use the tool most effectively:
- Set time reminders: Make routine reminders that remind you to use the tool each time you have the urge to shop or spend. Hold yourself accountable. Momentum is extremely important when using any sort of self monitoring treatment tool.
- Answer each question thoughtfully and thoroughly*. You may think skipping a question is no big deal but each question builds on the previous one so you are potentially compromising your results if you skip questions or give them short shrift.
- Set realistic expectations: Unless you use the tool consistently, you’re unlikely to see the results that you are hoping for and that you could be achieving. Your urges are unlikely to decrease in frequency and/or strength until you’ve committed to engage with this tool practically every time The Urge Strikes.
Using The Urge Strikes in conjunction with doing some work with a coach trained in this model could be even more of a jumpstart. To find our more about how you can incorporate guided self-help coaching into your use with the app click here.
*Mentegram doesn’t yet have a feature that makes it mandatory to complete each question. That is your job!
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.