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WEEK TWELVE - Pacifica Digital Friday

What does it do?

Can you hear that? It's the sound of an approaching exam, or some other deadline. And it's getting louder. It can be frightening, because it's big and it'll be here sooner than you think. How do you cope with the pressure? Are you even coping?

Everyone deals with the stresses of deadlines and exams differently, but somehow we all feel like we have to face it alone, and without any help apart from caffeine or doughnuts. If you're already starting to stress out at what's in store over the next few weeks then this week's app Pacifica may be what you need. Pacifica is a little different to some of the apps we've featured on Digital Friday so far, because it's not about productivity or working smarter or sharing and collaborating - it's about you. Just you - and your state of mind. It's a great tool to help you recognise and manage low mood, anxiety and stress, so if this exam time is getting to you, maybe you can start to do something about it with Pacifica.

How does it work?

Pacifica draws heavily on ideas and techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but also on ideas of mindfulness and self-care. CBT is underpinned by a lot of positive research, and there's also a growing body of evidence about the effectiveness of mindfulness, so this is not some 'new age' feelgood app - it's rooted in sound therapeutic practice.

Once you've set up a free account you can look at three areas of your wellbeing - Mood, Health and Relaxation. You can create and maintain a Mood Diary, keeping a track of your patterns of mood and describing how you feel in detail if you wish. This act of reflection can be, in itself, a therapeutic process. Similarly, you can track your sleep and exercise via the Health Diary and also set goals and targets for sleep and exercise. Finally, Relaxation provides several exercises for breathing, muscles and even takes you through the more sophisticated (but rewarding) process of visualisation.

The menu allows you to get an overview of your activities related to wellbeing and relaxation. You can check progress over time to see if there are patterns in your mood or sleep based on your attempts to relax or take exercise. Community allows you to view comments and observations from Pacifica users - often supportive and encouraging words from others facing similar challenges can be helpful. You can browse comments or filter them by subject - when you're ready, you can even post your own comments sharing your story or seeking advice. Groups allows you to set up or join closed community groups for support appropriate to your needs - there are many Exam and University/College groups consisting of people going through the same processes you are. There's even access to a Therapist service should you be seeking more personalised assistance.

Pacifica is very hot on data protection and privacy, which you'd like to think was true of all online services which use your data. However, there's an extensive Privacy Policy to set your mind at rest.

When would you use it?

This is the perfect tool for Students in the lead-up to exams or dissertations. If you're fortunate enough to be pragmatic, organised and calm in the face of the challenge of exams then you're lucky - the rest of us can do with all the help we can get. True, there are lots of ways to achieve the same levels of calm and wellbeing that don't involve use of an app or a monthly subscription, but Pacifica might just be worth it if it gets you up to and beyond those final exams on an even keel.

Getting started

Here's an ultra-short promo video from the makers of Pacifica, focusing on the app version;

And here's a review of the functions and performance of the app (this time focusing on the Web version) - it's taken from a counselling standpoint, but it gives you a good overview;

Where can I access it?

You can access Pacifica via their webpage or as an app for your phone or smart device (downloadable via the iOS App Store and Google Play).

The basic version of Pacifica is free, but upgrading to a Premium subscription allows access to around 40 different Meditations and relaxation exercises, to the four Guided Paths, each one providing an audio-based holistic course of improvement, and a variety of brain-focused exercises in the Thoughts section.

The Premium subscription is available on several terms - Monthly ($8.99), Yearly ($53.99 or $4.50 per month) or you can even take out a Lifetime subscription for a one-off payment of $199.99.

What do you think of Digital Friday?

You can comment on Digital Friday or suggest other tools or applications to be included in future - we'd love to hear from you!

Credits:

Created with images by RogerMosley - "beach pacific coastline ocean coast pacific sea"

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