This tool will assist with:
- Planning and achieving long-term and shot-term goals
- Developing healthy habits
- Recognising achievements towards a goal
Balanced is an iPhone application produced by a Melbourne based independent developer. It is designed to motivate and support users to achieve positive and healthy tasks (such as being grateful or exercising more). Users can set their own tasks or chose from an extensive list and decide how often they would like to complete that activity.
With a satisfying swipe, users can indicate that they have completed an activity or have the option to skip. Gentle push notifications remind the user to complete an overdue task or congratulate them for achieving goals.
Driven by positive reinforcement, Balanced successfully encourages users to complete goals and adopt healthy habits into their lifestyle.
Where to access this tool
Balanced is free to download (with in-app purchases) and available on iPhone and iPod touch
Our professionals rated the app ★★★★☆
*** Special offer for ReachOut.com Professionals users ***
Follow the steps below to download the paid upgrade (usually $4.99) for FREE:
- Download the free Balanced app
- Click on "send feedback" within the app
- Mention ReachOut.com in your message to receive the free upgrade.
When to use Balanced
This tool can be used with young people of all ages with or without mental health difficulties to help them reach their goals and create greater meaning and fulfilment in their lives.
Balanced may be particularly useful for young people with organising and planning difficulties and for those with limited access to other forms of motivation (e.g. social or family support). The positive reinforcement approach may be useful for young people with mental health difficulties who may experience excessive feelings of guilt (for underachievement) and low self-esteem.
If a person suffers from a severe mental illness, they may need to discuss its use with a health professional prior to commencing, and may require support to set appropriate tasks and goals.
What young people thought of Balanced
- Clean, stylish and easy to use.
- Encourages users to think about activities in their life that affect their physical health, mental health and relationships.
- Allows the user to set their own timeline (e.g. once a day or once a month).
- Allows the user to view statistics on how they are going (only in the paid upgrade).
- Unobtrusive, gentle reminders and praise for completing tasks.
- The free version only allows the user to set five tasks. The paid upgrade ($4.99) allows the user to set unlimited tasks.
- The design may not appeal to all young people.
- There is limited explanation of statistics.
Professionals’ advice on using Balanced in practice
Balanced allows users to select up to five activities for free. At first users may be excited and want to purchase more activities (a bit like the euphoric and driven nature in which we make New Year’s resolutions, only to later find them all too hard to attain). It is recommended to start with only one or two activities, and then slowly add more if and as needed. Introducing five new activities all at once can soon become overwhelming and unachievable. It can also detract from the most important areas of need. If users want to purchase more activities, encourage them to discuss it with you first, to ensure that doing so will be beneficial to them.
Remember to take advantage of the “Write my own” activity function.
Tips for introducing the app:
- Introduce this tool with a young person after jointly established their goals OR after having reached a situation in therapy which required specific behavioural activation outside of therapy sessions.
- Start with one or two activities only and together determine how frequently the young person should try to them. After these initial activities have been completed on a regular basis over time, more activities can be added.
- In a mental health setting, pre-set activities such as “See a friend” and “Go outside” can be particularly relevant. You can also use the “Write my own” activities function to include specific relaxation techniques, such as “2 minutes of controlled breathing” or “5 minute imagery exercise.”
- Regularly review the app with the young person to assess progress and to intervene effectively when roadblocks to completing activities arise.
Advice from young people
This app would be useful as a self-directed activity, as it is so simple to understand. You can help a client use Balanced by checking in on how they’re going, or ask for reflection on any benefits or healthy habits that may have come about from using it.
Make sure the young person has time available in their schedule to achieve their set tasks.
This could also be used with students in a school setting to highlight the importance of achieving a sense of balance in life and the benefits this can have on mental and physical health.
This tool was reviewed by Michael and Georgia, young people from the ReachOut.com community. Professional advice was provided by Justine Stephens-Reicher (Psychologist).