Iso Ups and Downs: What the Christian 'Soultime' App Has Discovered With its Mood Tracker – Hope 103.2

Iso Ups and Downs: What the Christian ‘Soultime’ App Has Discovered With its Mood Tracker

By Clare BruceTuesday 12 May 2020

When the Soultime meditation and mindfulness app was first launched in 2018, it was amid a rapidly growing demand among Christians for inner healing ministry.

Mark Wagner, the app’s UK-based founder, was neck-deep in running an organisation that facilitated therapeutic, face to face prayer sessions. It was so successful that the wait- list had snowballed, and clients were waiting six months for just one appointment. That was when Mark knew it was time to scale his ministry—using technology.

Working with app developers, he launched Soultime: a faith-based app that leads people in times of meditation, devotion and inner healing prayer.

Fast-forward to March, 2020—and the Soultime team were busily preparing to launch a new feature to their app: ‘Soultime With Friends’. It’s a mood-tracking tool, using artificial intelligence, that – with the user’s permission – alerts friends if the user needs a phonecall for some support and encouragement.

Little did they know how timely that feature would be, with a pandemic putting virtually the whole world in isolation – and bringing all the mood swings that come with that – only a month later.

Belle Quinlan, who has been with the Soultime team from the start, spoke to Hope 103.2 about the growth of the app’s popularity over the past year. She said it offers a unique experience for people wanting a Christ-centred meditation experience.

Helping People Connect With Their Emotions and God

Woman with earphones in eyes closed

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“When we launched, there were already apps like ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’ helping people with mindfulness and meditation, but there was nothing in the Christian arena that combined meditation with faith, and worked with emotional and spiritual health in the way that we wanted to – in a gentle and empathetic way,” Belle said.

“A lot of the meditation apps are about relaxing and emptying the mind – but what we want to do is to bring God into the picture… so the app helps people to do that.”

Soultime

The app (pictured) features everything from short three-minute meditations that help busy folks to stop and breathe for a moment, to longer mediation series that dive into topics like Anxiety, Relationships, Anger, Despair, Hope, and Sleep; as well as a 62-question personality test that gives you a detailed report on how you connect with yourself, others and God, along with by tailored suggestions of meditations to try.

Its new mood-tracking tool helps people to identify how they’re feeling about themselves, others and God.

“Research in psychology shows that being able to identify and acknowledge how you feel is one of the first important steps towards being able to process that emotion and walk through it to the other side,” Belle said.

“Our mood tracker feature uses artificial intelligence to learn what a bad day looks like for you, so if you are someone whose mood doesn’t go up and down very much, our app can still spot when you’re feeling low.

“We think this feature could be so powerful in helping us connect with each other during this time. No one feels like reaching out to their friends when they’re really low, but if a friend calls at just the right time it can be exactly what we needed. “

The Ups and Downs of Isolation

Young woman holding phone sitting outside -

During the Covid-19 season of isolation, the Soultime team has been able to follow, in general, how people who are using the app are faring.

“We don’t track people individually, as privacy is very important, but what we’re finding in general is that people collectively are having a real mixture of up days and down days and weeks,” Belle said.

“At the very beginning [of the pandemic], understandably everyone’s mood was quite low, then we got to a couple of weeks ago, where I think everyone was a bit more in the groove of lockdown life and they were, on the whole, feeling much more upbeat.

“Interestingly just over the last week, everyone’s mood has started to drop again. This could be due to anxiety about what is going to happen next, or getting fed up with social isolation. Just as we have good days and bad days, we appear both globally and in different nations to have particular up and down days and weeks.”

Advice for Self-Care During Lockdown

For those who are finding lockdown a little difficult, Belle’s advice is to not expect too much of yourself.

“The biggest advice I would give people is be really kind to yourself,” she said. “This is the first time we have been in a situation like this in peacetime, and we have to remember that we are experiencing a type of collective trauma and grief. It’s ok to have days where you feel really sad, anxious, frustrated or blue about it.

“In the early days of lockdown we had a lot of stuff coming out telling us to use this time to be really productive, to learn a new skill, to see this as an opportunity, to get creative. Taking up a new hobby is not bad advice in itself, but I think we can sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves – and so I think it’s really important not to have high expectations during this time and give yourself a lot of grace.

“It’s okay if you haven’t mastered five instruments and learnt two new languages by the end of lockdown!”

She also added that self-care is crucial.

“It’s okay if you haven’t mastered five instruments and learnt two new languages by the end of lockdown!”

“Practice being kind to yourself by doing things like using a meditation app, calling a friend, having a bubble bath, giving yourself time out when you can, doing some gentle exercise – that you enjoy doing.

“Limit how much you watch or read the news at the moment if it’s getting you down. I’ve personally stopped watching any movies or series that are at all traumatic, so as not to give my brain any more difficult emotions to process than it already has.

“In the therapeutic world we call what I’ve suggested as a part of ‘good self-care’, and I think this is especially important at this time.”

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