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This Is The Only App That Actually Helps Me Deal With My Anxiety

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Illustration by Sarah Lutkenhaus

Talking with the founder of Happy Not Perfect, Poppy Jamie

Pretty much everything makes me anxious, including trying to deal with my own anxiety. While I've overcome the fear of making the call to seek out a therapist, it feels near-impossible for me to take small steps every day to deal with my anxiety and stress load. And even though there are tons of apps out there designed to help me do things like track my mood or help me meditate, I had never found one that actually worked for me. This is probably due to many things, but mostly, it's my fear of inadequacy, which leads to an inability to function. And then there's the sterility of the apps themselves. All of the ones I'd tried looked similar, and didn't feel personal to me. And I definitely have trouble opening up to what feels like the app equivalent of a random stranger, because I have social anxiety on top of my regular anxiety.

The only app that has actually worked for me, and that I haven't purged from my phone less than a week after downloading, is Happy Not Perfect. And, speaking with the app's founder Poppy Jamie, I realized that it was probably because she consulted tons of experts to land on the iteration of the app that's now in use. And though the format of the app is informed by years of research, it doesn't have the sterile feel that you'd associate with a doctor's office. It feels uniquely personal and seems to know what I need when I need it.

Jamie consulted experts from a variety of fields related to mental health to tell her "the basics about what we should all know about our mental well-being" from a young age, which inspired her to make that knowledge more easily accessible for everyone. "We go to school for years, but we don't learn how to be human beings," she says. And, she found that "the smallest things can totally change your day, but very few people have access to professional resources."

Those conversations and "two years of research" on her end created Happy Not Perfect, which she says is "a five-minute experience that has 40 years of positive neuroscience" packed inside. Among the many professionals listed as the app's guides are a neuroscientist, a psychologist, a psychotherapist, breathing trainers (Jamie herself is certified), meditation specialists, and even a Buddhist monk. Each of them brought something different to the table, but Jamie found that many of their tips and tricks aligned with one another, which helped her map out the best ways to set up the app's daily ritual.

Photos courtesy of Happy Not Perfect

What resulted was a seven-step process, to be repeated each day, which changes slightly depending on how you feel. The first step is always a check-in on how you're feeling, and whichever adjective you choose (like, "ok," "weird," "in love," "meh," or "worried") leads you through a curated ritual, though it always follows a similar pattern that hits on all the necessary targets. And just by giving a name to the emotion you're feeling can help you to "start reducing the impact of painful emotions," and allow you to get a jump-start on working through what you're feeling.

After putting a label on your feelings, users are taken through a process that allows you to refocus your habits to help naturally reduce as much stress as possible. The second step is a breathing technique. Jamie notes that most of us are bad breathers (including me, she pointed out, to my surprise) and that the way we hunch our shoulders when we take breaths actually activates our fight-or-flight response. Simply breathing with your belly instead of your shoulders puts you at ease and makes you feel more relaxed, by activating your vagus nerve. Just with this one simple change, she says, "suddenly you're able to make better decisions, you're able to concentrate, and you're able to be more creative."

Other steps have users type out what they're feeling, which multiple specialists told Jamie was an important step when processing or dealing with emotions. "Journaling is one of the most powerful ways to look after your mind, because you start processing and digesting emotions," she says. As someone who has always felt too intimidated to journal, these steps were the most eye-opening for me. When I'm given a task, the look of a blank sheet of paper (or a blank document of any kind) makes me think about how I need to fill up the whole page with words and ideas, and can send me down a rabbit hole of anxiety that what I come up with won't be good enough. But with Happy Not Perfect, there's no judgment.

One step prompts you to write out what is worrying you so much, and when you're done, you can symbolically light all those bad vibes on fire (it's just a visual, so your phone won't catch fire with this step!). Another guides you to list a few things you're grateful for. By doing this on a daily basis, Jamie says it will start "stimulating brain chemicals like serotonin that make you feel good" and claims that you'll "start rewiring your brain to start looking for more things you can be grateful for every single day." Another, depending on how you're feeling, will ask you to set a goal for yourself (if you're having a good mental health day) or write a list of what you love about yourself (if you're going through a rough time and may need some encouragement).

The process seems like a lot, like a rigorous check on where your mind is. But when you open the app up, it feels like a breath of fresh air instead of the battleground between you and the anxiety you've kept pent up for the past 24 hours. The aesthetics of the app are designed to ensure that it doesn't feel too medical and that users don't feel overwhelmed when, say, they're being prompted to write out their innermost insecurities. And especially when I'm having a bad mental health day, being forced to think hard and reckon with what I'm feeling can cause a breakdown if I don't engage with myself in the right way, meaning, gently and with a healthy dose of distraction from my problem. But the app's design was made with this in mind, and thus makes you feel like you're not under any pressure.

Aesthetics and app design are too often overlooked in the sphere of mental health. And while something that seems as simple as text font or the background of a slide doesn't seem like it would make a world of difference, it actually can. Jamie worked with a design team for months to make sure that something so technical as an app to help with mental health didn't look sterile, "like you're going to a clinical doctor, because everybody always feels bad [there]." The result is a platform with bright colors and bold fonts, reminiscent of a bullet journal, but one for your mind.

Jamie knows that this isn't a stand-in for a mental health professional, though: "For some people seeking out professional help is absolutely critical, medication is critical, and it's amazing that there are resources and other apps out there that connect you with professionals," she says. " But for us, we just wanted to make sure that however you're feeling, you could check in for less than five minutes." Most people who go to therapy or seek guidance from professionals go into an office a couple of times per week, but Jamie argues that "you have to do something about your mental health every single day" to make sure it doesn't get overlooked.

This app doesn't cure your anxiety, and it doesn't fill the role of a doctor or therapist. It can, though, make the unbearable just a little easier to manage, so you can get to the doctor in one piece. And it has the ability to make something that seems so daunting, actually digestible.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube www.youtube.com

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

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Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale youtu.be

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

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Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.

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