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Tea Leaves

Can online wellness apps help solve our problems?

A surge in mental health and fitness apps is helping the world to cope

With the spread of COVID-19, online yoga classes are on the rise. Miuru Jayaweera, a professional yoga teacher, records a yoga session for online classes at her studio in Sri Lanka on April 19, 2020.   © Reuters

Every evening at 9 p.m., a soft "ping" sounds on my phone. It is a reminder to jot down a list of things I am grateful for that day. This is a chance for me to think back on the past 24 hours, and reflect on the fact that there were bright spots and happy moments, even on those days when time seemed to stretch on slowly and painfully, without any color or cheer to break the monotony of the lockdown.

The practice of offering gratitude, or "gratitude journaling," is not new. But to me it was one of the most important discoveries of the initial months of the pandemic, when I was shut at home in a new country, having recently moved from India to Malaysia. Just a few days ago, when I finished my short list of things to be thankful for, Presently -- the phone app I use -- popped up the message that I had completed 250 days of gratitude.

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