Our Pricing and Principles

It’s important for me to be completely transparent about how we intend to make money at Bearable, as it is inextricably linked to our values and responsibilities as a company, not least due to the sensitive nature of information our users will be recording in our app.

This is something that has become even more relevant in recent years, after the scandal with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, who were selling and exploiting people’s data in a completely non-transparent and unethical way, which resulted in an understandable lack of trust in companies’ handling of personal data.

With this in mind, I want to emphasise that we will never sell our users’ data to anyone. Companies tend to resort to this out of desperation or greed.

So how do we intend to maintain the balance of making enough money whilst still retaining our integrity and ethical principles?

    • Our main goal is to try and improve people’s lives by helping them to reclaim control over their health.  This is paramount and will never be sacrificed for greed.  In order to facilitate this main goal, we need to make at least enough to maintain the app and make incremental improvements based on our users’ feedback and requests.
    • There needs to be a business-minded approach. We would be doing an injustice to our users and ourselves by going into this without any financial structure, as any benefits people might get from the app would be unsustainable if we ultimately ran out of money.
    • We want to be affordable for all, whilst also providing a free version that allows users to still experience most of the app’s most useful features.

It’s been quite eye-opening going from app user to app provider.  I was once someone who questioned the ethics of app providers (particularly health-related apps) in charging a subscription for their product. However, now that I’m on the other side, I’ve become much more understanding, having truly seen the number of resources required to create and, more importantly, maintain an app.  I personally now try to compare app subscription prices to the benefits of other products I spend money on. For instance, if I think I’ll derive more lasting benefits from using an app almost every day for a month than say, one or two similarly priced cups of coffee, then it’s clearly worth it for me.

When you use Bearable I want you to know that you can trust our motivations behind creating the app and it’s so vitally important to us that you feel safe and secure in knowing what’s happening with your data. Please take a good look at our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy to develop a further understanding of our processes and feel free to email me personally with any questions at james@bearable.app.

The Origins of the Bearable App

Having suffered with my own chronic health conditions, I know all too well the frustration of coming out of an appointment with my doctor or therapist knowing that I hadn’t been able to give them a full and clear picture to allow them to make a better assessment of me.

This is unsurprisingly a very common frustration when you consider the brain fog and general difficulty thinking straight that comes along with many mental and physical health conditions.

This often leads to no diagnosis, a very tentative diagnosis, or at worst, a misdiagnosis. Speaking from personal experience this then sets off a wild goose chase as you go from consultant to consultant in search of answers, in addition to the hours spent on Dr. Google.

I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, so I started tracking my mood, symptoms and other daily factors, in the hope that it would help me to understand, and thus feel more in control of, my health.  On the bad days, let’s face it, no-one really wants to write much detail, if anything at all.  So I created a simple one-click rating method for my mood and symptoms using a spreadsheet with the option to add a note if I felt up to it.  This simple process not only helped me to spot some patterns and provide health professionals with more detail but also had a few unexpected benefits:

1. Therapeutic
Journaling made me feel like a weight was being removed, almost as if I was sharing the burden of emotions I had attached to the days’ issues and events.

2. Purpose
Making journaling a daily habit gave me some sense of purpose, especially on the days I was unable to do much else. I always felt like I had done one positive thing for the day.

3. Perspective
When you are having a bad day it’s easy to get caught in the moment worrying that you will always feel that way. Also, with the brain’s natural negativity bias you are more likely to remember the bad days. Journalling provided a sense of perspective. Now I look back at bad days, which at the time felt like an eternity, only to see they often actually lasted just a few hours, and soon realised that I had a lot more good days than I first thought.

Once I started to step back and think of those difficult moments simply as tiny coloured blobs of information amongst my hundreds of other journal entries, I found I was much less likely to get stuck in the moment and spiral into anxiety, as I was more confident that those moments would pass, as they had done before.

“It seemed like the more information I collected, the more knowledge I gained about my mind and body and thus, the more in control I started to feel.”

However, recording into spreadsheets and word documents every day was not very convenient and had several limitations. I looked for other apps, but many were narrowly focused on one particular health factor or condition, often feeling clinical and unsatisfying to use, or were slow and overcomplicated, without providing any useful insights.

Thus the idea for the Bearable app was born. I set out to create something people could enter into on the go, which recognised the importance of the connection between the mind and body. I wanted somewhere people could keep their mood and symptom entries in one place together with other health factors such as sleep, diet, exercise, medication, supplements, etc. It makes no sense to me to keep all this health data in separate apps when each can greatly impact one another.

The most important thing for me was to make the entry process effortless and satisfying enough for people to make it a daily habit, but with the option to go into more detail if they wanted. In that sense, I would have an app that could be as simple or as complex as the user wanted it to be.

Tracking Mental & Physical Health together

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The Mind-body connection

Once a theory met with much skepticism, an increase in scientific evidence has made sure there can be no denying the effects the mind has on the body.  Our thoughts and feelings have been repeatedly shown to cause physiological and biochemical changes in our body.

For example, people suffering with depression are more likely to develop IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), heart disease, psoriasis and many more physical ailments.

It also works the other way, as people suffering with migraines, allergies and numerous inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis) are much more likely to develop depression.  While it’s tempting to believe that these individuals are purely depressed due to their constant discomfort, theories are emerging that it’s the inflammation process itself that may actually be causing depression, something discussed at length by Edward Bullmore in his book “The Inflamed Mind”.

Yet, despite all of the evidence, the mind-body connection is still often overlooked, with many health professionals continuing to treat symptoms over the root cause.

In her book “Cure – A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body” Jo Marchant speaks to an NHS (National Health Service) doctor:  “We are increasingly pushed to see more patients in less time.” It’s a trend he fears is contributing to a loss of empathy among medical professionals (and in turn to scary rates of depression and burnout)”

This was one of the motivators behind me creating the Bearable App.  A lack of resources, as in the NHS, means that health professionals often don’t really have the time to really get to know their patients in order to get to the root cause of their issues.

While this remains unavoidable, being able to come prepared with a neat health diary, detailing not only physical symptoms, but also mental health markers such as mood, stress and anxiety levels, can really help health professionals make a more efficient and accurate assessment of each patient.  When you consider the brain fog that often accompanies many health conditions, even remembering your symptoms alone can be difficult, let alone your mood fluctuations, especially when feeling pressured by the limited time you have to get everything across to your health professional.

For this reason we’ve tried to make our entry process as simple and accessible as possible, with only a few simple clicks per day needed to accumulate some really useful information, without even having to write anything unless you feel the need to go into more detail.  Even other health data such as sleep, steps, weight, blood pressure and heart rate can be uploaded automatically from Apple Health/Google Fit to see alongside your mood and symptoms.

Let’s look at some other ways journaling can help nourish the mind-body connection:

1. Belief shifts biology – Overcome self-doubt

When someone is given a placebo that they believe to be a painkiller, their brain produces its own natural versions of morphine (known as endogenous opioids), which produce a very evident reduction in pain. Clearly then the pain is not ‘all in the mind’. As far as current research goes, the brain produces what it needs to produce to give us what we expect to happen. Expectation and belief shift biology.

How journaling can help:  Regularly noting down your thoughts can help you to notice the stories you’re telling yourself that could be holding you back from making healthy changes.  You can then challenge these negative beliefs. Examine your excuses and ask yourself whether they are indeed true, and why you’ve been so sure. Eventually, you can create a new story for yourself. You’ll start to build trust that you can keep up healthy habits, such as journaling and even using our gratitude feature to make sure you find at least one positive in the day.mood tracker bullet journal app symptoms tracker diary best app mobile depression anxiety

2. Notice the physical effects of emotions – Feel more in control

Emotions are much more than just our ‘feelings’. Just as we can’t detach an emotion from its impact on facial muscles, we can’t separate feeling an emotion from a series of corresponding brain chemistry changes.  Our emotions can alter blood flow, increase or decrease heart rate, and even increase or decrease the production of specific hormones. For example, when you feel stressed, stress hormones such as cortisol are released, which can impact digestion, and as a result produce symptoms such as indigestion.

How journaling can help:   Keeping a record of your fluctuating moods helps bring your attention to how your physical symptoms might present themselves depending on whether you feel happy, loved, optimistic, stressed, upset or angry.  Once you start to notice patterns you might start to feel more in control of your symptoms, comforted in the knowledge that you have experienced them before as a result of certain emotions and as they did then, will soon pass. As you continue to learn about the physical impact of your own feelings, good and bad, this will only serve to nourish your mind-body connection.

symptom tracker health journal diary bearable app

Most applications understandably want to keep things simple, therefore focusing solely on individual health components, resulting in many mood diaries, symptom trackers, fitness trackers and food diaries.  But I believe it makes no sense to keep all of these things separate when you consider the effect each can have on one another. That’s why I created Bearable.