Jasmine Chen, the creator of the LIFE Intelligence app, is passionate about Mental Health Awareness Month and about democratizing access to mental healthcare. So after starting her career in finance, working in investment banking, private equity, and a hedge fund, Chen decided to apply her analytical background to innovate digital health.
Chen saw a trend of high-achieving professionals who wanted to practice self-care and self-development in an efficient, practical, and more private approach. Because of that, she decided to create the LIFE Intelligence app.
Mental Health Awareness Month
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we sat down with Chen to learn more about the LIFE Intelligence app, how self-care and beauty affect our mental health, and her best hair tips and tricks.
What is the LIFE Intelligence app?
“I noticed that high-achieving professionals wanted to practice self-care and self-development. This is because they desired a more efficient, practical, and private approach,” Chen shares. “So, I decided to build a mobile app that could teach psychological problem-solving concepts on the go.
“Today, LIFE Intelligence is one app to feel and do your best in quite literally all areas of your LIFE. Your self, career, and relationships. To feel your best, a mood tracker and emotional management toolkit provides on-demand exercises drawn from therapy. To do your best, bite-sized readings and reflections inform and help you introspect as if with a leadership coach or relationship counselor. Finally, our mission is to make the breadth of such coping and communication skills affordable and accessible to all.”
How to Improve Your Mental Health Today
The first thing the LIFE intelligence app teaches is how to develop something called emotional granularity. This is the ability to precisely label your emotions.
“Emotions are fundamentally tied to human cognitions and behaviors,” Chen says. “Yet, we often simply say we feel “bad” or “blah,” and don’t feel comfortable identifying and expressing the exact emotion. This can lead to emotional expressions that confuse those around us. For example, maybe we really feel insecure, but we display anger because we don’t feel comfortable labeling the emotion of insecurity.
“Research finds that people with emotional granularity are less prone to maladaptive behaviors like binge drinking and aggression and experience less severe anxiety and depression. They even are less reactive to rejection! Labeling your emotions on LIFE’s handy emotion wheel/mood tracker is a fun and free first step anyone can use to track how they feel.”
Self Care as it Correlates to Mental Health
Beauty self-care has become a common way for us to express our love for ourselves.
Chen says there is absolutely a connection between self-care and mental health!
“First, there’s the physiological-mental connection between taking care of your body and mind,” she shares. “It is estimated that 90% of the body’s serotonin (commonly called the “happy” chemical) is made in the digestive tract. That means your diet, exercise, and water intake is not only good for your skin and hair – it’s also great for your mental health. These forms of self-care are scientifically proven to act as the first line of defense against depression!”
Therefore, Chen also stresses that how we feel about ourselves, AKA our self-esteem is super important. Beauty self-care has become a common way for us to express our love for ourselves.
“Beauty self-care has become a wonderful way for us to express our love for ourselves,” Chen says. “In LIFE, we teach a distinction between high and secure self-esteem. High but fragile self-esteem can hinge on achievements and social comparison. Social media and unattainable beauty standards have often been blamed as negative to our mental health.
Beauty and Confidence in 2021
“However, I think the way we see the beauty and social media is changing drastically. As a result, people with secure high self-esteem feel stable about themselves across situations. Whether they’re wearing makeup or not, whether they’re scrolling social media or not, they accept themselves fully. And I think that modern beauty self-care is all about this latter type of self-esteem. Today’s beauty self-care teaches body positivity, feeling comfortable in your own skin, having fun and experimenting with makeup, hairstyles, or clothing, sharing product recommendations with a supportive community, and celebrating shared and unique characteristics.”
Chen also shares that beauty self-care can serve as a practical form of behavioral activation therapy. Because of that, she says that for people who experience depression, behavioral activation therapy is one approach that involves taking small actions to get moving.
Many of these actions can be acts of beauty self-care, whether that’s taking a bath, putting on skincare, brushing your hair, or making time for a hair mask!
Jasmine Chen’s Hair Care Tips
“My go-to hairstyle used to be using hot rollers for easy waves in minutes,” she says. “I’ve had long hair all my life, until very recently when I decided I wanted something with even less maintenance. I now have a lob and don’t regret the chop at all. Perhaps LIFE has helped me let go of my attachment to long locks!”
Editor’s Tip: If you’re looking for a deep conditioning mask to try out on your own strands, consider the SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque.