5 great apps to help you manage stress and anxiety
Right now, many of us are feeling pretty uneasy and anxious. A spreading pandemic, an uncertain economy, a heightened political climate — and we’re all concerned about the health and well being of our family and friends.
During these challenging times, let’s remember to step back, take a break and manage our own stress and anxiety levels. We’ll be the first to admit that there’s a benefit to unplugging, picking up a book or enjoying an old hobby. But if you decide to stay connected, there are some good apps to help manage your stress.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite apps on iOS and Android to help all of us consider our mental health, de-stress and become a bit more mindful.
Headspace is one of our favorite apps to help you cope with the stresses of work, family and life in general (that’s why we included it in our top apps to help keep your New Year’s resolutions). Headspace teaches you the basics of meditation and offers a library of courses and single session meditations that you can take anywhere. The company boasts a 40 million person user base and offers scientific claims (and an in-house science department) that its app can reduce stress, increase focus and improve sleep.
Headspace offers a two-week free trial, before a $69.99 yearly subscription, available on both Android and iOS.
If you’re looking to combine mindfulness and body movement, Daily Yoga may be a good choice for you. Designed for the beginner to the advanced, this “freemium” app (free to access many of its features, but includes in-app purchases) includes 200 yoga routines, 500 yoga poses and asanas, lots of guided meditation tracks and more.
Designed by the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia, MindShift is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and helps track anxiety disorders primarily for adolescents and young adults, but the app can be useful for everyone to learn coping strategies for anxiety, worry and panic. The app features a section called “chill out” that includes relaxation exercises and mindfulness strategies.
Billed as the “single destination for effective, evidence-based solutions for better mental health to overcome negative thoughts, stress, and life’s challenges,” Happify uses evidence-based exercises and games developed by experts to help users take better control of their thoughts and feelings. The company claims 86% of frequent users get happier in two months, but we urge you to try it out for yourself.
7-Minute Workout from the New York Times
If working out is your stress-reliever — but your gym is currently closed and you’re practicing social distancing (which we recommend) — there are a lot of workout apps available for your mobile device. While some apps require equipment and others charge a fee, the New York Times’ 7-minute workout “app” is free, scientifically proven and only needs you and common items in your home to take advantage of a short, but intense workout.
The app offers step-by-step instructions, illustrations of each body-weight exercise and a timer to guide you through one of two routines: the Scientific 7-Minute Workout and an Advanced 7-Minute Workout. The app is browser-based, so you can access it from virtually any device or desktop. Check them both out here.
Note: There’s no replacement for a health professional, for both your physical and mental health. If you feel you’re in need of help, please contact your mental health provider or your primary care physician.