Best Apps for Anxiety

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Anxiety affects millions of individuals and can negatively impact their quality of life. Seeking help from a mental health professional is a good idea, but exploring some tools on your own can be beneficial as well. There are countless mobile apps available for anyone to use, and the most useful ones can bring evidence-based treatments to individuals who do not have access to specialized care, may be used in conjunction with ongoing treatment, or promote continued progress after the conclusion of a course of psychotherapy.

We researched the best apps for anxiety based on cost, platform availability, ease of use, programs offered, results, and more.

Best Apps for Anxiety of 2021

Best Overall : Calm


Calm

Calm

Why We Chose It: Calm is our top pick for best overall anxiety app because of its wide range of offerings and affordable price point.

What We Like
  • More than 100 million downloads and upward of 1.5 million 5-star reviews

  • A variety of basic offerings and tools for free

  • Inspires growth, habit changes, and self-care

What We Don't Like
  • Must enroll in a paid subscription to unlock all of the app's features

Calm’s free version includes timed meditation options, day one of all multi-day meditation programs (such as seven days of focus or 21 days of calm), the Breathe Bubble, and a sleep story called Blue Gold. The app also has a large number of free scenes users can select from to play nature sounds and/or music in the background, on both the guided and unguided meditation.

A premium subscription includes an original Daily Calm meditation session every day, several hours of guided meditations covering sleep, anxiety, stress, and gratitude, and much more. It also grants users access to a library of more than 120 sleep stories. New stories are added every week, along with exclusive music tracks for focus, relaxation, sleep, and Masterclasses featuring world-renowned mindfulness experts. An annual subscription is $69.99.

Best Free App : Insight Timer


Insight Timer

Insight Timer

Why we chose it: Insight Timer offers guided meditations of various lengths led by mental health professionals.

What We Like
  • Large variety of meditation styles

  • Renowned teachers and guides

  • Thousands of meditations available, including more than 1,500 specifically for anxiety

What We Don't Like
  • Access to meditations is only available offline if using a premium account

  • Picking up where you left off in a session is only available for premium members

  • Some audio is not of ideal quality

More time is spent meditating on Insight Timer than all other meditation apps, and it’s easy to see why. This app offers guided meditations and talks led by the world’s top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists, and instructors from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford, and more. Over 1,500 meditations for anxiety are offered for free, a list that includes close to 400 music selections for anxiety and nearly 200 anxiety talks.

Regular and daily meditation for anxiety relief helps affected people to focus on staying in the present moment and recognize a situation for what it is. Users can sort through meditations based on length of the session and the gender, popularity, and other information about the teacher. For users who wish to take their meditations offline or tune into courses, they can choose to upgrade to Insight Premium for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

Best for Beginners : iBreathe


iBreathe

iBreathe

Why We Chose It: Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, insomnia, or are trying to meditate and relax, iBreathe provides an easy-to-use, beautifully designed user interface that is excellent for beginners.

What We Like
  • Free, with in-app purchases available

  • Clean and simple interface

  • Syncs with Apple Health

What We Don't Like
  • Only available on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

For those who are just beginning their healing journey, iBreathe makes it easier than ever. iBreathe syncs with quick actions via haptic touch (a long press from your iPhone or Apple Watch home screen) to quickly start your breathing exercises, which is great when anxiety peaks. Customizable reminders that tell you to breathe throughout the day can be set, and there are predefined presets specifically designed to help with stress and anxiety.

This app has a 4.9-star rating with over 6,000 reviews on the Apple App Store as of March 2021. One reviewer noted, “Downloading this was the best thing I did for myself and my path to balanced mental health."

Best for Sleep Disruption : Tide


Tide

Tide

We Chose It: Tide is a free app with in-app purchases designed to help users sleep better. Unique to this app is a gentle wake alarm feature.

What We Like
  • Available to users on a variety of devices and platforms

  • Beautiful interface and graphics

  • Free with in-app purchases

What We Don't Like
  • Most sleep meditations and sounds are only available to paid users

Disrupted sleep can make anxiety worse both in the moment and throughout the day ahead. Tide helps users sleep and nap with sounds of nature. The app is available for iPhone, Android, iPad, and Google Chrome users. Aiming to support physical and mental care, Tide’s goal is to get listeners away from their fast-paced life and into calm, peaceful moments.

Tide offers sleep analysis, light wake-up alarms, nap modes, and calming nature sounds for users looking to optimize their sleep. Specific sleep meditations are available for Tide Plus subscribers at $11.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

Best for Adults : Headspace


Headspace

Headspace

Why We Chose It: Headspace is all about being kind to your mind. With topics ranging from stress about politics, death, and aging anxiety, body anxiety, and so much more, Headspace takes our pick for the best app for adults.

What We Like
  • Individual, family, and student subscription plans available

  • Anxiety-specific course offered

  • Free two-week trial

What We Don't Like
  • Subscription needed to unlock a variety of meditations most useful for anxiety

  • App focuses mostly on meditation rather than anxiety-specific therapeutic techniques

Headspace has one mission: to improve the health and happiness of the world. And with millions of users in more than 190 countries, it is certainly making strides toward that goal.

New users can try a two-week free trial of Headspace Plus and get access to hundreds of guided meditations on everything from stress to sleep. There are short meditations you can do anytime, along with expert guidance from Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe, a former monk, and sleep sounds to ease the mind into a truly restful sleep.

Headspace’s website cites a University of Oxford study that "found that eight weeks of using the [Headspace] app (for 10–20 minute sessions) resulted in a 31% decrease in symptoms of anxiety and a 46% decrease in depression symptoms." As of January 2021, Headspace had more than 700,000 ratings on the Apple App store and 4.9 stars. The app is available on Apple iOS or Android devices and can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

Monthly ($12.99) and annual ($69.99) subscriptions are available, and both can be canceled anytime. A family account linking six users can be purchased for $99.99 a year.

Best for Teens : Colorfy


Colorfy

Colorfy

Why We Chose It: Meditations, breathing exercises, and visualization can be difficult for teens to access. Colorfy is our top pick for teens because it gives them a tangible task to work on with their hands while focusing their attention and mind through coloring.

What We Like
  • Focuses and calms the mind through art therapy

  • Weekly, monthly, and annual subscription options

  • More than 1,000 pictures available to paint

What We Don't Like
  • Artwork is lost if the app is deleted

  • Listed as a free app, but payment is necessary to access most pictures

Colorfy is an art and coloring game designed to help users pass the time, relax their mind, and have fun. Coloring comes in the form of a painting book with several designs to choose from. Users will find complex and simple art such as mandalas, animals, patterns, and florals in the coloring book and they have the option to upload their own drawings to color.

A 2012 study examined the use of art therapy to reduce anxiety with a group of undergraduate students. The results showed a decrease in anxiety levels for the students and suggested that the practice created a meditative state that is beneficial for reducing anxiety. Although the app is listed as free with in-app purchases, there are limited coloring pages available for non-subscribers.

Best for ACT Approach : ACT Companion : Happiness Trap


ACT Companion: Happiness Trap

ACT Companion: Happiness Trap

Why We Chose It: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a scientifically supported, mindfulness-based behavior therapy that has demonstrated effectiveness in helping anxiety. This app was designed by internationally acclaimed ACT trainer and bestselling author Dr. Russ Harris.

What We Like
  • Authored by psychologists and ACT trainers

  • Dozens of ACT exercises available

  • Affordable pricing for paid options

What We Don't Like
  • Only available on the Apple App Store

  • Limited amount of recorded mindfulness audio tracks

  • Must subscribe in order to unlock all features

Not only is this app excellent for those looking to take their ACT work on-the-go in app form, but it is an incredibly affordable option to accompany work with an ACT-focused clinician or coach. In this newer app, users will find simple defusion and acceptance techniques, easy values-clarification and goal-setting tools, powerful "observing self" and self-compassion exercises, and handy, easy-to-use tools like the Choice Point.

There are also traditional mindfulness exercises available such as mindfulness of the breath and body-scan meditations, exercises to inspire mindfully observing thoughts and emotions, and "active" mindfulness exercises such as mindful eating and mindful walking. This app is only available on the Apple App Store and is free with in-app purchases available. Three paid subscription options are available: One month ($1.99), three months ($3.99), and unlimited ($9.99).

Final Verdict

Millions of people are afflicted with various forms of anxiety, which can often be debilitating and can severely affect their lives. The good news is that there are myriad apps available to help bring the disorder under control. Calm is our pick for best overall because of its wide range of offerings and affordable price point. If you need help sleeping, check out Tide. However, keep in mind that an app will not resolve or treat anxiety and does not replace working with a mental health professional.

Compare Providers

Calm Best Overall 7-day free trial, $69.99/year
Insight Timer Best Free Free or Insight Premium for $59.99/year or $9.99/month
iBreathe Best for Beginners Free
Tide Best for Sleep Disruption Free or Tide Plus at $11.99/month or $59.99/year
Headspace Best for Adults 2-week free trial, plus monthly ($12.99) and annual ($69.99) options
Colorfy Best for Teens Weekly ($2.99), monthly ($7.99), and annual ($39.99) subscriptions available
ACT Companion Best for ACT $1.99/month or $9.99 for unlimited access

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Apps for Anxiety Work?

Most of the apps we reviewed integrate meditation and breathwork, two interventions that are known to be useful for combatting anxiety. Some apps may offer specific courses to learn more about anxiety, whereas others will have specific meditations and exercises to decrease anxiety levels. There is an app for you, whether you are looking for a specific type of app or dipping your toe into new interventions.

How Much Do Apps for Anxiety Cost?

The price of apps for anxiety ranges from free to annual subscriptions that cost about $70. Many apps will offer a free trial period and some are free with in-app purchases available.

How We Chose the Best Apps for Anxiety

We looked at more than 10 apps for anxiety and assessed them based on the number of reviews, ratings, price, and variety of offerings. The apps that are made our roundup are affordable and offer a broad range of tools to combat anxiety.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Van der Vennet R, Serice S. Can coloring mandalas reduce anxiety? A replication study. Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. 2012:29(2);87–92. doi: 10.1080/07421656.2012.680047.