Using Stress Relief Apps to Transform Your Life

Woman relaxing with phone for stress management.
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There are many apps that are marketed for stress relief, and some of them are quite valuable. Some are less spectacular, and some of them really aren't worth the money or the space they take up on your phone. When searching for new tools to help with stress management, it's vital that you know what you're looking for and that you can separate out the helpful from the overhyped. The following collection can aid in stress relief in many ways and are well worth the time they take to use.

General Stress Relief Apps

Many stress management techniques are skills that are learned rather than activities we do naturally.

These skills help with stress relief, but they need to be learned and practiced:

The following apps can help with just that—learning vital stress management techniques and working them into our daily lives:

  • Personal Zen: This app was made by a neuroscience researcher to create games backed by research on anxiety reduction and resilience development. Track your progress and build a happier and less stressed outlook in just a few minutes a day of gameplay.
  • Sanvello: This app provides breathing exercises to help you quickly de-stress, a mood tracker to enable you to measure your state of mind and track what affects you most in your life, and other features based on cognitive behavioral therapy. The app is covered by many insurance plans.

Meditation Apps

The ability to meditate can transform your whole experience of stress. It can build resilience to stress that you face now and in the future, and it can provide you with a healthy new way of responding to stressors (including a way to detach your emotions and keep your stress response from being easily set off). Practicing on a regular basis is the key. The following apps can not only teach you meditation but also help you to maintain the habit in your life:

  • The Mindfulness App: This app provides over 300 options for learning and practicing meditation, from beginning to advanced. You can choose a meditation from 3 to 99 minutes in duration, meditations of many different types, mindfulness notices, meditation soundtracks, and more. In the premium subscription, you get unlimited access to guided meditations and courses and constantly updated content.
  • Calm: This app promises a "journey to a calmer mind" and it has many ways to lead you there. It boasts guided meditations and relaxation exercises as well as bedtime stories to aid relaxation and promote sleep.
  • Headspace: This app is "like a gym membership for the mind" in that it offers many guided meditation classes including hundreds of themed meditations and many "bite-sized meditations" for those who are very busy. There are even "SOS activities" for when you're feeling overwhelmed.
  • Relaxing Rhythms: This is more of a biofeedback app than a meditation app, but it's an app that should be tried in either case. It can help train you to relax your body and your mind with relative ease. Note that it requires an iOm sensor to work.

General Apps That Can Be Used for Stress Management

Some apps aren't specifically geared toward stress management but have been found to be helpful in relieving stress just the same by supporting other healthy habits. Here are a few of the best:

  • My Fitness Pal: This app helps you to track your eating patterns and provides articles and recipe ideas for staying in shape as well as a tracker to enable you to track your weight, caloric intake, and more. Because healthy nutrition can affect your mood and your stress levels, this one can really be helpful.
  • Happify: Because a happy mood and a positive outlook have both been linked to decreased stress and increased resilience. This app helps you to minimize stress and anxiety by managing your thoughts.
  • Fitbit: This activity tracker and sleep monitor can be used for stress management by helping you to see what you're doing well and motivate you to sleep more and move more, both of which can be mood boosters. In addition, Fitbit has expanded its line of products to include Fitbit Sense. The Sense smartwatch and app can measure your body's response to stress, give you a daily stress management score, and track mood over time.
4 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.
  1. National Institute of Mental Health. 5 things you should know about stress.

  2. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EMS, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysisJAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357–368. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018

  3. Flaskerud JH. Mood and food. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2015;36(4):307-310. doi:10.3109/01612840.2014.962677

  4. Aschbacher K, Epel E, Wolkowitz OM, Prather AA, Puterman E, Dhabhar FS. Maintenance of a positive outlook during acute stress protects against pro-inflammatory reactivity and future depressive symptomsBrain Behav Immun. 2012;26(2):346–352. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2011.10.010

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.