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 to 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.
  • Pacifica: 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.
  • GPS for the Soul: This app is pretty amazing in that it uses your phone's camera and other tools to measure your heart rate and heart rate variability to measure your stress levels and bring you back (hence the GPS) to a centered place through pictures of your loved ones, music, poetry, and more. This app is interactive and helps you to relieve stress in multiple ways, making it a useful and versatile tool worth trying.

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, 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 having a hair-trigger), and more. Practicing on a regular basis is the key. The following apps can not only teach you meditation but can help you to maintain the habit in your life:

  • The Mindfulness App: This app provides many options for learning and practicing meditation, from beginning to advanced. You can choose a meditation from 3 to 30 minutes in duration, meditations of many different types, mindfulness notices, meditation tracks, and more. In the paid version, there are meditation courses, guided meditations, 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 breathing 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.
  • iOm: 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.

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 is a fitness tracker but that can be helpful for stress management. Because physical activity can affect your mood and because sleep is so important, 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.
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