11 Apps to Help You De-Stress on the Go
Whether you suffer from chronic anxiety or are just a little stressed these days, you can use your phone to help slow down your racing thoughts. Here are 11 apps you can use to chill out during the day:
This app serves as a marketplace and media player for meditation tracks. While some cost up to $8, there are a decent number of free meditations for sleep and relaxation ranging from only 30 seconds to 20 minutes in length. The coolest feature: You can mix tracks together, adding different ambient sounds to guided meditations.
Free for iOs, Android, and on your desktop
One of the most prominent mobile meditation apps, Headspace offers meditation and mindfulness exercises that are between two minutes and an hour long. You can enroll in their free 10-day meditation boot camp or subscribe to access their larger content library.
3. HEAR AND NOW
Using your phone’s camera, this app measures your heart rate during a deep-breathing exercise. The app analyzes changes in your heart rate to track how accurately you follow the breathing exercise and what effect it had on your stress level, quantifiably showing the progress you can make with just a few minutes of breathing.
Free for iOS
In addition to audio exercises designed to reduce stress and anxiety, Pacifica has a daily mood tracker that you can use to chart your emotional progress over time. There are also group chat rooms for support dealing with specific issues (such as PTSD) and daily challenges designed to help you overcome chronic roadblocks like social anxiety one day at a time.
5. BUDDHIFY 2
This is a great app for meditation beginners that doesn’t come with any hidden costs or subscriptions. It features 80 guided meditations (with very soothing British voices) designed for specific situations and feelings, such as meditations for waking up, going to sleep, dealing with stress, and more.
Inspired by the slow gestures of tai chi, Pause is like a gamified version of a lava lamp. You move your finger slowly around the screen, following any pattern you’d like. The slower and more deliberately you move, the bigger the splotch of color under your finger grows. Move too fast, and it shrinks again.
7. RAIN RAIN SLEEP SOUNDS
Perfect for a little ambient background noise, Rain Rain has a suite of nature-focused tracks featuring sounds like rain, thunder, and crackling fire. You can mix tracks together or upgrade to premium tracks, such as the sound of an overhead fan or a busy cafe. If you use it while in bed, you can set a sleep timer that will fade the noise out after you fall asleep.
8. STOP, BREATHE & THINK
Take a basic survey about how you’re feeling, and this slick app, run by a nonprofit called Tools for Peace, will recommend specific meditation exercises for you. If the meditations offered by the basic app aren’t enough, you can pay to download more, including some guided by musician k.d. lang.
The meditative soundtrack on this simple game makes it ideal for taking your mind off anxious thoughts. The goal is to prune a growing tree so that it successfully grows out of the shade and into the sunlight where it can flower. It’s just challenging enough to get you out of your own head, but the deliberate, slow pace keeps it from feeling like a stressful competition.
$3.99 for iOS, Android, and Windows
10. WA KINGYO
When you can’t spend a few minutes by an actual koi pond, a virtual one might do the trick. The Japanese app Wa Kingyo consists only of two fish swimming across your screen. You can scatter bait for them and send ripples across the water, creating a soothing waterscape for your fish friends.
Free for iOS; full version for 99 cents
11. NEKO ATSUME: KITTY COLLECTOR
If you don’t already have a horde of virtual cats waiting for you when you open your phone, you’re doing something wrong. Hanging out with pets has been shown to relieve stress, and even watching videos of cats can boost your energy. When you leave your real-life buddy at home, you can get some of the more subtle perks of watching animals roam around with Neko Atsume, which allows you to purchase food and toys to attract virtual cats to come calling.