Whether you're working remotely or in the office, separating work from play is becoming more and more difficult, especially since many of us have our company emails and chat channels synced to our personal phones. So, the idea of de-stressing with a cell phone probably sounds like an oxymoron.
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But these anti-anxiety apps are here to prove you wrong. Geared towards helping you relax, these phone apps are a great way to address your emotions and lower your stress levels. While they aren't a substitute for professional help, they make a great additional resource.
Still skeptical? All of these apps have a free version, too, so it's easy to give them a go, risk-free. Read on to learn which app is best for your needs.
1. 7 Cups
Available on both iOS and Android, 7 Cups is a therapy app that connects people with listeners within the app's virtual community. While the app does have a subscription version, even the free version offers listeners that are trained in peer support, which is why Aimee Daramus, PsyD, clinical psychologist and author of Understanding Bipolar Disorder: The Essential Family Guide likes 7 Cups so much.
"A lot of people have used this [app] when hotlines or other crisis resources are overwhelmed," Daramus explains. "This app would be a great resource for people who have anxiety attacks, periods of depression or who are learning to manage strong emotions."
When you use the app, you can search for a listener who specializes in relevant issues. Or, you can search for a specific listener if you enjoy speaking with them. You can even connect with multiple listeners at once to build your own supportive community.
If you're not big on speaking on the phone, you can also take advantage of the app's mindfulness exercises and information.
2. Symptom Tracker & Medicine, Health Symptoms Diary
Whether you have an overflowing schedule (or Netflix queue), tracking your medications, mood or treatment progress can cause extra stress. But CareClinic's Symptom Tracker & Medicine, Health Symptoms Diary can make these tasks simple for you. This app enables you to track your moods, symptoms and medications to help figure out if a new treatment is working for you.
This app is excellent for anyone trying out new medications or therapy treatments who wants a more objective view of their progress, Daramus says. You can even snap photos of your medications to ensure you've taken them for the day.
You can also import your health data into this app, including your step count and sleep details, giving you a holistic view of your overall wellness. The app also features an interactive calendar, helping you keep track of your medical appointments.
3. Insight Timer
Meditation is one positive method that can help reduce stress. But if you're a beginner, meditating without any guidance can be tricky and confusing. Insight Timer can make this process easy with guided meditations geared towards better sleep or relieving anxiety.
"I like Insight Timer (and have used it for years) for their thousands of free options. You can even search for meditations based on how much time you have or want to commit to a particular meditation," says Milica Popovic, a trauma therapist at Compass Health Center in Chicago. "I believe that it makes meditation that much more accessible to people, especially for those whose lives are just so full."
If you're not big on meditation, Insight Timer also offers calming playlists, mindfulness classes or talks from experts.
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Probably one of the best-known mindfulness apps, Headspace makes meditation simple, breaking the practice into bite-sized chunks. The app offers an introductory 10-day course, giving users an opportunity to try out the stress-busting activity free of charge.
You can also subscribe and get a library full of guided meditations at your disposal. Or, use some of the online resources Headspace offers on the website, giving a little more insight into how meditation can benefit you.
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5. Liberate Meditation
Liberate Meditation is one of the few meditation apps built for the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community, according to the app's website.
Liberate offers meditations and talks designed specifically for the BIPOC community, enabling you to practice with a diverse community from different places across the globe. Sessions are led by BIPOC leaders and experts in meditation, with tons of practice options.
It's not actually possible to improve your happiness with an app, is it? Happify would beg to differ. In fact, 86 percent of frequent Happify users report happier day-to-day emotions within just two months of using the app, according to the Happify site.
How does the app make you happier? Happify offers tools, games and activities you can use to help manage your stress and emotions.
With more than 3 million users, Sanvello is among the most-used stress and anxiety apps in the app store. Unlike other mental health applications, Sanvello offers four different types of support, including self-care, peer support, coaching and therapy.
You can start using Sanvello for free but it does offer an upgraded subscription level with more options. Many insurance companies in the United States offer coverage for Sanvello — you can check whether it's in-network with your provider online.
If Sanvello isn't covered by your insurance plan, you can email or call to discuss session-by-session pricing or subscription rates that work for you.
This app can be helpful if you struggle with anxiety or panic attacks — through Rootd, you can identify and work through an anxiety or panic attack, using interactive questions and activities to offer relief.
Rootd can also teach you more about why panic attacks happen and how they effect the body. The app offers short-term lessons, which can help you manage heightened anxiety.
Or, you can try the app's long-term lessons, which seek to permanently change your relationship with anxiety.
With TalkLife you can connect to a virtual peer network to discuss mental health issues with other supportive users, according to the app's website. TalkLife's community has helped users work through anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.