April is National Stress Awareness Month. There are some tried and true methods to help you better manage your stress. Luckily, there are now tools online and on your phone that can help guide your stress-reduction methods. We’ve provided a list of apps below to suit your needs so you can carry your tools for stress relief with you wherever April takes you.
Meditation can be a great way to step back, focus one’s thoughts, and concentrate on the task at hand. There are several apps that can help you meditate or focus on your breathing to calm down.
Calm: You may have seen calm’s ads online, which urge you to take a minute, focus on an eye-catching image of nature, and just breathe. Calm is an app that can teach beginners mindfulness techniques associated with meditation. The app and the blog provide short and effective moments of “calm” to help you get back to your day refreshed and rejuvenated.
Headspace: If you want to learn how to meditate, Headspace can be the perfect app for you. You can download the app for free and learn mediation basics in a few steps.
Stop, Breathe and Think: Meditation simply consists of stopping, breathing and practicing mindful thinking. By breaking these three aspects down, the Stop, Breathe and Think app can reduce some of the hesitation you may have with trying meditation for the first time.
2. Healthy Outlook
Meditation is great for short term relaxation, but sometimes it can be hard to track the effects that your relaxation efforts are having. However, there are health trackers that can help you better understand the effect your mood has on your overall health.
Sanvello: While meditation is Sanvello's main goal, the app is billed as more than a meditation app. It can also provide a supportive community for those who suffer from stress and anxiety. The app tracks your health and the progress you make toward beating your stressors. In the app, you can also track your progress toward your relaxation goals.
My Mood Tracker: My mood tracker isn’t a meditation app. Instead it allows you to track your mood and anything that might be affecting the way you feel throughout the day. Treating your mood as just another aspect of your health can help you better understand the way you feel and get you on a path to feeling better about yourself.
3. Supportive Community
Sometimes all you need to get through a particularly stressful time in your life is to talk to someone about that you’re going through. If you’d rather reach out in private, support sites can help connect you with those who will listen and provide support.
Mindshift: The Mindshift app is specifically designed for teens and young adults and tackles many different sources and types of anxiety. The app is designed to be a virtual coach for teens struggling with issues such as testing anxiety, social anxiety or lack of sleep. It provides some basic solutions that teens can use to overcome them – all within a private app.
7 Cups: When you just need to talk to someone, 7 Cups is the perfect app to have on your phone. All conversations are free and completely anonymous, and are conducted by trained listeners, therapists and counselors that will listen to you can give you the support you need.
4. Art Healing
When you’re trying to focus on one difficult task (or many) it can help to step away and think about something completely different. That’s where art healing can come in. Passive thinking (when your brain is not thinking of the task at hand) can actually help you reset and help you succeed in the future.
Colorfy: Colorfy bills itself as coloring therapy for adults, and now it has a mobile app so you can color on the go. Simply coloring in pictures can help you destress and better concentrate on the tasks you have in front of you.
Buddha Board: The Buddha board also originated as a physical product in which you draw with water on a board and watch as your creations slowly evaporate and disappear. Now, the company has created a free iPhone app that mimics the physical Buddha Board. It helps not only provide some space to destress, but it also teaches the Buddhist concept of temporality, or the “art of letting go”.
Often, the key to beating stress is as simple as finding a little positivity. If you feel better about yourself or the world overall, you can feel better about your current situation and accomplish tasks without fear. Here are some apps that can help you accomplish just that.
Personal Zen: Backed by therapy and science, this mindfulness training app is structured as a game. At your own pace, play your way to a more relaxed and healthy outlook.
Happify: Ever find yourself playing a game on your phone when waiting at a doctor’s office or on a break? Now, that game can help you change your mood for the better. Happify, an app also based on scientific studies, provides games and activities designed to change your outlook for the better. Give yourself a happiness score when you start using the app and see how it improves over time.
Gratitude - Daily Journal: When stressed, sometimes just remembering the good things that happened in the past day, week, and month can go a long way. Gratitude allows you to spend just five minutes a day writing down all of the things for which you have gratitude each week and helps you find your center when you feel overwhelmed.
It’s okay to feel stressed every once in a while, and these are just a few of the tools that can help. However, if you are feeling stressed, sometimes the best method is communication. Talking to a friend or family member can help you shift perspective and gain the focus you need to take on the day.