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We all know how our increasing reliance on technology is causing stress and anxiety in modern society. But it’s also worth considering how technology can actually help us to manage and reduce stress in our everyday lives.
Stress management apps in particular are becoming increasingly popular on the Apple and Android app stores – but what exactly are these apps, and can they really help you feel less stressed?
In short, the answer is yes.
But before we begin, it’s also important to emphasize that these apps shouldn’t be considered as a replacement for proper medical treatment. Rather, they are about helping you manage everyday stresses and enabling you to uncover useful stress management techniques to help you better cope with your symptoms. They can also be invaluable in helping you to identify your stressors and making everyday life more manageable.
From apps that help you relax and get a better night’s sleep, to mood trackers and even simple games that claim to help you relieve stress just by playing along, there’s literally an app for everyone. Here are 10 of the best:
Headspace is a simple meditation app that aims to make it super easy for anyone to get started with meditation by guiding them through a variety of accessible meditation sessions. It is one of the most popular stress management apps and regularly appears near the top of the app charts.
Meditation is proven to help people relax and reduce stress, but it can sometimes also be difficult to get started if you’ve never done it before. The great thing about Headspace is that it essentially takes you by the hand and shows you exactly what to do, meaning that even a complete beginner can quickly start seeing positive results from meditation.
The app is free, but there’s also an option to sign up for a subscription if you want to receive more meditations and unlock additional features.
Do you often sleep for eight hours but still somehow find yourself waking up the following morning feeling groggy and disorientated? If that sounds like you, the problem might be that you’re waking up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle (or REM for short).
During sleep, your body goes through several sleep cycles incorporating light sleep, deep sleep and finally REM sleep, which is often when the most intense dreams takes place. Wake up during this final stage and you’ll often feel anything but refreshed!
If you want to wake up feeling fully alert and rested, you should ideally try to wake up during the lightest stage of sleep. But how exactly do you do that?
That’s what the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is for. It works to analyse your sleep throughout the night and then wakes you up during the lightest sleeping phase so that you wake feeling relaxed and rested. This is well worth trying out!
They say that we should try to live in the moment and enjoy every second of every day, but sometimes that’s much easier said than done!
Based on the popular Zen concept, Buddha Board is a simple app that involves painting your own design onto a virtual board and then watching as it slowly disappears from view. The idea is that this teaches you the art of “letting go” – and each time it leaves you with a clear state of mind.
Not being able to let things go can cause huge amounts of stress, so it’s easy to see why this popular app is a great stress management tool. What’s more, the process of painting your virtual masterpiece is also extremely relaxing and therapeutic in itself.
Mood Log is a simple way to record how you’re feeling throughout the day. You can use the app to make notes about your feelings, which you can then go back to and check at a later date.
By logging mood related information, it is often possible to identify patterns in your feelings and thereby gain a better understanding of what causes you to feel that way. This app is highly recommended for anyone suffering with stress, anxiety, depression or panic attacks.
Based on cognitive behavioral therapy, Pacifica is an app containing a suite of tools designed to help you manage stress, anxiety and depression.
Like Mood Log, the app allows you to log information related to your mood and feelings – and it can also track your health and monitor things like sleep and exercise. With this information to hand, you can more easily see the causes of your stress and thereby identify the steps you could take to eliminate it.
In addition, the app includes access to a wide range of useful relaxation techniques, including mindfulness meditations, deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. It also allows you to set daily challenges and includes a number of guided self-help paths designed by psychologists, along with access to a support community where you can share your story and seek advice from other members.
This one is well worth checking out if you’re looking to make the process of managing your stress and anxiety much easier.
Simple breathing exercises can really help to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety you are experiencing, and the great news is that this app makes it super easy for anyone to get started.
Originally created for soldiers by the Center for Telehealth and Technology, the Breathe2Relax app teaches you a technique called diaphragmatic breathing, which involves breathing from your stomach and taking deeper, more controlled breaths.
The technique has been proven to reduce the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response and can help to stabilize your mood, reduce anxiety levels and relieve stress.
Did you know that gaming has been proven to reduce stress levels?
Personal Zen is a fun game that works to reduce stress and anxiety through attention bias modification training, which involves teaching you to build positive attention habits. Essentially, it’s all about building positive focus and reducing negative focus.
The game itself takes you on a journey through the world of Personal Zen, a once vibrant and happy place that has now been darkened by growing negativity. As you explore this world and embark on your travels, you are guided on how to restore the land back to the oasis of calm it once was – and in the process you will start to see your own stress levels dwindle as your positive focus grows.
The game features beautiful relaxing music and includes a number of built-in tools to help train your mind towards positive focus.
Don’t think that this all sounds too good be true, either. The game is based on proven scientific research, with the Clinical Psychological Science Journal finding that positive benefits can be seen after playing the game for just 25 minutes.
Reducing and eliminating stress is about two main things: Finding out the causes of stress in your life, and then taking appropriate steps to overcome it.
This useful app from The University of the West of England tackles the latter and provides actionable step-by-step activities to help you combat the stress and anxiety in your life. With lots of interactive tools and helpful advice along the way, this is an essential app for anyone suffering from anxiety.
HelloMind uses a technique called “Results Driven Hypnosis,” which is a type of deep meditation that involves directly focusing on the root of your problems and then being subconsciously guided towards the solution.
The app contains a wide choice of treatments for issues including stress, fear, low self-esteem and bad sleep. Each one is divided up into ten 30-minute sessions, while there are also boosters, which can be used to reinforce good emotions.
Whether you need help with stress or you’re having difficulty sleeping, this app may be able to help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
As the name suggests, this app is all about feeling happy and increasing positive thinking. It includes a wide variety of activities designed to help you think more positively and in turn make those positive thoughts a natural part of your everyday life.
As well as fun interactive activities, the app allows you to set specific goals for yourself and provides useful tips to help you along the way. If you’re struggling to deal with stress, this is an essential app to have by your side.
As we mentioned towards the beginning of this article, these apps aren’t a replacement for expert treatment by a medical professional – but they certainly can help you to reduce stress and anxiety in your everyday life.
As with anything, the trick is to try out a number of different apps and pick the ones that work for you. These apps can be highly beneficial, and you’ll enjoy using them, too.
Get our free Stress Management Workbook to help you identify and track your stress, and provide you with a variety of proven techniques that you can use to counteract stress. It helps you: