You wake up in a panic to the violent ringing of your alarm. It’s another manic Monday. Over the weekend, you decided to indulge in your favorite leisurely activities and put yourself first for once. Now, anxiety seeps into your body as you envision the busy week ahead. The worst part is the anxiety began when you laid down last night. The brain fog from a restless sleep seems to make your stressors 10 times worse. You think to yourself for the thousandth time, “There must be a better way to manage stress,” but you aren’t aware it’s as simple as the touch of a button.
If you commonly use the words “anxious” or “stressed” to describe your state of being, it’s time to begin a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness can be confusing and difficult to invoke in your day-to-day life. But in the modern day, you can download and use an app, something we’re all familiar with. These top-rated apps provide a variety of ways to manage stress.
Manage stress with meditation, breathwork and sleep-stories
Calm is rated the best app overall because of its affordable pricing and various applicability. This app will improve your quality of sleep by its sleep stories and nature sounds. Meditation novices and seasoned practitioners can enjoy Calm’s many guided meditations. The app adds new Masterclasses, stories and exclusive music-tracks every week.
The downside of Calm is it can get pricey. The free version includes timed meditations, breathing exercises and one sleep story. An annual subscription of $69.99 or a one-time purchase of $399.99 is required to access all the features.
Manage stress by promoting creativity
Imagine an adult coloring book in the palm of your hand. Colorfy offers a variety of sketches, including tranquil mandalas, or you can upload your own sketches. Coloring for adults has been shown to significantly lower anxiety and depressive symptoms . Researchers at University of Otago selected 29 participants ages 19 to 67 to partake in coloring exercises. After just one week, researchers found an improvement in participant mood and ability to manage stress.
Colorfy offers images to color for free, or you can purchase a subscription to gain access to all images. Colorfy offers a seven-day free trial then In-App purchases include Colorfy Weekly for $7.99 or $39.99 per week.
Manage stress with free meditation
Nothing can beat Insight Timer when it comes to free, guided meditations. The app boasts talks and meditations from mindfulness experts, neuroscientists and psychologists from schools such as Stanford, Harvard and more. Find over 1,500 free meditations for anxiety, including 200 talks on anxiety. Users may also sort through category-specific meditations as well as meditations based on the teacher’s gender, popularity and background.
Although Insight Timer hosts mostly free offerings, users may purchase in-app additions. Upgrades encompass sought-after courses on meditation and the ability to download meditations for offline use. Premium is $9.99 per month and $59.99 per year.
Manage stress with breathing techniques
This app boasts a curation of breathing exercises based on your intended goal: manage stress, fall asleep, feel relaxed or feel energized. Breathwrk uses the same techniques as Olympic athletes, yoga experts, psychologists, Navy SEALs and Zen masters. According to Harvard Business Review, changing the rhythm of your breath stimulates the vagus nerve, running from the base of the brain to the abdomen, part of the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system helps you calm down.
Breathwrk offers mostly free breathing exercises, however, with a fee of $7.99 per month you can access unlimited exercises and be able to track your breathing habits.
AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game
Manage stress by focusing on play
If you love games, or if you naturally fiddle when you’re stressed, AntiStress is for you. This app successfully adapted some of life’s most satisfying fidgets: bubble-wrap popping, pen clicking, window misting and water ripple-watching. Antistress is free, however, you can purchase Antistress Pro for $1.99 or no ads for $19.99.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto.