Everyone has some level of anxiety. For some people, their anxiety is from the occasional stress of daily life or from a one-time situation that worries them. For others, anxiety is an ever-present thing that is constantly ruling their thoughts. It is not easy to live with an anxious mind. The good news is that in today’s digital world there are lots of ways right at your fingertips to help calm your anxiety. Get out your phone and fire up the app store because here are 10 anxiety apps that can help you calm your mind and deal with the anxiety in your life.
10 Anxiety Apps to Try
One of the most popular anxiety apps, Calm is a free app centered around mindfulness. It offers a number of guided meditations, breathing programs, stretching exercise, and relaxing music and nature sounds to help calm your mind. Start with the “How to Meditate” series if you are just beginning your meditation practice, or try the “Anxiety Release” mediation.
Calm also has a number of sleep stories, which are just what they sound like – bedtime stories to help ease you to sleep. Sleep is important for managing stress, but it is often one of the first things to be disrupted by anxiety, so Calm has over 100 sleep stories for both adults and children, many narrated by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey and Leona Lewis. End your day with a guided meditation or some time relaxing to nature sounds before turning on a sleep story and drifting off to sleep.
The Headspace app is meant to be a guide to mindfulness for your everyday life. Learn meditation and mindfulness skills from world-class experts with meditations for every experience level and lifestyle, including short, 3-minute sessions that can fit into any busy schedule. You can choose from hundreds of guided meditations on everything from managing stress and anxiety to sleep, focus, and mind-body health. There is also a Weathering the Storm collection of meditations that include meditations for coping with sadness, anger, and adapting to change.
Unlike other anxiety apps, you can start and end every day with Headspace. Start your morning with The Wake Up, a short daily video series designed to start your day off right. Then decompress at bedtime with Sleep by Headspace, which features relaxing sleepcasts, dreamy soundscapes, and tranquil music.
Headspace also offers concentration-boosting music with a selection of focus music and artists or you can choose from 12 different focus music stations like Lo-Fi Times and Corner Booth Jazz. You can also release stress and tension through movement with Move Mode, which is a collection of mood-boosting, at-home workouts and mindful fitness courses led by expert trainers.
Headspace was reviewed by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and rated 4.75 out of 5 for east of use and 4 out of 5 for its effectiveness in education, self-monitoring, and treatment.
The Rootd app was designed to provide always-accessible anxiety relief for anyone and everyone who needs it. One of the more comprehensive anxiety apps, Rootd features a panic button to bring a swift end to panic attacks based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques. There is a journal tool that encourages users to identify moods and habits helping to identify subconscious triggers of anxiety and panic attacks. There are also guided body scans, visualizations and nature sounds to get rooted when you are feeling anxious. The app also has mindfulness exercises and step-by-step guides to deep breathing
This anxiety app also features an emergency contact button that makes it simple to call a loved one or a hotline when you are in distress, making this one of the only anxiety apps that connects you to another person whenever you need it. You can also find encouragement in the Personal Stats Page that tracks the number of panic attacks you have overcome and the number of in-app lessons you have completed.
Rootd’s core features are completely free although there are subscription options that unlock additional content.
Unlike other meditation-based anxiety apps, MyLife asks users to check in with how they are feeling and recommends short guided meditations and mindfulness activities tuned to their current emotions. Whether you are anxious, sleepless, hopeful, angry, or something in between, the MyLife app aims to help you better navigate life’s ups and downs.
The app features guided meditations, deep breathing exercises, a meditation timer, and even sleep sounds to help you fall asleep. Track your mood before and after your daily meditations with guided journaling so you can examine and understand your anxieties better.
MyLife offers daily meditation for kids, tweens, teens, and adults, so it is great for anyone in your family needing help from stress and anxiety.
If you are looking for anxiety apps that are not so meditation centered, this app might just be the thing for you. Breathe2Relax focuses on stress management, focusing on a breathing technique called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises decrease the body’s fight-or-flight stress response and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.
This free app provides instructions and practice exercises to help users learn how to practice diaphragmatic breathing. It allows you to change the pace of the breathing exercise to personalize the experience to your needs. It also lets you rate your stress and guides users through a body scan to assess how they are feeling.
Reviewed by the ADAA, Breathe2Relax is one of the only anxiety apps to be rated 5 out of 5 for its ease of use, 4 out of 5 for its effectiveness in education and self-monitoring, and 4 out of 5 for research evidence supporting the app.
What’s Up? uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy methods to help you cope with depression, anxiety, and stress. This app is like getting multiple anxiety apps in one because of all its different features.
The app includes lessons about the 12 most common negative thinking patterns and simple methods to overcome them, a diary for your thoughts and feelings that lets you rate your feelings on a scale of 10, simple breathing techniques for keeping calm and relaxed, a catastrophe scale that allows you to put your problems into perspective when things are too much, a positive and negative habit tracker, and a grounding game with over 100 fun questions to help keep you grounded and in the present when stress is taking over.
The app also includes forums that allow you to talk with people from all over the world who may be feeling just like you without worrying about the like/dislike system of social media platforms.
MindShift is another of the anxiety apps that uses strategies based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help you learn to be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety. The app includes quick relief tools for when you need anxiety help fast. They help you take a breath, ground yourself, shift your thinking, and take steps to cope.
There is also a thought journal that lets you transform your worries into balanced and helpful thoughts by identifying and challenging the thinking that keeps you trapped in anxiety. On top of all that, you can also listen to audio recordings of guided relaxation and mindfulness meditations to help you get in a more relaxed and mindful headspace.
Beyond the help with day-to-day anxiety, this is one of the anxiety apps on the market that helps you cope with some of your longer term anxiety. Use the app’s belief experiments to test out the beliefs that fuel your anxiety. Overcome your fears by gradually facing them in small guided steps. You can also use the app to check-in with yourself – keep track of your anxiety and mood over time with graphs and journal entries.
Mindshift is perfect for people who need to gain insight into their anxiety and learn basic skills to manage the symptoms of their anxiety.
Unlike the other anxiety apps, Panic Relief is designed for people who not only suffer from anxiety, but who have frequent panic attacks. The app guides you through a panic attack whenever or wherever it happens and helps you overcome your fear. Four short cartoons with animations show you how to cope with the unpleasant sensations in your body while staying mentally calm and in control.
The app is silent, so it can provide instant support no matter where you are – in a crowd, on public transportation, on an airplane, before a job interview, at the dentist, or in any other situation where you might feel stuck and get that panicked feeling.
There are four main sections of the app: Chest, Arm, Body, Square. Chest helps you discover what your normal breathing pattern looks like when you are at rest and not having a panic attack, and teaches you how to avoid hyperventilating during an attack.
Arm shows you a quick and easy technique for relaxation that will make a panic attack feel less intense. Body is a visualization exercise that allows the panic you feel become transformed into a more pleasant feeling. Finally, Square is a well known Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique often called ‘breathing in squares.’ This tool gives you a visual and mental focus if you use it during anxiety and will help you stay in mental control while your body calms down.
Panic Relief gets a 5 out of 5 from the ADAA for ease of use and effectiveness.
Sanvello gives you multiple avenues of support to help improve your mental health. From self-care and peer support to working with trained coaches and therapists, Sanvello gives you techniques based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and anything else you may be going through. A little different than the other anxiety apps in this list, Sanvello gives you access to live therapy sessions with licensed mental health professionals for a fee. The awesome part is that through their partnerships with insurance providers, more than 37 million users have Sanvello covered by their health insurance plan (you can see if your insurance will cover it by tapping ‘upgrade’ in the app and searching for your insurance provider).
The app includes daily mood tracking, guided journeys, coping tools, meditations, and progress assessments to help you find relief when you need it. You also have access to peer support in a judgment-free space. View posts from your Sanvello community, exploring a diverse range of topics from stress relief techniques to words of encouragement and gratitude. It is a simple way to feel less alone in what you are feeling.
You also have access to coaching. Securely message your coach one on one whenever you need support, or join a group class to see your coach live.
So often we worry about some everyday thing, realize later that there was nothing to worry about, but then worry about something else just as irrational. Worry Watch is designed to help you stop worrying about these same sort of things over and over. The app is broken down into five steps – record, reflect, reason, realize, and refute – to help you get a deeper understanding of your anxiety patterns and triggers in order to reflect on those patterns and triggers.
The app has you write down your worries and set a reminder to revisit the outcome later. Once the worry passes, you are asked to note whether the outcome was as bad as you worried it would be. Then you analyze your thought patterns with the help of statistics generated by the app and identify what triggered your anxiety. Finally, you focus on optimism through daily and weekly reminders and challenge your worries the next time you are anxious.
This sort of understanding can help challenge your negative thinking habits and help you stop worrying.
These anxiety apps tackle anxiety and worry in many different ways. From meditation to journaling to guided lessons that help you understand your anxiety triggers, whether using them on their own or in parallel with professional therapy, anxiety apps are a way of having support all day, any day no matter where you are. The one that is right for you depends on the type of support you want and need. If you are not sure where to start, choose one and give it a try. There is no reason you cannot try a few before settling on the one you like best.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Managing Your Anxiety as a Mom
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