Technology has been blamed “information overload,” which increases the stress in our everyday lives. However, this same technology can also be used to counteract the daily tension that accumulates over a busy workweek or hectic family schedule. Different types of apps exist that can help you de-stress during the day, whether you’re at home, at work or on the road. Here are some of the most popular apps for alleviating stress in your life.
Relaxing Music Apps
Music has always had a long history of being an effective method for relieving stress, but smartphone apps make it easy to take this important stress-reliever with you wherever you go. Many people find it helpful to listen to a completely different type of music than they usually do, for the purpose of stress relief. The soothing sounds of classical music can be a welcome change from more popular musical options. Studies suggest that listening to classical music can relieve stress levels, improve depression, lower blood pressure and enhance memory function. Similarly, spa music is used to promote a calm state of mind and relaxation of the body that helps to promote better health and more effective mental performance.
- Classic Cat: While not technically an app that you can download onto your mobile device, this website offers a handy place to snag free classical compositions. You can browse through more than 6,000 pieces, compiled from various sites for your perusal.
- Relaxing Music Spa: Available for Android devices, this app features a variety of calming pieces to help you concentrate, sleep better and relax.
- Red Hammer Software: Red Hammer Software offers a variety of music-based apps for iOS depending on what you want to do. From free nature sounds to ambient music, you’ll find a host of options for attaining peace of mind.
Sounds of Nature Apps
Japanese culture has a concept of “forest bathing” that promotes the benefits of spending time in nature for its calming, de-stressing effect, an exercise that can be invaluable for modern urban life. The theory is borne out by science. People who spend time in natural settings enjoy a boost in mental energy, better memory, enhanced concentration, and even better vision and less inflammation in their bodies. You can simulate the relaxing sounds of nature by downloading an app on your mobile device.
- Relaxing Sounds of Nature: This highly rated app by Apalon Apps offers a variety of sound choices in an easy-to-use application. It’s available for free on Android devices.
- Naturespace: Available for both Android and iOS devices, Naturespace features exceptional sound quality. App developers also claim to capture all of the app’s sounds out in the wild for a more immersive experience.
Scientific research suggests that meditation has measurable benefits on physical health by reducing stress and improving mental outlook. Studies indicate it can be helpful for reducing tension headaches, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also have beneficial effects on negative emotions, and can increase patience, improve self-awareness and enhance creativity.
- Pacifica: This app comes in both a free version and full-access version for Apple and Android platforms. It offers breathing and meditation guidance as well as a self-check for negative emotions.
- Headspace: Available for iOS and Android, Headspace offers free 10-minute guided meditation exercises.
- Insight Timer: Developed by Insight Network, this app offers over 4,000 guided meditations. With customizable intervals and background sounds, iOS and Android users will enjoy individualized meditation experiences.
You might not think that science and religion go hand in hand, but research indicates that spiritual pursuits can also help to relieve stress. Data have found that individuals who actively practice their religions and are connected to their spiritual communities have fewer medical issues and are better able to manage emotions during difficult times. You can find a wide range of applications based on individual religious views, ranging from strict religious sects to more nondenominational approaches.
- Bible: This app from Life.Church offers the complete Christian Bible in over 1,000 versions as well as complementary reading plans. Users can read, highlight and interact with the app in hundreds of languages.
- Pocket Torah: Free for both Android and iOS devices, Pocket Torah provides the complete Torah in original Hebrew as well as other translations.
- Spirit Junkie: Developed by author and speaker Gabby Bernstein, Spirit Junkie offers daily life-affirming messages that users can save and re-read for a mental boost. It’s available for $1.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Calming Brain Game Apps
Playing games on your phone can be stressful depending on the type and level of activity. But you can harness your smart device’s power to relax, too. Brain games not only stimulate mental acuity, but these apps can also help you to find a relaxing space in your busy day.
- Zen Koi: If you need to take a mental breather, try this app from Landshark Games, available for free on Android and iOS. You’ll breed and raise colorful fish. There are no winners or losers here, either, making it a perfect app to whittle away your 15-minute break at work.
- Monument Valley: This simple, soothing game from Ustwo Games leads users through a colorful puzzle world in which players must rotate pieces of a tower in order to make progress. It’s available for free on Android but costs $3.99 for iOS devices.
Your smartphone might be boosting the stress in your life, so put it to work for you rather than against you. Each person responds to different techniques differently, and what works well for another person may not be as effective for you. Experiment with a few of these apps to find the ones that make a difference in your life. You’ll feel more serene and in control once you’ve freed up some mental space.