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Top 10 Stress Management Apps

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Feeling stressed out? There’s an app for that. Stress management apps have grown in popularity and become a convenient way to alleviate stress quickly.

It’s unlikely that you’ll find a stress management app that completely eliminates the stress in your life, and no mobile app is going to be able to replace treatment from a medical professional, but that’s not the point. These stress relief apps are meant to help you identify your stressors and learn to manage your stress throughout the day.

Gamifying stress can be a cool way to turn something that’s generally negative into a more manageable situation.

There are a ton of apps for stress management, so we figured we’d make your life a little easier by putting together a list of the top 10 stress management apps to help you crush stress and anxiety.

You’ll find a good mix of breathing apps, anxiety apps, relaxation apps, meditation apps and more on our list. Mix and match the ones that appeal to the most and try them out!

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1. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

Sleep has a huge impact on your stress levels. Nearly a third of Americans are sleep deprived, which can cause a long list of side-effects such as memory loss, fatigue and stress. While the amount of sleep you get is important, you could argue the quality of that sleep is even more important. That’s where Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock comes in handy.

This sleep cycle app is designed to wake you up during your lightest stage of sleep. When most people set their alarm clocks, they set it based on the time they need to wake up. Unfortunately, that time might be in the middle of your deep sleep cycle (REM) which leaves you feeling groggy and completely disoriented when you wake up.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock - Stress Management Apps

2. Headspace

We couldn’t put together a list of stress management apps without including the most popular guided meditation app on the market. Meditation has been shown time and time again to relieve stress and help you relax. However, getting started with meditation is difficult if you have no idea what you’re doing. Do you just sit with your legs crossed and hummm?

Headspace makes meditation easier by guiding you through a variety of meditations and gamifying the entire experience. To start, you’ll get a free lineup of 10-minute meditations to teach you the basics. You can also sign up for a monthly subscription to unlock more meditations and awesome features.

Headspace - Stress Management Apps

3. Pacifica

Pacifica uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help you manage everyday anxiety. The app works by tracking your daily activities by writing them down or recording yourself. Then, the app uses your inputs to help you identify the actions triggering your stress and anxiety.

By identifying the stressors and anxiety causing activities in your life, you’ll be able to address them and hopefully eliminate them. The app will also allow you to set goals and a bunch of other awesome features to make managing your anxiety easier.

Pacifica - Stress Management Apps

4. Mood Log

Along similar lines as Pacifico, Mood Log is an app that allows you to track the way you feel throughout the day. It’s ideal for people suffering from stress, anxiety, bipolar or depression.

You’ve probably had days where you just felt like crap. Often, there’s something specific that happened throughout the day to cause that feeling. By updating your mood log you’ll have records that you can go back and check. You might find that your mood dips around noon if you haven’t eaten, or maybe your stress levels are elevated during your drive to work.

The goal is to identify patterns in your log and see what you can do to feel better throughout the day.

Mood Log - Stress Management Apps

5. Buddha Board

Buddha Board is based on the Zen philosophy of living in the moment. You’re able to use your fingers to paint on your screen, and then watch as your painting slowly disappears/evaporates.

The idea is that once your painting completely evaporates, you’ll have a clearer mind because you’re learning to “let go” instead of stressing out over the outcome. In other words, you’ll be able to live in the moment.

This is a great stress management app because often stress is derived from the inability to let things go or holding grudges. It’s a fun way to practice moving forward and not dwelling on the past so much, which frees your mind to focus on the present.

Buddha Board - Stress Management Apps

6. Breathe2Relax

Would it shock you to find out that most people don’t know how to breathe correctly? Whether it’s our fast paced lifestyle, being out of shape or other factors, we’ve gotten used to taking quick short breaths, rather than deep controlled breathing. Breathe2Relax aims to fix that.

This stress management app focuses on teaching you how to control your breathing and breathe from your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your stomach) has been proven to decrease stress.

The Breathe2Relax app was originally created by the Department of Defense’s Center for Telehealth and Technology to help soldiers learn breathing techniques to relieve stress, but it’s ideal for anyone!

In addition to deep breathing exercises, the app also provides you with helpful resources for stress, anxiety and depression.

Breathe2Relax - Stress Management Apps

7. I Can Be Free – Relax, Remove Fear and Anxiety

The “I Can Be Anything” apps are popular self-help tools to help you live a happier more fulfilling life. This one in particular is all about overcoming fear and anxiety by listening to soothing and relaxing audio clips.

Whether you’re having trouble sleeping, dealing with a phobia or stressing over an upcoming event, these audio tracks can help keep you calm and level out your mood.

I Can Be Free - Stress Management Apps

8. Self-Help Anxiety Management

Identifying your stressors and the things that cause you anxiety is only part of the equation. The other half is working to fix the problem. The Self-Help Anxiety Management app from The University of the West of England is a great all-inclusive tool to help you develop ways to combat your anxiety.

The biggest benefit of this stress management app is it’s actionable. You’ll get real-life steps you can take to reduce your anxiety and stress, and interactive tools to make it enjoyable. You’re guided through every activity and even given resources for more help if necessary.

Self-Help Anxiety Management - Stress Management Apps

9. Personal Zen

It’s been proven that gaming helps relieve stress. The personal Zen app is clinically proven to reduce stress just by playing a simple game!

According to a study published in the Clinical Psychological Science Journal, it only takes 25 minutes of playing Personal Zen to see positive benefits.

The actual game is setup in a garden where a happy face and angry face are dropped onto the ground. The happy face makes a trail of grass that you have to trace with your finger. To help keep the calm mood going, there’s relaxing music played in the background so you can plugin your headphones to get the full experience.

The game works on a cognitive treatment for anxiety called attention-bias modification training. It trains you to ignore “threatening” stimulus (i.e. the angry face) and focus on positive, non-threatening stimulus (the happy face).

Personal Zen - Stress Management Apps

10. Happify

Think positive! That’s the main goal behind the Happify brand and app.

Happify’s tagline is “Science-Based Activities and Games for Stress and Anxiety Relief” so that should give you some idea of what to expect from this wildly popular stress management app.

Happify gives you a suite of positive-thinking activities to improve your mood and learn how to control your happiness. Through the different activities, you’ll improve qualities like kindness and mindfulness, and eventually turn them into habits.

Within the app you have the ability set goals and Happify will give you tips to achieve them. It’s extremely interactive, fun and by far one of the best apps ever created to cope with stress.

Happify - Stress Management Apps

Download any of these 10 stress management apps to keep stress at bay and control your anxiety levels. Not only are they effective, but they’re fun and enjoyable so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Give them a try the next time you’re feeling stressed or experience anxiety!


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Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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