What do you do to relieve stress? I, for one, have a tendency to blow off the fact that I’m stressed, thinking it’s not a big deal, until it becomes a problem. Or I do something dumb, like drink more coffee, to get myself through the day. (Getting even more wired—not a good idea!) So lately, I’ve been looking for some healthier (and easy) ways to get my stress level under control. Technology to the rescue! Did you know that the App Store is well-stocked with relaxation apps? And, there’s no need to get stressed trying to figure out which app to download. I’ve done some research and some testing so you don’t have to! My top five stress-busting apps for iOS are listed below.
If you feel stressed at times, you’re not alone. According to the 2013 American Psychological Association Stress in America study, approximately seven in 10 Americans report experiencing symptoms of stress such as irritability or anger, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed and changes in sleeping habits. And, women consistently report higher stress levels than men.
Left unchecked, stress—from your job (even if your job is “just” parenting), your thoughts, life events or your living environment—can build up and cause health problems over time. But you can prevent stress from becoming a big deal if you do a little bit to manage it every day. Creating a regular stress management routine can really improve your health and happiness. By putting stress relief tools right on your phone or iPad, stress-busting apps let you de-stress anywhere and anytime. No excuses!
Here are those five apps I promised. Check them out. They can put relief, literally, right into your hands.
BellyBio Interactive Breathing App (by Relaxline, FREE). Deep breathing is a great starting point for stress relief. Many of us go around holding our breath when we’re stressed. If you have never practiced deep breathing, you’ll be amazed at how it helps relax your entire body. This “biofeedback” app is fun to use. You place your phone on your belly and the app gives you visual and/or sound feedback as you breathe, helping you to slow your respiration into a deep belly breath.
Cleveland Clinic Stress Meditations (by Cleveland Clinic Wellness Enterprise, $0.99) After you’ve learned to breathe, meditation is a great next step toward total relaxation. This app from the renowned Cleveland Clinic lets you select from eight guided meditations. Just close your eyes and follow the prompts. The body scan meditation is a great place to start.
At Ease Worry and Anxiety Relief (by Meditation Oasis, $2.99) Another, more basic, meditation app, this one has a choice of three guided meditations and three different music choices. It focuses on anxiety and has a journaling feature to help you pinpoint the source of your stress.
White Noise (by TMSoft, $1.99) This one might be my favorite. I already have a white noise machine by my bed to help me fall asleep. This app lets me take relaxing sounds anywhere. I love being able to hear the sounds of the rainforest or ocean waves as I’m driving around doing errands. Ocean waves are the antidote to traffic! (Please note that it’s not a good idea to try and meditate while driving—you could fall asleep!) It has 40 sounds to choose from and an alarm clock feature so you can use it as a sleep machine when traveling.
The Bible (by LifeChurch.tv, FREE) Taking a few minutes to read some encouraging words can do a lot to relieve stress. I personally take comfort in Bible verses (and I know I’m not alone in liking this app, which has over 5,000 reviews on iTunes, and according to the publisher, is installed on more than 100 million devices worldwide). This Bible app allows you to read and search the entire Bible in almost any version you might want. You can search by keywords (such as “worry”) and you can even choose to have the app read aloud (nice in the car). A powerhouse in a small package.
I hope you’re feeling more relaxed already! Let me know if you download any of these apps and check them out. There are many more stress management apps out there. If you have a favorite, I’d love to hear about it. Leave your calming thoughts in the comments!
Disclosure: I have no relationship with any of the above app publishers, and I was not compensated in any way for this post. Opinions are mine, all mine.