National Stress Awareness Day: Three apps for managing stress
Stress. Stress is so endemic it causes me stress to even think about it. And I'm not alone either: In 2020 the American Psychological Institute released a report declaring stress to be a National Health Crisis. Which you know, go figure, as it turns out living through a pandemic is kinda stressful. But dig into that report and you'll find that, like all things, stress is not distributed evenly: Gen-Z, students (both high-school and college,) lower-income populations, people of color, and women all reported record levels of stress in 2020.
Given this crisis, it's both not surprising and good that there's been an explosion of apps that can help you deal with stress. So if you've already shredded your stress balls and wore your fidget-spinner smooth, here are some apps that can help you de-stress.
Headspace (Android, iOS)
If there's one mental health and wellness app you might have heard of, it's probably Headspace. Technically Headspace is a guided meditation app, but guess what's good for stress? Meditation. Headspace will teach you the basics of meditation and mindfulness, and it's free to try for ten, 10-minute sessions, and then a subscription unlocks longer and more directed meditations for specific situations and issues.
Breathe2Relax (Android, iOS)
Breathe2Relax, as you might suspect, is an app to help with your breathing. You're probably thinking that you've got breathing down pretty well, but in times of stress, directed, deep, from-the-diaphragm breathing can be incredibly useful in reducing stress. This app comes from the Department of Defense’s Center for Telehealth and Technology, developed for soldiers (and their families) to learn deep breathing to combat stress. So if it works for soldiers, I bet it'll work for you too. Even better --- it's completely free.
Free to try, Happify is a science-based app that gamifies mental health, which is an idea that should appeal to you gamers out there. Basically, with Happify, you set a goal like "eliminating negative thoughts" or "building self-confidence", and then Happify gives you games, activities, and quizzes to help you reach that goal. It's an interesting take on mental health, and one that might work for you,. Only downside is it's iPhone only --- sorry Android users.
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