Top 7 Apps for Stress Relief
It turns out anxiety is not such a bad thing after all. Scientists discovered that acute pressure improves concentration and helps us think more clearly.
But there’s a thin line between rapid stimulation and depression. Chronic stress leads to migraines, anxiety, muscular tension, indigestion, chest pains and other health problems. In fact, 60% of all human diseases are caused by stress in this or that way!
Why are we so tense all the time?
Well, simply because we work hard! 44% of Americans admit they feel a lot more stressed than they did only 5 years ago. The average productivity growth in the USA between 1995 and 2005 was estimated at 2.9%. Last year, it fell by 2.2%. Can you see the obvious connection? The more we work, the less we produce and (subsequently) earn.
Sure, we cannot slow the world down. But we live in the digital era. It’s high time we learnt how to use the new technology tools to balance our lives! Here’s my top 7 stress management apps that will help you make it through hectic workdays.
Best apps for relaxation & reflection
- MindMeister. Before you get rid of all the thoughts that inhabit your head, it may be worth writing them down; what if you have a million-dollar idea for a mobile app & let it go? The MindMeister application allows you to draw detailed mind maps with pictures, links and notes. The app stores data in the cloud, so you can easily share your sketches with other users or upload them to Dropbox. A great way to stay focused on a chaotic workday;
- I Can Be Free. In 2006 the Anxiety Disorders Association of America conducted a survey among US employees and came up with some disappointing findings. 56% of respondents said stress affected their workplace performance, while half of those surveyed confessed anxiety decreased the quality of work & ability to meet deadlines. The I Can Be Free app offers a collection of audio hypnosis sessions that help you overcome common fears, improve self-esteem and cope with stress. Its publisher uses the freemium monetization strategy (several audio files are available by default; more can be accessed through in-app purchases);
- Headspace. So you think you can (and know how to!) relax? The reason you’re not feeling happy these days may be the lack of work/life balance. In order to feel happy and relaxed, a person should devote almost 7 hours a day to simple pleasures like reading a book, watching a silly sitcom or going out with friends. It’s an unaffordable luxury for most hard-working guys out there. As long as you have a smartphone & 10 min to spare, the Headspace app will teach you the finest meditation techniques from various systems. The software tracks your progress and allows you to share your achievements online;
- Sleep Cycle. If you think your boss will thank you for all the sleepless nights you’ve spent working on an important project, here’s a sobering fact for you. Sleep deprivation costs American companies $ 63.2 billion every year (employees who sleep less than 6 hours a day are less productive and often burn out at work). Using the Sleep Cycle mobile app, you can finally get some quality rest and improve your time management. Here’s how it works. Start the app and lay your smartphone beside you. Sleep Cycle’s embedded sensor tracks your movements to determine what phase of sleep you’re currently going through. The application will wake you up at the most convenient time. The program also determines factors that prevent you from sleeping well (alcohol and coffee consumption, reading in bed, watching TV, etc.);
- Earthlaps. If you want to get a better view of the planet we live on (and escape from reality!), you don’t have to become a space traveler. Simply download the $ 0.99 Earthlapse application and…relax! Looking through the high-quality photos taken by the NASA astronauts & listening to beautiful ambient music will certainly bring a little peace and quiet to your everyday life. Easily one of the best stress management mobile apps out there;
- Memoires: the Diary. In the past, most successful people (including writers, politicians and emperors) kept diaries; why don’t you follow their example? According to the survey conducted by James Pennebaker (University of Texas), journaling reduces symptoms of asthma, boosts immunity, clarifies thoughts and improves problem-solving skills. Ok, keeping a paper diary may be a bit over the top (you need a good hiding place for it & time to actually sit down and write something); but you’ve got a smartphone for sure! Download the free Memoires: the Diary Android app and…record your life (with pictures, notes and links attached)! In case you’re too lazy to type, you can create audio files. If you’re an open-minded person & are not afraid to show who you are, you can share some of your records with your friends (via social networks, email and Google+);
- Gratitude Journal/Attitudes of Gratitude. We don’t appreciate what we have – and that’s where most of our problems come from. Meanwhile, gratitude lowers stress hormones and makes you feel happier! You can download Gratitude Journal from the App Store, while the Attitude of Gratitude app is available on Google Play. The idea behind these apps is similar to journaling. The only difference is that you don’t keep record of the things that disappoint you in any way. Instead, you write down every single thing that makes you smile, whether it’s a funny joke told by your co-worker or an extremely good cup of coffee you drank on your way home. When you’re feeling low, simply open your digital diary and…appreciate all the beautiful moments you’ve lived through!
We surely live in a crazy world. And yet, among its craziness and chaos, there is a place for beauty and harmony. All you have to do is slow down and steal a little time for yourself. Whether you’re absorbed in a book or a mobile app designed by a clever & thoughtful vendor, you should live in the moment & simply enjoy your life.