Prevention & Awareness

Stress Less Week: 3 Relaxation Apps You Should Download Today

Welcome to the Winter 2014 Stress Less Week blog series! Learn more about how to host a Stress Less event on your campus.

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Lately, I’ve become a big fan of relaxation apps. Whether I’m taking a 10 minute stress break at the national office, commuting home on the metro or walking my dog, I love stealing a few moments to unwind and re-center.

Mindfulness and meditation apps are very in right now, so this list is by no means exhaustive. Here are my four favorite relaxation apps — I challenge you to try them (or download others!) and prioritize self-care during the stressful season of finals.

Happy relaxing, friends!

1. Stop, Breathe & Think

This one is my favorite. You start by doing a doing a 10-second relaxation check-in: the screen dims and you’re prompted to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and think about how your body and mind feel.

You then answer a few questions on how you’re feeling mentally and physically. The app gives you several dozen adjectives to choose from — are you feeling fulfilled? Relieved? Open-hearted? Disconnected? Conflicted? Powerless? Pessimistic? — so it forces you to really examine what’s going on in your head and heart.

Next, the app does a quick analysis of your emotions and suggests four to seven mindfulness/meditation exercises — from 2 to 10 minutes-long — based on how you’re feeling.

For example, if you’re feeling judgemental and angry, the app may suggest a kindness meditation that prompts you to focus on the people you love in your life and push that positive energy to whoever or whatever you’re mad at.

There are apps for walking down the street, falling asleep, relaxing and grounding, being present, dealing with anxiety and healing sadness.

Each time I use this app, I walk away feeling a little lighter and a little happier. It’s become a staple in my mental health self-care and I would love for you to try it!

Free download in iTunes and the Google Play store

2. Omvana

Omvana is the #1 selling meditation app and is basically the Spotify of the meditation world. There are thousands of apps in pretty much every category you can imagine (sleep, relaxation, productivity, focus and inspiration, just to name a few). 

The cool thing about Omvana is you pick a mediation track and also the background noise. So let’s say I really like falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. I can choose a background track of the beach and play my nighttime meditation track over it — allowing you to completely customize all the different options!

Free download in iTunes and on your computer

3. Breathe2Relax

If you’re looking for a relaxation app but aren’t a fan of meditation, Breathe2Relax is a great choice. It’s a no-muss, no-fuss app that delivers several breathing exercises you can customize based on personal preference.

The best part of the app: You can document your stress levels each day, which allows you to examine for patterns in your stress experience.

According to the app developers, “Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.”

After using it just a few times, I’m able to do exercises and relax when I’m anxious without even using the app. 

Free download in iTunes and the Google Play store

These are my favorite, but there are plenty more about there! What relaxation apps do you use? Leave us a comment or tweet @Active_Minds.