Now maybe more than any other time in recent history, people are having to change how they connect and access information. The coronavirus pandemic has taken us to a level of reliance on technology we never expected. We’re now going online to order groceries, attend dance recitals, and even get medical and mental health care. The Internet has become our lifeline.
Staying home and socially isolating, along with the fears of the virus itself, have taken a heavy toll on our mental health. Anxiety and depression are on the rise as people struggle to cope with uncertainty and isolation. Not surprisingly, the global pandemic has increased the demand for mental health services that are easily accessible in this socially distanced world.
With their ease of access, minimal cost, and flexibility, therapy apps have become a popular solution for those seeking ways to deal a variety of mental health issues. These these apps offer access to professional therapists that can treat users in much the same way they would be treated in traditional, in-office sessions. Other mental health apps, both free options as well as paid options have also cropped up, which opt for helping people deal with specific symptoms they may be experiencing. These apps are often used in addition to psychotherapy, whether it’s in-person or virtual.
Many of the most popular apps are built on a solid foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy and provide users with a sound virtual self-help experience. Other popular apps focus on relaxation strategies and ways to cope with stress. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best apps to help you with anxiety, whatever form it may take.
This simple and intuitive app was designed by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology to teach diaphragmatic breathing techniques as a tool for managing stress. Users can personalize the app to a breathing pace that they find comfortable. The app includes a demo video, educational information, and tools to track progress. The app links with HealthKit and your Apple Watch to track your heart rate providing a more complete picture of the relaxation response. This app is appropriate for anyone seeking to add breathing techniques to their repertoire of anxiety management tools. This app is free and available in the App Store.
Happify is intended for the motivated individual interested in a self-guided experience. The app consists of exercises and games grounded in positive psychology and mindfulness that are intended to improve positive emotions and outlook. Users can complete an initial questionnaire to allow the app to suggest tracks aimed at anxiety-based needs such as reducing worry, improving relationships, increasing fitness, or coping with chronic pain. This app is free with paid upgrades and is available for both iPhone and Android.
Headspace has been around for some time. It boasts a creative animated interface and is extremely user-friendly. It is one of the most popular and well-known mental health/wellness apps. Headspace is based on meditative practice and most appropriate for those who are open to meditation as a tool for reducing anxiety and stress as well as improving attention and awareness. It is appropriate for a beginner or a seasoned practitioner. Users will learn mindfulness and cognitive diffusion, breathing exercises, meditative practices, and practical tips for relaxation. Headspace is not free but offers the first 10 sessions for free. It is available in both the App Store and Google Play.
Grounded in CBT, Mindshift is an app that is designed primarily for adolescents and young adults who want to learn basic skills to manage their anxiety. The app addresses various types of anxiety including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic attacks. It can also be helpful for worry, performance anxiety, and test anxiety. Mindshift offers a number of coping strategies and tools, such as breathing exercises, imagery, and mindfulness practices. It also includes “quick tips” for added support. Strategies are offered in both text and audio form. Mindset is not a tracker and the many choices may be overwhelming to some. This app is free and is available for iPhone and Android.
When it comes to apps to help with anxiety, there are many choices. Whether you prefer something highly interactive or just the basics, you’re sure to find an app that will be the perfect fit for you.