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. Not only are we going online to order groceries, we’re also attending dance recitals virtually, and even getting medical and mental health care via mobile apps.
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, lower cost, and convenience, therapy apps have become a popular solution for those seeking to deal with anxiety or any other mental health issue for that matter. These these apps offer access to digital tools as well as professional therapists that can treat users in much the same way they would be treated in traditional, in-office sessions. The apps can be used as stand-alone solutions, as well as in combination with in-person psychotherapy.
Many of the more popular anxiety 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, each with a different approach to treating your anxiety symptoms.
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 on Android and iOS.
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 Android and iOS.
Headspace has been around for some time. It boasts a creative animated interface and is extremely user-friendly. It’s one of the most popular and well-known mental health and wellness apps. Headspace is based on meditative practice and is most appropriate for those who are open to meditation as a tool for reducing anxiety and stress as well as improving attention and awareness. Users will learn mindfulness and cognitive diffusion, breathing exercises, meditative practices, and practical tips for relaxation. Although is app is geared more to those that are new to meditation, it is completely suitable for users with years of mindfulness experience as well. Headspace is not free but offers the first 10 sessions for free. It is available for both Android and iOS.
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 Android and iOS.
When it comes to apps to help with anxiety, there are many choices. Whether you prefer something highly interactive or just want some basic techniques, our list of the apps is a good starting point in your search. The important thing is that you take action in addressing your anxiety.