TechnologyEssential apps to help you relax and de-stress

Jamie QuadrosNovember 14, 201911 min

I’ve got good news and bad news, folks. The bad news is: all of us are living with tremendous amounts of stress and it’s really not good for our health. According to an article by Global News from 2018, 73% of all working adults aged 20 to 64 experience at least some level of stress. That’s a worrying percentage, especially given the numerous negative effects of stress and the fact that’s it’s contagious! The good news is: it’s a fixable problem. As it turns out, humans are a pretty innovative bunch, and we’ve already developed plenty of modern solutions to combat these very modern problems.

Stress can’t be eliminated altogether—there’s simply too much going on globally and domestically for that to work. You’ll have far more success reducing or eliminating its effects on your life instead by meditating, exercising, and getting proper sleep. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re fixated on deals that haven’t closed, delays in your home reno, or deadlines looming over you.

That’s where the modern solutions part comes in: if you’re looking to tackle the effects of your stress—there’s an app for that! Here are a few worthwhile options to help you relax, recalibrate, and unwind.

To help you meditate

Reducing your stress can be as simple as taking a few minutes to clear your mind. Even a brief break from the constant pressure can go a long way towards keeping you healthy. These are three of the most popular meditation apps, selected in particular for their varied content and ease of use.

10% Happier (https://www.tenpercent.com/)

If you’re skeptical about the efficacy of meditation, this is the app for you. Its meditation exercises are short with a minimal time commitment, and are ideal for neophytes. New content is frequently added to keep things fresh.

Simple Habit (https://try.simplehabit.com/)

The Simple Habit app features a range of meditation exercises for those who are truly strapped for time. There are options as short as a minute long, so you can fit them in whenever you’re able without needing to worry about running out of time.

Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/)

Frequently listed among the best meditation apps available, Headspace also offers a range of meditation options of different lengths. According to research cited by the company, just ten days of using the app can reduce your stress by 14%. It can also improve your focus by 14%, and make you kinder to yourself and others.

To help you sleep

With all of the responsibility we shoulder on a daily basis it’s hard enough to get a full night’s sleep, let alone good quality sleep. However, a few small adjustments and the right apps can go a long way to helping you get all the rest you need.

Pzizz (https://pzizz.com/)

The folks behind Pzizz believe in “Sleep at the push of a button”. Their app is designed to help you calm your mind, fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. The Pzizz “dreamscapes” claim to be based on the latest clinical research, soothing you with a blend of music, voiceovers, and sound effects.

Calm (https://www.calm.com/)

The Calm app is an all-in-one solution for meditation, sleep, and relaxation. It features “unique audio content that strengthens mental fitness” aimed at tackling “stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression”.

Sleep Cycle (https://www.sleepcycle.com/)

In the app’s own words: the “Sleep Cycle alarm clock tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep. Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested without an alarm clock”. If you frequently wake up feeling groggy or tired, this might be the solution you’re looking for!

To help you unburden

What do you do when you’ve tried everything, but still can’t calm your mind or get to sleep? Sometimes, taking a few moments to consider or work through what’s stressing you out might be the key to helping yourself. Here are two apps that can help with that.

7 Cups (https://www.7cups.com/)

7 Cups is a free app that connects you with trained volunteer listeners, allowing you to get online support via chat 24 hours a day. Their anonymous service also includes the option of paying a monthly fee to speak to licensed therapists, if you feel like you need more professional support for the issues that are troubling you.

Sanvello (https://www.sanvello.com/)

If you’re wary of unburdening yourself online, the Sanvello app might be a great alternative to 7 Cups for you. It offers self-guided “journeys” based on cognitive behavioural therapy, combining it with mindfulness meditation and the ability to track your mood and health. In short, you work through your problems using the guides and keep notes on your progress.

Final thoughts

As I said earlier, stress isn’t something you can eliminate in one fell swoop. However, small, habit-forming positive changes can really help minimize its effects on your life. With some patience, the resources we listed can hopefully pave the way for a healthier, more relaxed you!

Note: FCT does not endorse or promote any of the products mentioned above.

Jamie Quadros

Freelance writer and communications professional at the University of Toronto. He’s an avid cinephile, voracious reader, and a terror at karaoke bars.

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