6 Of The Best No-Nonsense Apps to Destress In 2016

Forget your troubles, come on, get ‘appy…

Everyone wants to feel happier and less stressed, but finding the time to make little changes or even learning to chill-out can be tricky. You’ve probably heard the buzzword ‘mindfulness’ bandied about last year from celebs and life gurus alike – it’s the newest way to improve mental wellbeing by paying attention to your own thoughts and feelings in the present moment. And of course, there are loads of apps out there to help you do just that…

Whether it’s mediation, breathing exercises, or just learning how to switch-off, if you’ve got a smart-phone, these apps can help you put the app back in happy…

1. Happify

What is it?
An app that promises to be your ‘personal happiness trainer’, Happify is a library of de-stress games, motivational articles, quotes, and audio tracks from psychology coaches and successful business people.
How much is it?
Free.
What do I have to do?

Once you’re downloaded, the app asks to you complete a short questionnaire which will apparently reveal your current emotional state before suggesting tracks or games for your current mood. Questions include ‘do you have a hard time bouncing back after adversity?’ After you’ve divulged, you’ll then be guided towards the listening, reading or gaming material.
Is it any good?

One of the best de-stress apps we’ve ever seen, Happify is definitely worth downloading. The range of tracks is impressive; you’ve got everything from stress-coping talks and meditation tips from experts to body positive playlists which are relatable and easy to listen to. There’s also a ‘happify daily’ section comprised of positive topical news stories, daily tips to boost your mood and a side-bar which pulls from all these features depending on what aspect of your mental well-being you want to improve. And there’s no hidden cost.

2. Breathe2relax

What is it?
Breathe2relax teaches you how to improve and practice your diaphragmatic breathing through video in order to reduce stress.
How much is it?
Free.
What do I have to do?
Switch on, watch the videos and er, breathe.
Is it any good?
Breathing is actually an important part of stress relief, so although it might sound silly, learning how to do it properly (i.e. from the belly, not the chest) is probably the first step to chilling out a bit. If you’re after something quick and simple, this app is a great start in developing a calmer you.

3. SAM

What is it?
An anti-anxiety-app, SAM has been developed by the University of the West of England and is used to measure how anxiety affects you over time by helping you to identify solutions and practice self-help options.
How much is it?
Free.
What do I have to do?
Record your daily worries using the anxiety-tracker and use the tools within the app to train yourself to be less stressed.
Is it any good?
There’s tons of useful info within SAM which is geared towards reassuring the user that anxiety isn’t a taboo topic and helping them beat it. The app also comes with several physical and mental relaxation exercises lasting between 1 and 30 minutes that are easy to do, and a ‘social cloud’ where you can connect with an online community to share self-help tips. We reckon SAM is a must for anyone who’s ever suffered from anxiety.

4. Stigma

What is it?
A daily journal for your phone which encourages you to off-load to the sum of just 200 characters a day.
What do you have to do?
Write.
How much is it?
Free.
Is it any good?
If you need a gentle push into revealing your thoughts each day then Stigma’s great. There’s also a mood-calendar and a word-cloud which draws on the emotions within your writing to help you ‘visualise your mood trends and reflect on significant events’ so you can review past emotions and maybe even craft that best-seller you’ve been dreaming of.

5. Headspace

What is it?
Widely considered to be one of the most comprehensive de-stress apps around, Headspace is marketed as a meditation app for improving mindfulness and concentration whilst lowering stress levels.
How much is it?
Free for a decent amount of access, but if you want to sign up for unlimited lifetime access it will cost you £8.99 a month.
What do I have to do?
Find a quiet spot for 10 minutes a day and tune out.
Is it any good?
The free version provides some soothing, ten 10-minute meditation slots which make genuinely make sense and don’t want to make you rip your headphones out, we just wish there were more. The sessions teach you how to meditate, address common stressors and provide common sense advice on how to reduce them. There’s also in-app games and daily motivation tips to keep you on track and turn even the most reluctant-meditator into a fully fledged convert.

6. Sleep Cycle

What is it?
This app monitors your sleep cycle using a built in microphone and wakes you up when you’re in the ‘lightest’ sleep phase.
How much is it?
Free for the basic version.
What do I have to do?
Sleep – with your phone left near you – so it can pick up on your cycle.
Is it any good?
A good night’s sleep plays a vital role in determining your mood and stress cycle, so learning more about how you kip can only be helpful. Sleep Cycle comes with series of graphs to show you when you’re in the different stages of sleep but if you want more details you have to pay for the full version app which is annoying.


Tried any of these apps? Let us know what you thought @marieclaireuk

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