Have you ever tried to manage your anxiety?
If so, you’ll know that it’s difficult because anxiety isn’t something we pay attention to- it just creeps up on us gradually, or just plain assaults us. So what do you do? Many people have found success by using medication and therapy.
Medication and therapy have their place. But, in addition to those very important treatments, the age of the internet has spawned anxiety apps!
This post will tell you about some of the new anxiety apps, and why I love them.
5 Reasons To Love The New Anxiety Apps
1. You can use them any time
You can only see a psychiatrist or a therapist at certain times, by appointment.
But you can pull your smartphone out any time!
2. They walk you through the learning process
I’ve been learning about and teaching cognitive behavior and mindfulness for years.
But it’s taken me that long to become comfortable teaching it to my clients.
Anxiety and other mental health apps make complex ideas simple.
They walk you, step-by-step, through the learning and practice process.
3. They can help you build powerful habits outside of therapy
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” ~ Lao Tzu
If you’re already attending counseling or therapy, you learn a lot during the session.
But how easy is it to translate everything you learned in that session into your life?
Apps are great not only at teaching, but reinforcing learning.
And once you’ve learned a positive habit, it becomes part of your character that improves your quality of life.
4. They decrease stigma
Let’s face it: mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, are still viewed differently from other medical conditions.
We can unconsciously absorb negative views of mental health conditions.
When we’re ashamed of those conditions, we may deny that we have that condition, or avoid getting help.
However, apps tend to “gamify” evidence based interventions. When we’re on our phones, using an app like we do any other, we start to think of our depression and anxiety as any other aspect of our health.
5. They’re inexpensive
Apps are inexpensive when you consider how much you spend:
A) on your favorite hobbies
B) on almost any other line item in your budget.
I’ll give you an example. I tend to eat out at least once or twice a week. It’s hard to find meals that are less than $6 per meal these days.
So…. $12 per week times (conservatively) 50 weeks equals (yikes!) $600 per year!
At the most, the apps I’ve presented in this article charge between $100 and $150 per year.
And a Bonus:
They’re based on research about what works to reduce anxiety.
5 Anxiety Apps You Can Use Today
I love this app!
Reviews I’ve read say it seems to be aimed more at kids, teens, and young adults.
But I’ve found that materials written for younger audiences make concepts easier to understand.
MindShift will help you learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and find active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety. This app includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle:
- Test Anxiety
- Social Anxiety
- Performance Anxiety
Think of MindShift as your portable coach helping you face challenging situations and take charge of your life.
MindShift has subsections, including:
- Anxiety 101 (an overview about anxiety, the anxiety triangle, where it comes from, what you can do about it, and how to overcome your fear)
- Quick Tips (Feeling anxious? Need help fast? Use these quick tips to get back on track.)
- Thinking Right
- Chill Out Tools
- Active Steps
- Inspiration (Inspirational Quotes)
One drawback is that it crashes every once in a while. But, for a free app, I’ll take that drawback!
This app is said to be targeted to older teens and adults, but it seems to be as easily understood as MindShift.
The app was designed in collaboration with the University of the West of England and MyOxygen in Bristol, England.
- Working With SAM (how to use it)
- Help for anxiety NOW (working through a panic attack)
- How’s my anxiety right now (rating your anxiety helps you gain self-awareness)
- Self-help with SAM (information about anxiety, thinking and anxiety, how to relax, how to take care of your health, and small steps to manage your anxiety)
- Things that make me anxious (identifying your triggers)
- My anxiety toolkit (you can take notes about different resources and techniques that particularly help you manage your anxiety)
- Anxiety tracker (keep track of your anxiety over time)
- Social cloud (here is where other users post their ideas for managing anxiety)
A simple, intuitive, and attractive mobile app designed by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology to teach breathing techniques to manage stress. The skills taught may be applied to those with anxiety disorders, stress, and PTSD.
This app can be personalized to an individual’s pace that the user finds relaxing; includes a video demo, reading materials, and charts to map personal progress. Helpful for self-starters or those working with a therapist to include breathing techniques in their overall treatment.
I’ve been using calm for at least three years now.
I use the free version, and I’ve felt some of the following scientific benefits of meditation made easy:
- increased brain function
- increased self control
- increased happiness
If you don’t have a SmartPhone, you can go to Calm.com and use the web-based program.
Several of the meditation tracks within the app are free, and they’re the only ones I use.
But I’m considering the paid version, which comes out to about $9.99 per month if paid monthly, or a cheaper annual rate of $3.33 per month (or $39.99).
The paid version gives you access to the Children’s version that will teach mindfulness skills to your children, and many other programs.
I just downloaded Optimism today after researching apps for this article. The app doesn’t target anxiety per se, but rather your overall wellness.
It’s a way to remind ourselves of healthy mental health habits.
The app is Free (but available on iOS only)
Get Started Today!
I downloaded each of these apps in the last week.
You don’t have to use every one. Just open each one, play around with it, discard the ones you don’t like, and keep the ones you do.
Try to use at least one of the apps daily until it becomes a habit.
You’ll find that your anxiety will thank you!
Other articles about anxiety apps to read: