With all the stress that comes along with being in college, maintaining your mental health is crucial. Nowadays, everything is at our fingertips, including apps that can be incredibly beneficial for dealing with stress and anxiety. Most people always have their phones in their hands or somewhere nearby, and these apps can be used as immediate resources to take a moment to breathe, relax and destress.
Probably one of the most popular apps for decreasing stress, Headspace allows users to practice meditation and mindfulness. Meditation has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health. According to a study by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “participants suggest that mindfulness meditation programs show moderate evidence of improving anxiety and depression.”
Headspace is extremely versatile. It includes different “meditation topics” including regret, anger, self-esteem, happiness and acceptance, and there are so many more that can be used as incredible tools to cope. There is even a student section that features a “Leaving Home” meditation series as well as a “Distractions” meditation series that trains users to better ignore common distractions that decrease productivity.
The app can also be personalized to track progress, including how much time is spent meditating and how many sessions the user has completed. There are also mini-meditation exercises for a quick pause during a busy, stressful day. The app is user-friendly and can be adjusted to meet the needs of anyone, from the least experienced meditator to the most experienced. Headspace is an excellent avenue for those looking to take a time-out.
Moodnotes features a way to create new journal entries. When creating a new entry, the app begins by asking, “How are you?” Then, users can alter a face to smile or frown to different degrees based on their current mood.
The app then prompts the user by asking, “What’s happening at the moment?” As users type their entries, Moodnotes analyzes the text and attempts to identify which emotions the user will relate to. This app is great to use throughout the day as a mini-journal, and I often use it when I need to get something off my chest quickly by typing how I’m thinking and feeling.
It also tracks mood trends day to day or hour to hour and provides mood insights to help users better understand how they usually feel and how different events can positively or negatively impact their mood.
Trying to go to bed after a long day can sometimes seem impossible. Thoughts come creeping in and can make it difficult to fall asleep. According to Sleep Health Foundation, “People who sleep poorly are much more likely to develop significant mental illness, including depression and anxiety, than those who sleep well.”
It is often difficult to fall asleep when stress or anxiety keeps tugging you awake, but Relax Melodies is beneficial for finding that little bit of relaxation that quiets the mind enough to sink into a deep sleep.
This app features many relaxing sounds from white noise to rain. It also features different meditation series that can improve users’ ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. The app also features a bedside alarm clock, and there is a setting to tell the phone when to close out of the app later in the night after the user falls asleep, so you don’t wake up with only 2 percent battery life. With everything going on in this busy world, it is important to find a quiet time to be able to reflect on the day, relax and sleep soundly.
Virtual Hope Box
Virtual Hope Box is one of the most versatile mental health apps. It has many different features that make the app quite useful. Upon opening the home screen, there are five options: remind me, distract me, inspire me, relax me and coping tools. Each section contains different activities users can utilize to reach their goals.
In the “remind me” section, users are prompted to add positive media such as pictures, videos, screenshots and quotes. This is an awesome way to get a little dose of positivity during a stressful day. The “distract me” section contains puzzles and word searches that are great for, well, being distracted. The “inspire me” section contains a ton of different motivational quotes that are great for helping push through the day. The “relax me” section features controlled breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and guided meditation. This app is a great way to find a variety of activities to decompress and destress.