Most of us could probably use a mental health boost, especially after the last two years we’ve had — and that’s where technology comes in. There seems to be an app popping up every minute designed to help you feel better, both mentally and physically. And, usually, all they require are just a few minutes a day to take your wellness routine to a whole new level. Whether you want to meditate more, journal, increase your productivity, or even make a vision board on your phone, there’s an app for that.
In recent years, there has been an increase in awareness about mental health, and we’re seeing more and more resources catering to emotional and mental wellbeing. For instance, some companies now include “mental health days” as paid time off while others include free therapy resources. Speaking of which, therapy is not cheap, to say the least. But several of the apps below can help in the interim — or alongside — therapy (take it from someone who knows) and improve your mental strength by getting your mind and body moving. After all, mindfulness will only continue to reign in 2022. So grab your phone and get ready to download some of the below.
Buddhify can help you with a wide array of things, from lowering anxiety and stress to managing emotions to helping you drift off to sleep. There’s a mindfulness wheel (think Wheel of Fortune) wherein you choose a category to focus on with options like Walking, Traveling, Work Break, Just Meditation. Whether you want to meditate for a few minutes or several, you’ll find something that works for you.
Headspace has hundreds of guided meditations (on everything from anxiety to focus to sleep), as well as breathing exercises, so you can calm down and relax no matter where you are. There are also SOS sessions if you need an emergency meditation during an anxiety-inducing moment. You can track your progress with Mindful Minutes, too, which helps keep you accountable. And there’s a Move Mode element, so you can get in a workout through mindful fitness and cardio.
With the Charity Miles app, for every mile you move — literally — you’re donating money to charity. You can run, walk, bike… You choose your charities, which include Stand Up To Cancer, Autism Speaks, ASPCA, Feeding America, and more. The money comes from their corporate sponsorship pool, but you can also get your friends involved and get sponsored by them — which is a win-win for you both.
Insight Timer has a countless number of meditations on all kinds of topics, from anxiety to goal-setting to positive affirmations to falling asleep. There are many walking meditations — which get you out and about (you can even just walk around your apartment) — and also several courses you can take and live meditations to stream, which is a good way to get a daily dose of calm. You can also connect with fellow Insight Timer users around the world, as well as bookmark your favorite meditations and create playlists, too.
Gratitude Journal Affirmations
Research shows that giving thanks can make you happier, and the Gratitude Journal Affirmations app is an easy way to do so. Even though so much seems bad in the world, this app can help remind you that there’s always something to be grateful for, from the sun shining to having a job to having a friend you can count on anytime. And the more you write down (or type out!) what you’re grateful for, the more you’ll boost your health and state of mind, which can help your body feel better, too. This app has a guided gratitude journal (the prompts really get you thinking — and writing), affirmations, daily quotes to lift your spirits, and a vision board so you can manifest your goals. You can do every option, or just focus on one of them.
Ten Percent Happier
Ten Percent Happier aims to do just that — make you 10% happier. If you want to focus on mindfulness, improving your relationships, and sleeping better, there are more than 500 guided meditations to choose from. There are also inspirational stories you can listen to on-the-go if you need a mental boost. There’s also a podcast, Ten Percent Happier With Dan Harris and a book by Harris, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story. And the app integrates with the Apple Health app, too.
Happify consists of science-backed activities, games, and meditations that are meant to help reduce stress and anxiety, manage burnout, build self-confidence, overcome negative thinking, and more. The techniques Happify uses are developed by experts in positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy. And the app says that 86% of people who use Happify regularly report feeling better about their lives in two months. It’s worth a try, right? Aside from the games and meditations, you can get a 20-page character strength report, as well as track your progress every day.
Brain Focus Productivity Timer
This Brain Focus Productivity Timer app is all about getting things done. It’s a time management app based on techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, wherein you break up your tasks into 25-minute chunks and reward yourself with five-minute breaks in between. After about four sessions, you can take a longer break, 15 or 20 minutes.
The Brain Focus Productivity Timer also encourages you to break up your work into four sessions, but it’s more an idea than a rule. You start a work session for “x” number of minutes, then reward yourself with a short break of “y” minutes, then go back to the work step. You can track your time by task and group your tasks by categories. The best part, I think, is the ability to disable WiFi and sound as you work. The more productive you are, the better you’ll feel.
Brain Focus Productivity Timer is available on Android for free, and the pro version is $1.99.
Thrive (by Thrive Global)
Thrive by Thrive Global calls itself: “Your behavior change coach.” It can do everything from help you manage stress, strengthen connections with others, help you focus, and improve your overall well-being. You can build new habits with the Microsteps program — and even if you only have 60 seconds, you can look to the app for inspirational quotes, music, and images. Or you can try out a 21-day challenge. You can also focus on one specific thing at a time, like Recharge, Food, Move, Money, Focus, or Connect.
This app was designed by people with depression, but can help you whether or not you suffer from it. If you have a therapist, they may ask you about your day-to-day moods — and that’s where Moodily comes in. Super simple to use, you can use emojis to track how you’re feeling — and add a note, if you wish, on what you did that day. With its calendar feature, you’ll see a big-picture view of how you’ve felt all month — did the activities you did or foods you ate affect your moods? With this app, you’ll be able to get an idea. It’s also an easy way to share your mental state of mind with your health care professional or therapist.
5 Minute Journal
Even if you’re not a journaling person, per se, the 5 Minute Journal will make you one. And if you think you don’t have time to journal, think again. After all, research shows that there are a lot of mental health benefits from journaling, from reducing stress and anxiety to helping you identify your fears and concerns, as well as see your negative thought patterns and behaviors. The app uses positive psychology principles with the goal of making you happier by journaling just five minutes a day. And if you’re not sure what to write, it gives you prompts like “3 things I am grateful for…” and “What will I do to make today great?” You can use it first-thing in the morning, before bed, or both — and you can set a notification to remind you to journal at a set time each day, too.
Subliminal Vision Boards
With the Subliminal Vision Boards app, you can manifest all day long with just a few taps on your phone. You can create as many vision boards as you’d like in whatever categories you create, such as Abundance, Health, Finances, Travel, you name it. Like a vision board offline, you can add photos, captions, and positive affirmations, too. Your conscious and subconscious mind can then work on manifesting your wants and desires.