Best Apps to De-Stress & Ease Your Mind

Last Updated: 26 May 2020

Technology can ramp up your anxiety or be the key to calmed nerves. If you’re struggling to slow down rapidly spiraling self-talk or to escape the pings and dings demanding your attention, look no further than your smartphone! Thanks to an array of apps designed for stress management, relief is literally at your fingertips. So go ahead and set your notifications to “Do Not Disturb,” then plug in to unwind.

A man smiles and looks at his phone while seated in a cafe.


Developed by scientists and experts in the fields of positive psychology and mindfulness, the Happify app provides a variety of strategies to help you reduce stress, overcome negative thoughts, and improve your emotional well-being. Using games, tasks, and meditations, each activity’s goal is to strengthen one of the five happiness skills: thanking, aspiring, giving, empathizing, and savoring.

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: Free trial & Paid subscription


This portable stress-management tool teaches users about diaphragmatic breathing, an exercise shown to decrease the body’s fight-or-flight response and assist with anger control, anxiety management, and mood stabilization. Breathe2Relax also now uses your Apple Watch and HealthKit to measure your heart rate throughout the breathing exercises to offer a real-time visual of the physical effects of relaxation.

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: Free

What’s Up?

When you’re feeling anxious, stressed, and stuck in negative thought patterns that you can’t seem to shake, this app can provide a quick self-check-in that allows you to find a greater perspective. To help users cope with challenging feelings, app developers incorporated methods of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance commitment therapy (ACT); a catastrophe scale; breathing techniques; positive quotes; and a diary to assemble emotions and thoughts in one place.

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: Free & Paid


With more than 60 million downloads to date, this popular, award-winning app was named “the world’s happiest app” by the Centre for Humane Technology and is best known as the no. 1 app for relaxation, meditation, and sleep. Calm offers guided meditations, breathing programs, sleep stories, video demonstrations for gentle body stretching, and nature scenes to help ease stress or anxiety. It also offers calming music and sounds organized into categories like Focus, Relax, Sleep, and Nature Melodies.

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: Free trial & Paid subscription

Relax and Rest Guided Meditations

Meditation Oasis has designed three guided meditations to help users enjoy a state of deep relaxation—and without any prior meditation experience. The three sessions are 5, 13, or 24 minutes long, which allows you to select the meditation that will best suit your current needs and schedule. The meditations can also be customized to your audio preferences, with the option to include music and nature sounds.

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: Paid

Sanvello – Stress & Anxiety Help

Sanvello (formerly Pacifica) was created by psychologists and reportedly uses clinically validated techniques, such as CBT, in its immersive “journeys” that combine videos, audio exercises, activities, and mood tracking. It also provides access to a community of other users. In a randomized control study, the app was shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression over the course of 30 days.

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: Free & Paid

Before using any app
(1) check for price changes;
(2) make note of the free trial period’s duration, if applicable; and
(3) be aware of any subscription fees that are automatically charged when the free trial period ends or are automatically renewed when the subscription period ends.

  1. Try YouTube Moojiji talks, The Great Bell Chant Thich Nhat Hahn, talks by Pema Chodron, Ram Dass.

  2. Headspace is great. Guided Meditation. Free access to some materials then $87/year. After about 2 months I decided that I was DEFINITELY benefitting $87/ year. My favorite is the Sleepcasts which are relaxing/quirky bed time stories. I used to take at least 30 minutes to fall asleep. Now it’s less than 10. Good for in the middle of the night too!!!!

  3. I agree about sticker shock! I tried to subscribe to the “free” Calm and was offered a free seven days and then $69. That’s too pricey for me.

  4. The free portion of Tapping Solutions has become an enormous support. I had read about the effectiveness of tapping a while back, but never got into it. Maybe, I wasn’t motivated to try it for fear that it wouldn’t work? The app seems like a great introduction to the technique, it’s so effective and really targeted to address different emotions and obstacles. It really helps shift negative thoughts!

  5. Not listed here, but the best I’ve found used for near 10 yrs is dbsa wellness tracker. I originally accessed it online but they changed something so I use the app only now. Free and straightforward.

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