Over the past few years, smartphones have become ubiquitous in our society. As a therapist, one of the ways that I’ve seen and helped clients utilize their phones is to use the myriad of apps available. There are many mental health apps out there. I’ve sorted through them and come up with a list of my top 10, in no particular order.

  1. Simply Being Meditation has been studied scientifically for years, and there is a great deal of evidence showing its benefits, some of which include a decrease in anxiety symptoms, reduced fatigue, and improved mindfulness. Simply Being is an app that walks you through the process of meditation. It’s just one of many helpful apps that are produced by Meditation Oasis.
  2. Breath2Relax Breathe2Relax is an app that teaches a deep type of breathing, called diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing. This type of breathing has been shown to help reduce stress and improve mood stabilization.
  3. Happify Happify embraces what it calls “The Science of Happiness.” The app has exercises, games, and activities to decrease negative thoughts and improve relationships.
  4. Headspace Headspace is another meditation app, which features guided meditation. It uses a daily training format which can be tried for free.
  5. MindShift Mindshift is an app specifically designed for teens and young adults. It addresses such things as social and performance anxiety, perfectionism, worry panic, and conflict. Rather than avoid anxiety, it helps users change how they think about it.
  6. MoodKitMoodKit has four sections: MoodKit Activities, Thought Checker, Mood Tracker, and Journal. MoodKit utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Skills (CBT) to help with depression, anxiety, negative thoughts and feelings, and stress. It was developed by two clinical psychologists and has garnered praise from a variety of sources.
  7. Pacifica Pacifica also uses Cognitive Behavioral Skills to reduce anxiety and depression, record and track moods, and to set goals. It includes a peer support community.
  8. Panic Relief Panic Relief is made specifically for managing panic attacks. It works on both an educational and a practical level.
  9. Insight Timer Insight Timer is a meditation app. It’s description states, “Insight Timer is the largest community of regular meditators on the planet. Our community generates more meditation minutes than any other app. Every day more than 1,200 of the world’s best meditation teachers upload new content including free guided meditations, beautiful meditation music, talks, and podcasts.”
  10. SAM App for Anxiety SAM (Self-Help for Anxiety Management) helps with self-monitoring of anxiety using a graphical display, has a closed social network for social support, education about anxiety, and guidance on how to use the app in daily life.

Utilizing the power of smartphones, tablets, and other devices can be an easy way to take control of your mental health. They can even be used in conjunction with therapy, especially if your therapist is involved.

Most of your time is spent outside the therapy space. The more that you can practice things such as meditation, CBT skills, and mood charting, the more effective your therapy can be.

Apps are a great way to take charge of your mental health, whether you are struggling with a serious mental illness or hoping to reduce the day-to-day stresses of work and family. Apps are an easily available, educational, and practical means to improve your mental wellness.

Photo courtesy of  Mubariz Mehdizadeh