In a world where people are so fixated on controlling every aspect of their lives, anxious thoughts are one thing that cannot be controlled. With unprecedented levels of stress, pressure, distraction and isolation in modern society, no one is immune to the effects of anxiety; it can creep up at any time and on anyone.
Even the most self-assured person will experience occasional bouts of anxiety, no matter how well they may hide it, and trying to fight it is a losing battle that can make symptoms worse. However, anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Feeling anxious from time to time is completely normal and not something that should be avoided at all costs.
On the contrary, this primal human emotion is hard-wired into our brains to act as a warning system, increasing alertness and spurring us to take action against potential danger or harm. In some cases, it can even be a literal lifesaver, as research suggests that people with a heightened level of anxiety avoid fatal accidents more than people without it .
With that said, anxiety can become excessive, irrational, or chronic to the point where it disrupts a person’s quality of life. In fact, an estimated 31% of U.S. adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives . So, what can be done about it?
Other than seeking medical intervention, there are several apps for anxiety that can effectively help you manage and find relief from your symptoms to have you feeling like your usual self. Anxiety-calming apps use various techniques to help you feel relaxed, including guided meditations, breathing exercises, visualisations, and more.
We’ve rounded up the best anti-anxiety apps based on factors such as cost, ease of use, range of features, results, and the science behind the technology used. See below some useful apps to help with anxiety that you can download on your iOS or Android device today.
While Pzizz is an app designed to help you sleep better, it’s also an excellent tool to help manage chronic anxiety, panic attacks, social phobias, and more. This relaxation app uses patented psychoacoustic technology to create unique ‘soundscapes’-a mix of clinically-validated music, sounds, and narrations to promote a state of calm.
With highly-customizable features, including volume adjustment, sound durations, 3D effects, and voice gender selection, the app offers a highly-personalised experience to each user. Moreover, there’s an extensive library of audio to choose from to give you a unique listening experience each time you use the app and maintain effectiveness over time.
Although it uses super-sophisticated technology, Pzizz is wonderfully easy to use with its intuitive design and features. Whenever you feel your anxiety is acting up, simply switch on the app, close your eyes, and leave the rest to Pzizz.
Pzizz also comes highly recommended by many frontrunners, including world-class athletes, journalists, and authors. So if you’re looking for results in relieving your anxiety without any fuss, download your free trial on the App Store or Google Play today.
The benefits of meditation have long been proven to improve psychological health and overall quality of life. Mesmerize leverages these benefits to offer users a unique meditation experience through engaging visuals, soothing music, and expertly crafted guided meditations to help relieve stress and lower anxiety.
With over one million downloads and ten thousand five-star reviews, Mesmerize uses scientifically-proven techniques to relax the nervous system and calm the mind, making it an excellent alternative to conventional medications that often carry undesired side effects.
There are several modes and features to help get you through the intensity of daily life. The uniquely hypnotic visuals, from serene to psychedelic, help clear your mind of racing and intrusive thoughts. At the same time, the soothing psycho-acoustic music is designed to help you enter a state of deep relaxation. There is also a visual breathing mode that helps you focus on your breath to meditate.
Meditation sessions range from one minute to 30 minutes long, consisting of short affirmations and in-depth guided narrations, providing an easy-to-follow experience for complete novices and seasoned meditators alike.
Not many people are aware of the extensive benefits of mindful breathing on our physical and mental well-being. Breathing at a particular rate for extended periods of time can do everything from decreasing stress, lowering anxiety, and relieving pain, to improving immunity, detoxing the body, and increasing energy.
As beneficial as it may be, deep breathing can get quite boring, making it difficult to sustain attention-that’s where Bliss comes in. The visual breathing app is a revolutionary new way to practice breathwork to help you find balance, restoration, and inner calmness.
Bliss guides you to breathe at your resonant frequency through beautifully engaging visuals and relaxing audio. Doing as little as twelve minutes of resonant frequency breathing a day is scientifically proven to calm the nervous system to decrease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Bliss’ breathing exercises are backed by science to leave you feeling uplifted, nourished, and replenished, making it one of the best breathing apps for anxiety. Download Bliss on the App Store and Google Play and opt into a free trial version to discover its benefits before you invest.
People with anxiety often have difficulty falling asleep at night, and sleep deprivation can worsen symptoms of anxiety. Calm is designed to break this vicious cycle with its extensive library of guided meditation sessions, sleep stories, exclusive relaxation music, and soothing nature sounds.
Featuring masterclasses from world-renowned mindfulness experts and sleep narrations by top celebrities, Calm is the number one mindfulness app, with over one million five-star reviews, proven to help people sleep better at night and improve their mental state.
Key features include a mindful minute tracker, a daily mood check-in tool that creates personalized mood reports and family plans, and new content continually added to the app to enhance the user experience.
You can get limited service for free or the full range of content for $14.99 a month, as well as a premium version for $69.99 a year. Enjoy a seven-day free trial of Calm by downloading it on your iOS or Android device.
With hundreds of guided meditations on everything, including stress, anxiety and sleep, there’s something for everyone to benefit from in the Headspace app. In fact, a University of Oxford study found that ten to twenty minutes of daily use of the app resulted in a respective 31% and 46% decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression in as little as eight weeks.
Headspace features an anxiety-specific course that employs scientifically-validated mindfulness training to help you disconnect from negative thought patterns and feelings and better prepare you to respond to stressful situations. You can also keep track of your progress to analyse how your anxiety-reducing habits have improved your mental health in the long term.
There are individual, family, and student subscription plans and a free two-week trial allowing access to the app’s full range of features. Download Headspace on the App Store and Google Play to get started.
Using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to address negative thought patterns, MoodMission gamifies the process by setting the user various challenges and is a great app for calming anxiety and treating depression in a fun and engaging way.
These missions are physical, thought-based, behavior-based, or emotion-based, depending on your mind frame. Activities include everything from yoga and positive affirmations to learning a new skill and messaging a friend.
The activities are quick and easy to achieve, tailored specifically to your habits and needs. You can also learn how each task helps to decrease anxiety. The more missions you complete, the more badges you earn, thereby promoting a sense of overall satisfaction and fulfilment.
MoodMission can be downloaded for $7.99 on the App Store and Google Play, with additional in-app purchases available.
If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to experience a panic attack, you’ll know just how scary and debilitating it can be. Rootd is an award-winning, scientifically validated app that helps you navigate the problematic thoughts, feelings, and sensations you experience amid an anxiety episode.
Simply tap and hold the red button in the app anytime you require assistance. You’ll get instant support and reassurance through calming statements, guided breathing, anxiety journaling and other clinically-based techniques.
You can also gain peace of mind by learning the root cause of your anxiety and how your mind and body process it, identifying and tracking subconscious triggers, and using guided visualizations, deep breathing, and soothing sounds to get rooted in moments of anxiety.
There’s also a handy emergency contact feature that allows you to instantly call a family member, friend, or local help center directly from the app whenever you need to.
Rootd is free to download onto your iOS or Android device with the option of additional in-app purchases.
The root causes and experiences of anxiety can often be distinctive to specific cultural backgrounds. Shine was designed with this fact in mind, helping people, specifically from ethnic minority communities, to address their anxiety.
Featuring self-care tools such as podcasts, 600+guided meditations, a comprehensive audio library, and community forums offering peer-to-peer support from people of similar backgrounds, Shine is an effective app to calm anxiety in a unique and culturally-sensitive way.
When you open the app, you’re prompted to partake in a daily check-in where you record your current mood and what you’re grateful for. There are also customizable mental health plans that address your anxiety with your personal needs and unique experiences in mind.
Shine is free to download with a premium subscription costing $14.99 a month or $64.99 a year. Get it on the App Store today.
People with anxiety often use avoidance as a coping mechanism; however, this approach can make the cycle worse. Developed by scientists, SAM uses exposure-based therapy to help you face head-on the root cause of your anxiety and master the skill of managing it.
The app equips you with various techniques, including psychoeducation and reflections, to effectively understand and monitor your change in mood whilst using self-help and relaxation exercises to help you develop healthy thought patterns and behaviors.
SAM essentially walks you through your anxiety-provoking situations, prompting you to focus on how you would typically act, think, and feel. It then encourages you to explore the reasons behind your response in a rational way while recording your anxiety levels before and after the exercise.
Additional features include a symptom tracker, educational articles, and a social cloud that allows you to connect with other users for support.
You can download SAM for free on your iOS or Android device via the App Store or Google Play.
MindShift is another app that harnesses the power of CBT to help lower specific types of anxiety, including social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, performance anxiety, and more.
Designed with adolescents and young adults in mind, the app teaches users to identify and reconstruct negative thought patterns and offers trusted evidence-based tools and strategies to improve their mental well-being.
For instance, once you’ve selected your type of anxiety, the app provides facts about it, prompts you to record how much it’s impacting your daily life, and creates an individualized action plan to help you manage it using various coping strategies and skills.
Other stand-out features include daily mood check-ins, a ‘Chill Out’ tool that uses visualization, deep breathing, and mindfulness meditations to manage symptoms, and general tips that can be used for all types of anxiety.
MindShift is totally free to use and doesn’t require any in-app purchases or premium subscriptions to access the full range of features. Download the app on the App Store and Google Play.
Sanvello offers a ‘judgement-free, label-free’ space to help users identify and reframe their anxious or depressive thought patterns using a wide range of tools, from peer support and goal-tracking to coaching and professional therapy.
In the community forum, you can share your stories and exchange words of empathy and encouragement with fellow members. There’s also a handy tool to log daily activities such as exercise, family time, meals, and more, and rate your mood during each part. You can then monitor your progress over time to assess how far you’ve come.
With extended use, Sanvello will identify patterns and create a customized toolkit for the user, based on CBT techniques, to keep them on the right track to feeling better.
You can download a free version of Sanvello for limited content, or the premium version for $8.99 a month/$53.99 a year through the App Store and Google Play. The full version of the app is also available for free under some health insurance plans.
Whether you suffer from occasional or chronic anxiety, remember you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources available to help you combat your anxious thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, including professional intervention, medications, and anxiety-reducing apps.
While using an app isn’t a substitute for seeing a mental health professional or taking medication, apps like Pzizz, Mesmerize, Bliss, and others can be excellent supplementary tools to help you find some relief from your anxiety.
With consistent use, anti-anxiety apps can be highly effective in relieving anxiety, stress and panic by helping to replace negative thought patterns and behaviors with healthy ones. Most of these apps are backed by science and employ various mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help users with their anxiety.
Aside from seeking professional help, taking medications and using anxiety apps, there are several tips and tricks you can use on a daily basis to help manage your stress levels and calm anxiety, including:
When it comes to anxiety, there are certain coping mechanisms many people often unconsciously employ, which can be counterproductive to relieving symptoms. When you’re in the midst of an episode of anxiety, avoid the following: