Best Apps For Anxiety And Depression

Best Apps for Anxiety in 2020

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues in the world. It’s estimated that one in five people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives, while one in ten will develop depression.

Both conditions can be debilitating and difficult to manage, but there are many apps available that can help. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best apps for dealing with both conditions, as well as how they work—and whether they’re worth your time and money.

Best Apps For Anxiety And Depression

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1) Calm (iOS/Android)

Calm is an app for meditation and relaxation techniques. It offers guided meditations, breathing exercises and sleep stories designed to help users relax their minds. It also has a number of features designed to help users deal with stress during their day-to-day life. The app syncs with Apple Watch, which allows users to track their progress during each session using their smartphone or tablet device. This makes it easy for them to keep track of how often they use the app and how effective it is at helping them relax after stressful events such as exams or job interviews.

2) Headspace (iOS/Android)

This mindfulness therapy app was developed by a former monk named Andy Puddicombe who

best meditation apps for anxiety and depression

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9 Useful Apps to Help with Anxiety for 2022
How we chose
Our picks
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A quick look at the best apps for anxiety
Best anxiety app for meditation: Calm
Best anxiety app for adult coloring: Colorfy
Best for mood tracking: What’s Up? A Mental Health App
Best anxiety app for sleep: Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep
Best meditation app for People of Color: Shine
Best anxiety app for breathing techniques: Breathwrk
Best anxiety app game: AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game
Best anxiety app for journaling: Moodnotes
Best for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): MindShift CBT
Anxiety is an extremely common but nonetheless extremely disruptive experience. Having anxiety can mean sleepless nights, missed opportunities, feeling sick, and panic attacks that can keep you from feeling like your full self. For example, you can try one of these apps for anxiety to help you cope with your symptoms.

Therapy with a professional is often a huge help, but knowing you’re armed with the tools to confront, dissolve, or embrace your anxious thoughts and feelings can be the bit of empowerment you need in between sessions.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. For many people, it can manifest in a number of ways, like:

increased heart rate
rapid breathing
trouble concentrating
difficulty falling asleep
Some anxiety is typical. For instance, if you’re taking a test or starting a new job, you may feel anxious and nervous. However, anxiety can become extreme when it affects your day-to-day for an extended period of time.

People who have anxiety disorders may feel fear, anxiety, panic, or worry at all or most times. Anxiety disorders may also prevent people from doing things they enjoy.

Some of the most common anxiety disorders are:

Panic disorder. This is when you experience recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. A person with panic disorder may constantly fear the next panic attack.
Phobia. A phobia is a fear of a specific object, activity, or circumstance.
Social anxiety disorder. With this disorder, you may have an extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations.
Separation anxiety disorder. This involves the fear of being away from home or loved ones.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). You may worry uncontrollably about common occurrences and situations with GAD. It’s also known as chronic anxiety neurosis.
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder and can affect anyone at any age. If you have anxiety, you can get help from a mental health professional who can help you identify the routes of your anxiety and how to better approach your worries.

How we chose the best apps for anxiety
We chose the best anxiety apps based on customer ratings. We also considered price, features, and what operating system the app is available on when creating this list.

Pricing guide
$ = under $9 per month
$$ = $9–$13 per month
$$$ = over $13 per month
A note on price
All of the apps mentioned in this article are free to download, but most require monthly or yearly subscriptions to use some or all of the in-app features.

Healthline’s picks for the best apps for anxiety
Best anxiety app for meditation
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Android rating: 4.4 stars
Price: $$$
Sleep is important for managing stress, but it’s also one of the first things to become an issue when you’re feeling anxious. Sleep, meditation, and relaxation are in your hands with Calm, a popular mindfulness app. These guided meditations are good for complete novices and seasoned practitioners, and you have your pick when it comes to how long you can dedicate to the app each day.

Calm offers a mood check-in feature that tracks your mood throughout the day and puts together a personalized report of your moods. In the free version, the app offers a limited amount of guided exercises and meditative audio to help relieve stress.

Calm also features nature sounds and sleep stories to help lull you into relaxed sleep, but a subscription is required to access these features. You can use their 7-day free trial to see if the subscription is worth it for you.

Best anxiety app for adult coloring
iPhone rating: 4.7 stars
Android rating: 4.1 stars
Price: $$$
Colorfy is an adult coloring book brought into the digital realm. With a selection of images and mandalas to choose from, or the option to upload your own sketches to color, you can spend hours in a flow state or focused meditation through this app.

A 2020 studyTrusted Source showed that adult coloring helped lower anxiety levels in participants, so pouring your attention into the beautiful designs may help distract from your anxious thoughts and provide some calm.

While Colorfy offers a majority of their images to color for free, you have to purchase a subscription in order to get access to the full library of images. However, Colorfy offers a 7-day free trial, so you can try it out before you buy the subscription.

Best for mood tracking
What’s Up? A Mental Health App
iPhone rating: 4.4 stars
Android rating: 3.9 stars
Price: $
What’s Up? uses helpful techniques that stem from CBT and acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), two common ways to manage intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. This free app features a comprehensive diary that allows you to log daily moods and habits, along with a feelings tracker that asks you to rate your emotions on a scale from 1 to 10.

It also has a positive and negative habit tracker, where you can set goals to practice healthy habits like meditation, journaling, or exercising.

If you’re experiencing feelings of panic, What’s Up? also has a grounding game designed to help users return to the present when stress is taking over.

Best anxiety app for sleep
Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep
Android rating: 4.6 stars
Price: $
Racing thoughts and ruminations are hallmarks of anxiety, but you can slow down, breathe deeply, and clear your thoughts with the gentle sounds and sights of nature in this app.

From thunder and rain to crackling fires and bird sounds, there’s something for everyone. Set the app timer to listen while you gently drift off to sleep, or set one of the tracks as your morning alarm so you can start your day with a soothing sound.

A 2019 review suggests that listening to nature sounds can help reduce stress, so this app may be an easy way to lower your anxiety.

Most features on this app are free. But with one-time purchases, you can gain access to more sounds.

Best meditation app for People of Color
iPhone rating: 4.7 stars
Android rating: 4.7 stars
Price: $
The way you experience and express anxiety can be different based on your cultural background. The Shine app was designed by Women of Color to address the anxieties that are specific to their communities. The app offers meditation practices, podcasts, a huge audio library, and community forums, so you can work on managing your anxiety alone or with the support of others who have a similar background.

Shine requires a subscription to use most of the features in the app, but it does give daily mood-boosting audio recordings and gratitude check-ins without a subscription. You’re also able to use a 7-day free trial before purchasing a subscription.

Best anxiety app for breathing techniques
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Price: $
If you have anxiety, you’ve probably tried a breathing exercise or two to help calm yourself. The Breathwrk app takes the science of breathing exercises even further by curating a collection of breathing exercises based on your goal: falling asleep, feeling relaxed, feeling energized, or alleviating stress. The app walks you through how to do each exercise and can send you daily reminders to remember to… well, breathe.

Most breathing exercises are completely free. But with a small monthly fee, you’re able to gain access to even more exercises and have unlimited access to track your breathing habits all month long. Breathwrk also has the most cost-friendly subscription on the list and offers a 7-day trial before you sign up for a subscription.

Best anxiety app game
AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game
iPhone rating: 4.5 stars
Android rating: 4.4 stars
Price: $
You know those fidget cubes with all the little tools and gadgets on them to keep you distracted? Imagine a whole app full of these little fun distractions: that’s the AntiStress app.

With mindless games like bubble wrap popping, fidget spinners, pen clicking, soap carving, and many more, this app is a great tool to help take your mind off what’s making you anxious. The best part? This app is completely free.

Best anxiety app for journaling
iPhone rating: 4.7 stars
Price: $$
Moodnotes lets you document your entire experience with anxiety in all of its forms. Built on CBT techniques and positive psychology, this app lets you understand and manage the entire experience of anxiety.

Moodnotes has a wide range of techniques to help you manage your anxiety. You can take a picture of your face to visualize your mood, write down your thoughts at the moment you begin feeling anxious, or read educational materials that help you get out of the cycle of “thinking traps.”

Moodnotes requires a subscription to use most of the features, but it does allow for a 7-day free trial.

Best for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
MindShift CBT
iPhone rating: 4.3 stars
Price: $
CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on identifying negative thought patterns in an effort to recognize and reconstruct them. MindShift CBT is an app that supports users of CBT by providing daily mood check-ins, guided relaxation and mindfulness meditations, and tips for dealing with general worry, social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and more, all for free.

Should you choose to participate, there’s also a community board for people to interact with and support each other. The app has a 4.3-star rating from iPhone users who love MindShift’s tools, information, and interconnectivity.

Frequently asked questions
How effective are apps for anxiety?
Depending on how often you use your apps of choice, they can be highly effective in helping to lower feelings of anxiety, stress, and panic. Many of these apps use evidence-based techniques of mindfulness and grounding. According to a 2012 review, these techniques have been found to calm the sympathetic nervous system, effectively reducing stress and creating a more relaxed body.

However, apps for anxiety don’t replace mental health professionals. They’re mainly designed to serve as a supplement to regular therapy appointments, or as distractions in moments of panic.

What are the benefits of apps for anxiety?
Apps for anxiety are:

mostly free or low cost
accessible if you have a smartphone
They can also help improve moods and provide healthy coping mechanisms.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t use apps for anxiety?
Anyone who is living with a serious mental health condition or addiction or feeling suicidal should, first and foremost, consult with their doctor or a healthcare professional. In an emergency, contact a crisis hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or 911.

This is because mental health apps are not intended to diagnose a condition or take the place of a mental health professional.

A number of anxiety apps are on the market, and many of them aim to help ease anxiety in a number of different ways. With the many options available, choose the app that works best for you.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some of these apps may not work for you at all. If you find that an app isn’t successful for you, consider trying a different one.

It’s also important to note that none of the apps listed here are meant to replace sessions with a trained mental health professional.

If you find that you need more mental health support while using these apps, be sure to schedule an appointment with a trained professional.

Last medically reviewed on December 15, 2021

3 sourcescollapsed

Medically reviewed by Jacquelyn Johnson, PsyD. — Written by Amanda Doyle and Melissa Lee — Updated on December 15, 2021

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