Best Apps For Stress And Anxiety

Are you a person who suffers from stress and anxiety? Do you often feel like your mind is racing and that there’s just too much to do?

If so, you’re not alone. Stress and anxiety are common, but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect your life in a big way. They can lead to a range of problems such as insomnia, depression, or even heart disease.

The good news is there are ways to manage this type of stress and anxiety. One way is through the use of apps designed specifically for managing stress and anxiety. These apps provide tools for coping with these issues and keeping them under control so that they don’t interfere with your life too much. There are many different types of apps available on the market today, but here are some of our favorites:

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16 Best Stress Relief Apps To Add To Your Phone Today - But First, Joy

Best Apps For Stress And Anxiety

Anxiety is on the rise in the United States.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, from August 2020 through February 2021, adults with symptoms of anxiety or depression increased from 36.4% to 41.5%Trusted Source in the United States.

Many adults reported how their pandemic-related anxiety caused other issues such as:

difficulty sleeping
difficulty eating
drinking more alcohol or using more substances
negatively impacting their overall health
Many of us might benefit from some help managing anxiety symptoms. And though apps can’t replace treatment from a mental health professional, they can help relieve the disorder’s effects. From tracking your mood to beginning a mindfulness practice or meditating, there’s an anxiety app out there for you.

Even if you don’t think these apps can help, we encourage you to try them. If you’re still on the fence, consider this: ResearchersTrusted Source have found that even a single mindfulness or meditation session can slow your pulse and reduce your mild to moderate anxiety.

Something to keep in mind
While mental health apps may be beneficial for many people, they are not a substitute for face-to-face therapy if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. Still, apps can be helpful add-ons to treatment, medication, or both.

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What is anxiety?
Anxiety is one of the most commonTrusted Source mental health disorders. There are several types of anxiety disorders, including:

generalized anxiety disorder
panic disorder
separation anxiety disorder
social anxiety disorder
specific phobia
substance- or medication-induced anxiety disorder
Each disorder is characterized by its causes and symptoms. But generally, symptoms of anxiety include:

excessive worry
fear of losing control
If you’d like to learn more about anxiety disorder, consider reading our in-depth article.

How do anxiety apps work?
Anxiety apps work in many different waysTrusted Source to help reduce your anxiety symptoms.

Since relaxation training works to calm the mind, many apps include that aspect. The other way it works is by implementing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques to lower anxiety.

Some of the apps offer self-monitoring features where you can monitor your mood periodically by reporting your thoughts and behaviors to increase your level of emotional self-awareness (ESA). When you grow your ESA, you:

begin to identify your own emotions
understand when to expect them
work to prevent or cope with them
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List of the best anxiety apps
If you want to jump directly to the sections for each app, you can click the links below.

Best for meditation: Headspace
Best for sleep: Calm
Best for motivation: Fabulous — Daily Self Care
Best daily mood tracker: Reflectly
Best game-style app: Happify
Best for community support: Sanvello: Anxiety and Depression
Best free app: MindShift
Best symptom tracker: Bearable
Criteria we used to pick
To find the right apps, we reviewed numerous contenders, looking at the following:

Ratings. We focused on apps with the highest overall ratings from thousands of users.
User reviews. We looked closely at what users thought about the app.
Operating system. All of the apps are available for Android and iOS.
Price. All apps on our list offer free options.
Vetting. All the apps were vetted to meet Psych Central’s medical, editorial, and business standards.
Our picks of the best apps for anxiety
Best for meditation
Price: free 14-day trial with an annual plan for $69.99; free 7-day trial at $12.99 monthly. Student and work plans are available.
Key features: meditations for every day, sleep, stress relief, and coping
Rating: 4.9 (App Store); 4.4 (Google Play)
Although Headspace was originally created for guided meditations, it now includes animations, articles, and videos to support your mental health. The app offers specific guided meditations for:

Headspace takes its app and seriously impacts the world (it has millions of users in more than 190 countries). Their commitment to providing users with scientifically based products includes their seven-person in-house science department and participation in dozens of research studies and numerous partnerships with research institutions.

For example, researchers claimTrusted Source doctors found the Headspace app helpful for anxiety and recommended it as a therapeutic option to help manage one’s symptoms.

Why we chose it as best for meditation
Headspace offers a meditation practice for almost every purpose, from quick relief breathing exercises to longer guided or unguided meditations. But it’s more than just a meditation app. It offers sleep aids, focus improvement, productivity builds, and centered fitness options that focus on total body health instead of only mental.

What we like
A variety of tools are available to help you manage your anxiety.
Meditations vary in length and type.
Editor’s Choice pick from Apple.
What to look out for
You’re charged at the end of your trial period automatically.
The subscription automatically renews unless you turn it off via smartphone.
If you’d like to learn more about Headspace, consider reading our in-depth review.

Best for sleep
Price: free for limited services, $14.99/month for premium content, $69.99/year.
Key features: mindful minute tracker, new content added daily, various mindfulness topics offered, and family plans available
Rating: 4.8 (App Store); 4.4 (Google Play)
Scientific evidenceTrusted Source shows that sleep deprivation might increase symptoms of anxiety. So, if you’re experiencing stress and having trouble sleeping, using an app to improve the latter may also reduce anxiety symptoms.

Year after year, site after site, Calm rates continuously as one of the best apps for sleep. And evidenceTrusted Source backs up its effectiveness in helping people sleep better at night and feel less tired during the day.

Why we chose it best for sleep
Besides the wide variety of story styles, from fairy tales to ASMR, Calm has worked with some of the world’s best-known voices. As a result, you can drift off to sleep listening to stories from various celebrities, including:

Harry Styles
Idris Elba
Mandy Moore
Ariana Grande
Plus, if you need a quick catnap to make it through the rest of your day, Calm also has nap sessions.

What we like
New sleep stories are added to the app regularly.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, you can use a “Gently Back to Sleep” story.
Got kids who can’t sleep? You can find sleep stories just for them.
What to look out for
The free version gives you access to only a few of the stories, so you might get tired of them quickly (pun intended).
If you’d like to learn more about Calm, consider reading our in-depth review.

Best for motivation
Fabulous — Daily Self Care
Price: free 1-week trial, $2.99/month, $35.99/year.
Key features: personal coach motivation, beginners guide to exercising, offers access to weight-loss programs
Rating: 4.6 (App Store); 4.4 (Google Play)
Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep or learning to meditate, can often help improve anxiety symptoms. For example, research from 2019Trusted Source has shown that yoga and meditation might help reduce stress and anxiety.

But picking up a new, healthier habit can be challenging and that’s where Fabulous may be able to help.

If you pick a “journey” — maybe you want to establish a meditation habit, exercise more, or get to bed earlier — Fabulous will give you the daily steps to make your goal a reality. Its design is more than just annoying reminders that pop up on your phone. The app provides you with a daily coach to help you develop healthy habits and create rituals. In addition, you can participate in challenges against other members or yourself.

Why we chose it best for motivation
Fabulous coaches you daily on the app, helping you develop new habits that you can take with you throughout the rest of your days. In addition, it enables you to become self-sufficient by presenting challenges that point you toward your goals.

What we like
The daily coaching is inspirational.
Many users report that the app’s courses and challenges have created real changes in their lives.
You can select how much — or how little — work you’d like to do.
What to look out for
Reminder notifications stay on your screen only for a short time. So, if you don’t see it, it could disappear before you find the time to look at your phone.
Though user feedback for this app is positive, scientific data on its effectiveness is lacking. That’s the case for most goal- or motivation-oriented apps.
Best daily mood tracker
Price: free trial, $9.99/month, $29.99/1st year.
Key features: AI tech helps track and trend mood, daily journal, daily reflection
Rating: 4.6 (App Store); 4.3 (Google Play)
Mood tracking can help you notice patterns and triggers if you live with persistent anxiety. As you log how you’re feeling each day, Reflectly will ask you personalized questions to help deepen your reflections. In addition, you can return to previous pages in your journal at any time if you’d like to reread or edit an entry.

Research from 2021 indicates that using a journaling application like Reflectly can reduce anxiety symptoms while increasing awareness of your mood.

Why we chose it as the best daily mood tracker
Reflectly provides personalized motivations and prompts as well as challenges. In addition, you can use their daily, weekly, or monthly overviews and graphs to analyze your mood over time. And the app may even help you understand why you’ve felt so anxious lately.

What we like
Feelings on virtual paper each day can be an excellent way to work through anything troubling you.
You can choose from various moods and situations.
You can add voice notes and photos to your journal entries.
What to look out for
Free trial advertised but not offered once downloaded.
Research to back up the app’s effectiveness is lacking.
Best game-style app
Price: free limited content, flexible pricing plans offered, $11.67/month
Key features: activities and games, progress tracker, offers programs for grief and burnout in addition to anxiety
Average Rating: 4.5 (App Store); 3.5 (Google Play)
Happify aims to help users overcome stress, challenges, and negative thoughts through fun activities and games based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques.

During sign-up, you’re prompted with several questions to determine your goals. Then, the app will suggest a “track” with specific activities and games to help you achieve these goals based on your answers.

Some research from 2018 indicates that using Happify regularly may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving resilience.

Why we chose it as best game-style app.
The activities are based on evidence-based scientific research to help you overcome negative thoughts, life’s challenges, and stress. Furthermore, the app’s design is for everyday use to grow your positivity while having fun at the same time.

What we like
The games and activities can be a fun way to improve mental health.
The app offers accessibility features like online text to speech for the blind and visually impaired or the ability to disable animations.
You can keep your profile private or interact with others by choosing the community feature.
If you’re a Happify Plus member, you may be eligible to receive personalized support from a coach for an additional fee.
What to look out for
The free version offers only limited content.
User reviews report login challenges with the app.
Best for community support
Sanvello: Anxiety and Depression
Price: free limited content, the premium offered at $8.99/month or $53.99/year, premium plus personal mental health coaching offered at a higher price.
Key features: available through some health plans, great community, and live classes.
Average Rating: 4.8 (App Store); 4.6 (Google Play)
Anxiety can be isolating. While Sanvello provides goal tracking, exercises, coaching, and therapy, the app’s community of users is the real draw.

In its self-proclaimed “judgment-free, label-free space,” you can always find a fellow member willing to listen. Plus, you’ll often find a member who has experienced the same issue as you.

Users will give you words of understanding or encouragement, making you feel much less alone. Still, you may want to keep in mind that advice from other users isn’t always evidence-based or in line with medical recommendations. So, if you’re going to try a suggestion another user offers, it’s advisable to check in with your treatment team first to ensure it’s safe.

Why we chose it as best for community support
Millions of users interact anonymously on active discussion boards and chat groups over various topics related to anxiety. When you feel like you’re not alone with your anxiety, it can help you manage your symptoms better.

What we like
This app is advertised as a safe space free from bullying or negativity.
No matter the time of day or night, you can find someone to give you the encouragement you need to continue with your day or your night’s sleep.
The sessions can be more affordable than local providers if you need therapy, depending on where you live.
What to look out for
There are specific topics that are off-limits, such as suicide, and you might get blocked from posting if you mention them.
Community support doesn’t come from professionals.
Best free app
Price: free
Key features: CBT tools, guided relaxation exercises, individualized coping plans
Average Rating: 4.3 (App Store); 4.1 (Google Play)
All the apps on this list are free to download, but this is the only app offering completely free services.

Using the tools of CBT, its user-friendly design allows you to learn and practice CBT each day. Strategies include:

daily challenges
building fear ladders
The calming audio helps practice mindfulness and reframe your thoughts.

Why we chose it as best free app
MindShift is very user-friendly and aesthetically calming. Also, you don’t feel pressured to purchase a premium subscription while using it.

What we like
This app is truly free to use.
Tools offered are evidence-based and trusted.
The app offers a community forum to share stories and gain advice from peers.
What to look out for
There are specific topics that are off-limits, such as suicide, and you might get blocked from posting if you mention them.
Users report concerns with tracking data deleted after a certain amount of time.
Best symptom tracker
Price: free for the basic version, $4.49/month, and $27.99/year for the premium version
Key features: all-in-one health tracker, fully customizable, track and trend symptoms and moods with user-friendly graphs and stats
Average Rating: 4.7 (App Store); 4.7 (Google Play)
With Bearable, you can record your physical and mental health symptoms quickly and effortlessly. In addition, you can customize what you track to fit your personal needs, such as:

The tracking system then trends your data and spots patterns in your mood, symptoms, and factors using mediums like calendars and graphs.

Why we chose it as best symptom tracker app
Bearable makes daily journaling easy. The people who designed the app live with health issues and understand what it takes to manage chronic conditions successfully.

Also, the app can identify what behaviors negatively and positively impact your symptoms and mood. It also helps you understand the impact of medication and treatment.

What we like
Face ID unlocks are offered to keep your information safe.
The app connects the dots between your behaviors and corresponding mood and symptoms, helping you identify healthier habits.
You can set up reminders to keep you on track, take your medications, and other valuable health factors.
What to look out for
The basic app offers only comprehensive tracking; trending is available only with premium.
Users report concerns with tracking data deleted after a certain amount of time.

panic relief app

“I’ve suffered from panic attacks for almost 10 years. I’ve done CBT, medication, meditation, but nothing helped me in the moment when that panic attack hit, until I downloaded Rootd. Rootd makes it feel like someone is with me, even when I’m alone. I owe my continued stability to this simple genuis app. its a MUST for all who are facing the same type of war with anxiety.”

As featured on:

Relief when you need

Activate the Rootr with the press of a big red button. The Rootr will help you either face a panic attack head-on, or find comfort as quickly as possible.


Find some peace of mind by learning about where anxiety comes from, how our bodies and minds experience panic attacks, and why they might be happening to you.

Short Term Lessons

Learn changes you can make in the short term that provide relief, manage heightened anxiety, and instil a calm mind.

Long Term Lessons

The ultimate goal is to permanently change our relationship with anxiety, and live panic-attack free. These long term lessons guide us through the remainder of the journey.

“This app includes THE most effective grounding exercise I’ve ever attempted. Very quickly installed it in the midst of a severe panic attack, nearly dissociating, and after opening the app I experienced instant relief. In my first use Rootd did more for my ability to handle anxiety than the combined effort of every therapist and psychiatrist I’ve ever seen. Thank you, Rootd Team. From the bottom of my heart.“

“I suffer from GAD severely. When I came across this app, I could cry. It helped so much. It says exactly what someone having a panic attack needs to hear, backed up with facts. Thank you for making this. I really can’t thank you enough.”

“In the past year I was hit by many panic attacks. I even stopped leaving the house and doing many things because I couldn’t take any more panic attacks. Rootd’s mascot Ron helped me get back to a normal life. During the night and on the weekends Rootd was the only thing by my side. To anyone that has to deal with these terrible feelings: meet Ron. You will love him.”

It is critically important that we treat mental health challenges with the same urgency as we treat physical challenges. Apps like Rootd bring attention to the need to address mental health challenges. I applaud the focus of the app and the strategies it contains. I believe that this excellent app will make a difference in the lives of people living with anxiety.

Dr. Jillian Roberts
Renowned Psychologist, Author and Professor

I appreciate the simple, factual, and yet caring approach of Rootd that makes it an inviting, interesting, and easy to use tool. Its easy to read and affirming statements at the end of each section are true and encouraging to readers. I endorse this for individuals looking for support and tools for managing anxiety and panic attacks.


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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