Feeling anxious? 10 free apps to help you cope
Feeling anxious or overwhelmed during a disease outbreak like coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is completely normal; however, too much anxiety can be debilitating.
If you need help coping, try one of the free apps below shared by the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association. The apps use a variety of behavioral exercises and relaxation techniques to help you break free from anxious thoughts and feelings. All you need is your mobile device and a few minutes to focus.
*Apps with an asterisk have been reviewed and approved by the Anxiety and Depression Society of America.
- Anxiety Free: iCan Hypnosis – Developed by hypnotherapist Donald MacKinnon, this app is designed to use self-hypnosis to help teach techniques for relaxation and altering subconscious thoughts.
- Pacifica* – Designed to be used in conjunction with therapy, this app teaches deep breathing and behavioral exercises. Users learn how to identify negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive ones. It focuses on the cause of anxiety and personalizes itself using voice recordings.
- Panic Relief*– This easy-to-use app uses evidence-based coping tools to help calm and safely move through a panic attack. Coping tools include muscle relaxation, rest, breathing and more.
- Self-Help Anxiety Management*– This app for older teenagers and adults focuses on mindfulness, or self-awareness. It helps users understand the causes of their anxiety and aids in monitoring them. It focuses on anxious thoughts and behaviors, and provides exercises to deal with them and private reflection.
- MindShift* – This app for adolescents and young adults teaches basic skills to manage anxiety disorders. It also helps manage performance anxiety, test anxiety and perfectionism. Users can choose among the coping strategies and "favorite" the methods that work for them. It also features a "Chill Out" tool, which uses breathing exercises, mental imagery and mindfulness. "Quick Tips" are included to assist with anxiety in the moment.
- Stop, Breathe & Think- Another mindfulness-driven app, Stop, Breathe & Think uses the foundational methods of meditations. This app allows users to track feelings before and after meditation and view yoga videos. The goal is to offer the chance and skills to breathe and think. Meditations are goal-oriented and constructed to help users calm down.
- Live OCD Free*– For children and adults with OCD, this app is designed to help aid cognitive behavioral treatment. It includes ERP (exposure response prevention) exercises and reminders, and offers personalization.
- Breathe2Relax*– This is an app, by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology, teaches breathing techniques to manage stress. The pace can be personalized for what is most relaxing to the user and includes a map to track personal progress. It helps manage fight-or-flight responses during panic attacks, aids in mood stabilization and anger control.
- Calm - Combining mindfulness and meditation to manage anxiety symptoms, this app is noted for its serene interface. It uses relaxing sounds and guided meditations to help the user stay calm.
- 7 Cups - This app functions as a confidential therapy chat room, allowing the user to talk about problems causing stress or panic, and connect with others dealing with anxiety disorders. It also has hundreds of mindfulness exercises and licensed therapists available.
If anxiety is taking over your life, don't delay. Talk to your primary care provider, Great Rivers 211 or a professional in Behavioral Health for more resources.