by Kristen C. Dew, LMFT
According to a quick google search, most of us spend over 5 hours a day on our smartphones and check them around 63 times per day (Deyan G., techjury.net, 7/2020). It only makes sense to add a few apps that can improve your health and relationships! The apple or android store produces hundreds of results for anxiety apps. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
Superbetter – Free – This app is great for gamers and anyone who feels fulfillment from achievements. You choose your goals, which include friendships, health, and well-being, then it gives you quests to level up IRL! A very fun way to self-improve.
SAM (Stress and Anxiety Management) – Free – SAM helps you to learn your triggers and find evidence-based coping skills that can help you feel better in the moment. Download this app if you can see yourself feeling stressed or anxious and seeking real-time help while struggling since they have a crisis assistant (SOS).
PTSD Coach – Free – This one was created by the VA to help veterans, but is a great app for anyone working through past traumatic or super stressful experiences. The app includes a good amount of psychoeducation, or how to understand how trauma impacts you as FAQs, and offers well-known helpful coping skills including seeking professional help, crisis management, distraction techniques, visualization, grounding, and more.
Calm – Free Trial / Subscription – The Calm app is a great way to ease into a meditation or mindfulness practice. Mindfulness and meditation have shown to improve anxiety, depression, trauma, and focus when practiced regularly. Most of us have trouble just turning off our brains, luckily Calm offers guided meditations at all different skill levels and specific meditations for all types of struggles such as anger, focus, stress, food, and more.
Mindshift – free – Mindshift uses CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) techniques, which are widely regarded as first line treatment for most anxiety and depression, to help you learn and practice coping skills. The app offers small steps, coping skills, helpful reframes of your thinking, and feelings identification and tracking.
Gottman Card Decks – free – This app was created by The Gottman Institute, who are lead researchers in the field of what makes marriages successful. These cards can help you in your relationships by learning more about each other and starting difficult conversations that can improve your interactions and intimacy.
Alarm Clock App – Your phone’s included alarm clock likely has a function to set a daily or weekly alert and to edit what pops up on your screen. Many of my clients have found it helpful to set an alert to practice self-care, remember important tasks, do something nice for a partner, or to have a relationship check-in conversation.
All of these apps can be helpful when combined with therapy as well. It can keep you on track to practice skills you have learned during sessions with your therapist or to track instances of depression/anxiety/conflict and what triggered them to discuss later with your therapist.
Do you have a favorite app that helps you to manage your mental health?
Links to apps