It has probably happened to all of us at some time in our lives. The world can feel like it’s going 1 million miles a minute and you’re left in the dust. Whether work is is dragging you down and causing fatigue or something else in your personal life is causing stress, you’re not alone. And the good news is that there are a number of calming apps—on both iOS and Android—that can help you destress and clear your mind.
We’re highlighting 10 calming apps that span the gamut of different options from mind mapping to guided meditation and more.
At any one time, there are probably a host of different thoughts swirling around in your mind. Mind mapping can help you by allowing you to brainstorm your thoughts without a particular order or structure in a visual form.
A great mind mapping app option to take a look at is MindMeister. Along with an online interface, the mind mapping service is also available on mobile devices.
Using the app, you can quickly and easily organize, prioritize, and generate new thoughts. There are a number of tools to create a map including different themes, styles, colors, and icons. It’s also possible to collaborate with others to create a mind map in real time.
With an available subscription, you can also export maps in PDF and PNG format, create and edit unlimited maps, and add files and images to topics.
2. Ambi Pro
Ambient noise is a great way to help you relax and concentrate by masking the boisterous world around us.
Ambi Pro is unique because instead of using looping audio recordings, it creates a blend of changing noise algorithmically that never repeats.
Special digital reverb helps give the app a sense of depth. To help further personalize the output, there is also an 8-band graphic equalizer. You can design your own presets and save them.
An automatic timer can also switch off the sound after a specific time period.
Download: Ambi Pro for iOS ($1.99)
Although ambient noise helps some people relax, it can annoy others. If you’re looking for something different, try the relaxation app Calm.
While it’s a great meditation app for beginners, there are also a number of options for more advanced users. The guided meditations sessions are available in different lengths from 3 to 25 minutes. Some of the different topics include managing stress, happiness, gratitude, self-esteem, forgiveness, and many others. You can also select from an open-ended and unguided, timed meditation. Breathing exercises will also help you relax.
Every day, a new 10-minute program is designed to help ease you into the day or unwind.
Headspace is one of the more popular tools for both guided meditations and mindfulness techniques.
You can try the Basics course for free that teaches the fundamentals. And if you want to learn more, a subscription is available to unlock all of the app’s content including the full meditation library. There are a wide variety of different topics to explore like sleep, focus, and exercise.
For a quick break, the app also offers 2 to 3 minute meditation sessions. There are specific sessions for moments of panic, anxiety, and stress. You can even add friends to help motivate and to meditate with as well.
Special animations teach new skills and help answer questions about mindfulness.
5. Day One
A daily journal is a great way to organize your thoughts and keep a clear mind. Day One offers a beautiful interface and other features to help make daily journaling a habit you’ll want to keep.
The interface is free of distractions to help focus on specific thoughts. Journal entries support the powerful Markdown language. Entries are easy to organize and can browse through them by calendar, timeline, maps, or photos. Metadata from the iPhone can also bring more to each entry with other information like temperature, weather, and music playing on a certain day. Your thoughts are safe with a passcode and Touch ID support.
With an available subscription, you can take advantage of unlimited journals and photos storage. Information also syncs with iCloud and the Mac version of the app.
Download: Day One Journal for iOS (Free, subscription available)
Breathing from your diaphragm has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress while helping you stay calm. Breathe2Relax is a great free relaxation app for users who want to practice deep breathing without any prior experience.
Unlike other apps that focus on meditation, Breathe2Relax focuses on both breathing and tools to help reduce your stress levels.
It guides you through breathing exercises and offers the option of listening to music during each session to help create a calm environment.
For Apple devices, the app offers support for the Health app and Apple Watch so you can see how a breathing exercise impacts your heart rate.
Having a calm and relaxing day often start’s the night before when you go to bed. Getting a good night’s sleep has been shown to have a wide variety of benefits for your health. But for many of us, that’s easier said than done as issues like insomnia and more make it difficult to fall asleep and wake up too sluggish to tackle the day ahead.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock brings a number of features to help you track your sleep and wake up at the most opportune time in the morning. At night, the app uses special sound technology to track your different sleep phases. If snoring is detected during the night, Apple Watch wearers will feel a slight vibration that could help you change sleep positions and stop snoring.
Before going to bed, you can set a custom 30-minute period in the morning that ends at a set alarm time. The app will then wake you up in a light sleep phase during that time period.
The available subscription offers more features including long-term sleep trends, Philips Hue smart light support, and more.
Coloring books are no longer just for children. The act of coloring has been shown to relax and calm even adults. And there are a number of different digital coloring apps for smartphones and even the larger screen of tablets.
One of the best is Colorfy. The app features more than 1,000 different pictures to color which includes animals, cats, gardens, famous paintings, and more. Users can even add their own drawings to paint. Coloring is easy, just select a color palette and then tap to color. There are also a number of brush types for different effects.
Available to use without an internet connection, all of the drawings can be shared on social networks. And a unique augmented reality virtual gallery lets you visualize your drawings in the real world.
9. Smiling Mind
One of the most interesting free relaxation apps available is Smiling Mind. The completely free app is made to assist children as well as adults.
There are specific programs for children of different ages and adults that focus on dealing with the pressure, stress, and different challenges of everyday life. Sessions also cover mindfulness in the classroom and the workplace.
There are a wide variety of meditation lengths to select from, and you can even check in with yourself at the beginning and end of a session to quantify your stress level.
10. Alto’s Odyssey
You don’t need to find relaxation apps to help you get rid of stress and anxiety. Games that can destress you are all the rage on mobile platforms, and there is a myriad of different titles that can help calm you.
While the puzzle genre is known for relaxing titles, Alto’s Odyssey offers a different type destress game.
The follow-up to the hugely popular iOS game Alto’s Adventure, the new title sees the titular Alto—along with his friends—set off an endless sand boarding adventure. Thanks to a simple one-touch control system, almost anyone can learn the basics and set off in no time. There are an enormous amount of secrets to explore and tricks to learn.
Along with the beautiful scenery while playing, the original musical score for the game is easily worth the price of admission. Put on your headphones and melt away into the beautiful environment. The special Zen mode features its own special soundtrack and allows you to enjoy the game without a score, coins, or power-ups.
Download: Alto’s Odyssey for iOS ($4.99)
The Best Mobile Apps for Rest and Relaxation
While life can sometimes overwhelm you, there’s no reason to get down. Hopefully, using some of these best relaxation apps, you can better take on the daily grind and stay calm and relaxed.
And if you want a quick and easy way to reduce stress without interacting with a smartphone or tablet, this song has been shown to reduce anxiety by 65 percent.