Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
What a stressful day! Do you ever find it impossible to relax after an especially annoying day? We all have them from time to time, and while the best possible way to relax (at least in my book) is to leave everything and take a walk outside, this is sometimes not possible due to weather, children and other constraints.
Did you ever think of turning to your smartphone in order to relax? Of course you did. Trying to wind down, you fire up Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even your email, and 8 times out of 10, find yourself even more stressed out than you were before. You fire up a good game, and after playing for an hour find that all the game did was wind you up even more, and you’re still nowhere near sleepy.
If this sounds familiar, don’t despair. If you need to relax and want to do this using your smartphone or tablet, there are great ways to do this. Some of these methods even go together with a good book for ultimate relaxation. So stop, breathe, and relax. Use these apps to help you do it.
Ambiance (Free, $2.99)
Ambiance is a an ambient sound heaven where you can find any background noise you can possible dream of. The app comes devoid of any sounds, sending you to a vast sound library to download your favorite clips. The free version only lets you download 3 of them, so if you want more than that, you’re going to have to upgrade to the $2.99 full version.
Ambiance is a flexible and customizable app, letting you create your own playlists and mixes of sounds, set up alarm clocks and timers, and even set up a quick start option to start the app playing your favorite sounds with one tap. The interface is straightforward, but a bit uninspiring. Each sound comes with an image, which is displayed while it’s playing, but you an also leave the app and use other apps (I found that Sketchbook Express is a great, relaxing paring) while still listening to the ambient sounds.
The selection of sounds is the biggest I’ve ever seen, and includes everything from water and rain sounds, to horses trotting, fire crackling, human footsteps, washing machine sounds, and pretty much anything you can imagine. You’re bound to find sounds that can help you relax.
Relax Melodies (Free, $2.99)
Unlike Ambiance’s somewhat boring interface, Relax Melodies is a fun and original way to mix up relaxing music and ambient sounds and create your perfect mixes. The free version includes 46 sounds, presented as tiles hanging from a string. Tapping a tile turns the sound on, letting you control its volume in the mix. The Favorite section includes some pre-made mixes, and you can add any mix you created that you want to save and come back to.
If you want even more sounds, you can go for the $2.99 full version that comes with 94 sounds. The app also includes a timer and an alarm clock, and the sounds stay on even when the screen turns off. It doesn’t stay on, however, when you exit the app, so you can’t use other apps while listening to the sounds, so the perfect thing to accompany Relax Melodies is probably a good book
TanZen (Free, $2.99)
A combination of soothing ambient sound and satisfying gameplay, TanZen is a relaxing way to spend an evening without thinking of anything. The soundtrack is somewhat relaxing – if you like Zen music – and the puzzles are just challenging enough to be interesting, but not enough to be frustrating. The controls are super easy to master, and there are 54 puzzles to solve in the free version. When you’re done with those, you can move on to TriZen Free, which includes the same amount of free puzzles, and revolves around the same principles.
If you want even more puzzles, additional 50-puzzle packs are available for $0.99 as in-app purchases. Alternatively, you can go for the full version, and get all 567 of them – quite the deal for $2.99.
Zen Bound ($2.99)
Do you have a fetish for incredibly beautiful apps? Drop everything and go buy Zen Bound. Zen Bounds is, hands down, the most beautiful mobile game I’ve ever seen, and it’s definitely one of the best-looking apps I know. It’s also an original game — one of those that make you wonder who comes up with these things.
The object of Zen Bound is to wrap a rope around various wooden objects, thus covering them with paint in every nook and cranny. This may sound weird on paper, but once you try it, you’ll find it’s actually quite an addictive puzzle. Coupled with its relaxing music and sound effects, this is the ultimate relaxation after a long and tiring day.
Moonlight Mahjong ($0.99)
There aren’t many things as relaxing as a good game of Mahjong, providing the app is a good one. There are tons of free Mahjong apps out there, but none that I found provide the flexibility and looks that Moonlight Mahjong does. For only $0.99, you get a beautiful Mahjong app with multiple playing modes (Relaxation is my favorite), endless layouts to solve, and many backgrounds and tile styles to choose from.
The game interface is three dimensional, and you can rotate the layout any which way, zoom in and out, and pan from left to right to find matches. This is not one of those crappy Mahjong apps you get tired of after 5 minutes. This is the real deal.
Hundreds is a game I’ve already raved about in the past, and I can’t help but mentioning it here yet again. Hundreds manages to combine a gorgeous interface, a relaxing soundtrack, and mildly challenging gameplay into the perfect package of awesomeness. The object of the game is reach 100 using the numbered circles at your disposal. The circles expand along with the number inside them, and if they touch each other — game over.
As the game progresses, more objects are added to the game, making it more challenging, but it never ceases to be relaxing. If you’re not yet sold, be sure to read the full review of Hundreds.
If simple ambient sounds are too boring and games are too engaging, then Earthlapse might be just what you need. Earthlapse is a free app from the makers of Magic Window, which I previously mentioned in a post about 6 beautiful iPad apps that look great even without a Retina display. Similar to Magic Window, Earthlapse gives you a window to time-lapsed photographs accompanied by relaxing music, but in this case the photos were taken from the International Space Station.
There are seven different scenes to choose from, and you can speed up the timelapse by dragging your finger on the image. Unfortunately, the timelapse starts repeating itself pretty quickly, so you won’t find it engaging for more than several minutes, but it’s a great background for relaxation, and can also display the current time and weather.
Are You Relaxed Yet?
I don’t know about you, but I nearly fell asleep 4 times while writing this post. Sometimes all you need in order to relax is to put your mind off everything and dive into an alternative universe. In achieving this, apps above are going to be extremely helpful.
What apps do you use to relax? Share your suggestions below!
Image credit: PlaceIt