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Russia has entered the Ukraine! The world is in and out of recession! Tickets for Kate Bush’s tour have completely sold out! Oh, it’s a stressful world we live in.
But you no longer have to take up yoga (or boxing) to relieve some stress – turn to your smartphone instead.
When I was younger I loved Stressed Eric, a BBC 2 animated show about an overworked and stressed-out single parent. Back then, we were several years away from “there’s an app for that” – and the show surely wouldn’t have been as entertaining ten years later.
If you feel your stress levels rising, reach for your smartphone and this list.
Unleash Your Rage with SmashDude
Sometimes, you just want to lash out and SmashDude (for iOS and Android [No Longer Available]) lets you do this without breaking anything.
Essentially, it offers you a wooden dummy which you can use for target practise. Start off small with electric shocks, each of which earns you points. These can be exchanged for a more advanced arsenal. Throw darts at the poor fella; cover him with paint; set alight to his quaint little tie; sear into his soul with a laser beam; chuck eggs or tomatoes at him; and, worst of all, use a feather to tickle him.
Still stressed? You can easily reset the whole situation so you can start over again. It’s best for short bursts of anger, but has received some criticism from people who truly believe video games cause aggression in youngsters.
Go Traditional with 4 in a Row ONLINE
If you’re looking for something more suitable for the kids, how about a nice classic game of four in a row, available for Android and iOS.
It’s incredibly simple – and can be incredibly frustrating if you’re the competitive type (I am). I’m also rubbish at this game. Yes, it helped me to forget my worries – I was far more concerned about beating a player from halfway around the world.
Compete across the internet or against the computer in four modes of difficulty. Easy Eric is best for kids. Medium Mary is good for those who like a bit of a challenge. Hard Harry is for enthusiasts. Expert Emily is for people who frequently think, “it’s the taking part that counts.”
Free Your Inhibitions with Streaker Run
It’s a variation on the popular Temple Run game – except you’re naked.
If you’re not a fan of Indiana Jones-esque escapades, Streaker Run (for Android and iOS) is a fun alternative: instead of dashing through cavernous environs, you’re running through streets, alleyways and even across rooftops; instead of escaping a Demon Monkey thing, you’re chased by somebody’s Dad; and instead of donning your hiking gear, you’re not even wearing socks.
An easy to learn, addictive game, you can also purchase (with in-game money – no strains on your credit card) power-ups including skateboards, tricycles and – for a real rush of nostalgia – a pogo stick. You can also upgrade to a zombie version, play as a woman, or – if you really must – go uncensored!
Try Something Less Taxing: Stress Popper Free
There are some people in this world who won’t rest until all the bubble wrap in the universe is popped.
This app caters for their unending needs – though generally doesn’t elicit that ‘all hope is lost’ face you get from relatives, friends or complete strangers you meet in the street when, grinning like a child, you unveil an entire roll of now-useless bubble wrap.
Available for iOS and Android, it’s simple but fun; it won’t occupy you for long, but may serve as a distraction from the weight of the world bearing down on your shoulders. Plus, there’s the option to change the bubbles’ colours or even indulge in a bit of “painting” (i.e. popping bubbles to make a shape).
Explore or Relive Memories with GoogleEarth
Remember that time you spent your evening checking what your former homes look like now? And your schools? That place you worked back in 1986? That was fun but excruciating, right?
To take your mind off the stress of the day, you could always type in an old holiday destination or explore new places. If you’ve wanted to visit New York since you were 6, just type in ‘Times Square.’ Maybe you want a lesson in French culture; simply go to the Palace of Versailles. And if you’re Doctor Who fan – and everyone is – you can visit the TARDIS at Earl’s Court (and there are plenty of other Google Easter eggs to discover).
The Tip of the Iceberg
The thing is, everyone gets frustrated. Stress relief is big business. You could do some blogging; visit calming websites; and obviously there are more traditionally calming iOS apps available – you could also try shooting zombies on Android or downloading some of Google Play’s best stress busters.
Still stressed? Don’t worry: there are many apps for that. Tell us your favourite below.