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Your Path from Stress to Serenity: Mindfulness Apps to Try During National Stress Awareness Month

In today’s fast-paced world, it can feel natural to “go, go, go” without taking the proper time to rest and give yourself the time you need to relax and recover. Then, when you do have a free minute for a brain break—such as sitting at the coffee shop or lying in bed at night—it can be tempting to use that time to scroll, tap and swipe through social media rather than getting the healthy self-care you need.

That’s why we’re sharing ways to be more mindful with your screen time. Our team at Connections Wellness Group curated a selection of mindfulness apps designed to support your well-being during National Stress Awareness Month and beyond.

Whether you’re seeking moments of tranquility amidst a hectic schedule or looking to cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness, the right app can be a helpful tool to have in your pocket as you journey to inner peace. From meditation and breathwork to daily affirmations and screen time trackers, these resources offer a diverse range of features to suit your individual needs and preferences.

Managing ADHD, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders or simply seeking ways to destress? No matter where you are on your path to mental wellness, there are options for everyone on our list, all at your fingertips.

CWG’s Mental Health Experts’ Favorite Apps to Wind Down and Destress

  1. Calm
    There’s a reason why this app has more than 150 million downloads. Known as the #1 app for sleep, it’s renowned for its guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing exercises, mood check-ins and calming music, all crafted to reduce stress, promote relaxation and send you off to dreamland. The visually captivating interface and soothing audio content create an immersive experience conducive to mindfulness practice and emotional balance. Calm offers some free content, but the paid subscription unlocks a wider range of content, including The Sleep Story series, which offers narration from a range of celebrities, so you can fall asleep to the voices of Cillian Murphy, Regé-Jean Page, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Harry Styles and other famous figures.
  2. Headspace
    Much like Calm, you’ve probably heard of the Headspace app, and for good reason. Though its features address stress reduction and sleep (such as “sleepcasts” and bedtime toolkits for kids), the primary focus is on meditation made simple. It aims to help users learn to meditate in a few minutes a day. The library includes 500+ meditations with a range of topics in mind, from resilience to compassion, plus music playlists. This is a paid app, but it offers a free trial period.
  3. Meditation | Down Dog
    From the creators of the #1 rated yoga app, people love this app because of its personalization. It offers customizable meditation sessions tailored to your preferences, including session length, background music and instructor voice. Choose between calming music, nature sounds, brainwaves and spiritual playlists. Soothing voice prompts and tranquil background sounds allow users to find calmness and focus through guided, sleep or walking meditations amid the chaos of daily life. Practices are offered in 10 different languages! This app requires a paid subscription, but it offers discounts for new users.
  4. Insight Timer
    With options for beginners and experienced practitioners alike, Insight Timer offers a wide range of mental health content that targets anxiety, stress, burnout, fear, loneliness, pregnancy, relationships, breakups and more. There are guided meditations, live featured events, calming music and insightful talks. And one of the best parts? It offers many of the same features as the others on our list, but is free! Though much of the content is free, it also offers a premium content subscription and paid courses for learning. It also offers free meditation and sleep tracks for toddlers, young kids and tweens.
  5. Breathwrk
    This app offers a collection of breathwork exercises designed to reduce stress, improve focus, increase stamina, encourage relaxation and fall asleep quickly, all with different exercises for different moods. Through simple yet powerful breathing techniques that are rooted in clinical evidence, users can regulate their nervous systems, calm their minds and release tension from their bodies. With customizable sessions and progress-tracking features, Breathwrk empowers users to harness the transformative power of their breath to cultivate mindfulness and emotional well-being. The cost to use the app is similar to the other paid apps on this list, with a free trial opportunity.

Apps to Keep You on Track with Mental Health Goals

  1. MindDoc
    The MindDoc app was created for individuals who want to stay on top of their mental health, are feeling emotionally distressed or have been diagnosed with a mental illness. It offers personalized mental health assessments, mood tracking and therapy exercises to support users in managing anxiety, depression and other mood disorders in between treatment sessions and continuing care. Through evidence-based strategies and psychoeducation, MindDoc helps users develop insight into their emotional patterns and build resilience to stress. The app is offered in both a free version and a paid version.
  2. Me+ Daily Routine Planner
    Designed with ADHD in mind, Me+ is a daily routine planner that helps users organize tasks, set goals, track moods, build good habits and prioritize self-care activities. By scheduling time for mindfulness practices, exercise and relaxation, Me+ encourages users to cultivate a balanced lifestyle. The hope is that by using this app, obstacles that seemed unsurpassable will soon become overcome and forgotten. There is a cost to use this app.
  3. Daylio
    This simple self-care journal takes daily entries in two simple taps, as users pick their mood and daily activities. Android users also have the option to write notes, use writing templates, attach photos or record voice memos to deepen their journaling. We like to use it to evaluate our days, discover patterns of behavior and identify triggers, all while building healthy habits. The brand takes privacy seriously, keeping the content you input safe and secure. Like many of the others on the list, there is a small cost to use this app.
  4. Productive
    We know, an app called “Productive” might seem counterproductive when it comes to relaxation, but tracking habits like drinking water and reading can help users build and maintain positive routines to not only enhance productivity, but overall well-being. By setting goals, creating customizable habits and tracking progress over time, users are becoming more intentional about their daily routines, which can lead to better health, happiness and personal growth. This app offers smart reminders, detailed analysis and rewarding milestones. The app is free with in-app purchase options, but users can upgrade to the paid subscription.
  5. Finch: Self-Care Pet
    This app is for all the 90s kids…remember Tamagatchis? Finch makes self-care fun, as you will take care of your cute virtual “pet” by taking care of yourself. With a number of mindfulness goals and exercises, this tracker takes self-care from a chore to a reward, especially for those who may be struggling with habits, self-love or depression. There are both free and paid versions of this app, both of which provide a full virtual pet experience, though the paid subscription offers more features.

Apps That Provide Extra Support for Specific Self-Care Needs

  1. Refocus
    Social media and screen time are hot topics lately as it relates to stress. If you feel overwhelmed by Instagram or distracted by TikTok, Refocus is for you. The app encourages users to take breaks and shift their attention to reduce digital distractions by limiting screen time and blocking apps and websites, all under their control and customization. By providing gentle reminders to pause and breathe throughout the day, as well as adding extra steps to unblock the app, Refocus helps form great habits and promotes mindfulness in the midst of technology-driven lifestyles. This is a free app that also offers “pro” versions for a fee.
  2. Tappy
    Speaking of shifting focus, Tappy is a haptic fidget app that uses sensory stimulation to help users find moments of calm and relaxation. Through technology, it stimulates the senses of touch and motion to provide a playful and satisfying way to unwind and release tension. Experience the joy of tapping and sliding with haptic responses and delightful sound effects through a wide range of engaging activities. It also offers mood tracking and journaling as an added perk. The app is free to use, though there is an ad-free version available for an added cost.
  3. I Am
    Through daily positive affirmations, this app intends to uplift and inspire users. The simple yet thoughtful phrases foster self-love and self-acceptance, nurture confidence and support users in manifesting their desires, all while overcoming negative self-talk. Users can select categories that represent the areas of life they would like to improve to practice the affirmations best suited to their needs. A free app is available, as well as premium versions for purchase.
  4. I Am Sober
    This tracker can be a beneficial tool for individuals on the road to sobriety. By tracking milestones, setting goals and connecting with a supportive, understanding community, it keeps users motivated, accountable and resilient in the face of addiction. Users can work to build new daily habits and learn from others who are making changes happen, so they do not feel alone as they work to overcome addiction. I Am Sober offers various tools and content for free, but members can upgrade to unlock extra resources.
  5. Nike Run Club
    Regular exercise can play a role in leading a lower-stress life. The Nike Run Club app has everything someone needs to get started or to keep running. It includes coaches to keep pace, training programs, ways to link with friends and other runners, route tracking, wellness tips and regular recognition of achievements. This free app can lead you on the road to mindfulness…or to your next big race.

Get More Support with Stress Relief

This month, we hope you take time to relax and learn something new about yourself as you explore these innovative tools that empower you to prioritize self-care, cultivate resilience and thrive in the face of life’s challenges. These apps are in no way intended to take the place of therapy or other treatment options, but we hope you can find one that will ease a bit of stress and give you more support to reach your mental health goals.

If you are in need of more support on your mental health journey, such as treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma or self-harm, please consider Connections Wellness Group to be part of your recovery. Whether it’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication management or daytime intense outpatient programs (IOP) or partial-hospitalization programs (PHP), we are here for you. With locations in the metropolitan areas of Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas, and Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., please reach out to us online to start the healing process.