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7860 Mission Center Ct, Suite 209
San Diego, CA, 92108

858.354.4077

At The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, our psychologists have years of experience. Unlike many other providers, our clinicians truly specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and related problems. Our mission is to apply only the most effective short-term psychological treatments supported by extensive scientific research. We are located in Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad, and Mission Valley.

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Read our award-winning blogs for useful information and tips about anxiety, stress, and related disorders.

 

Apps for Anxiety

Jill Stoddard

Written by Riley Cropper

Edited by Lauren Helm

Apps for Anxiety

 

Image source: www.business2community.com

Anxiety, or the anticipation of a future threat, can be an unpleasant and even debilitating aspect of a person’s life. Symptoms of anxiety may include but are not limited to worry, restlessness muscle tension, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Often, those with anxiety symptoms also engage in excessive avoidance of situations that had provoked anxious feelings in the past, thereby reducing an individual’s overall quality of life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 40 million American adults are affected by an anxiety disorder in a given year. Fortunately, we live in an age of expanding technology. It is common to search for the answers to our questions on the Internet, or hear from others that “there’s an app for that.”  The Internet and smartphone apps make finding useful tools and information for various types of issues readily accessible and available like never before, so why not use these technological advances to help us to address the unpleasant or stressful feelings we may encounter when we experience anxiety? Many of these apps or online resources are designed to supplement professional psychological care, and should not replace professional treatment; however, they may help you take a mental break in the middle of the day or reduce symptoms during a stressful moment. The best part? All but one app on this list are completely FREE!


Apps for Overall Anxiety Management

  • Stop Panic & Anxiety Help for Android (free)
    • Equipped with audio tracks to help you relax in the moment as well as a journal portion that asks you to write what happened and how you overcame it. That way, you can not only look back at all that you have overcome, but how exactly you did in case it ever comes up again! 
  • Worry Box Free for Android (free)
    • This app is a journal and self-help guide in one! First, you write down your thoughts or worries, then the app presents you with questions about these stressors and some tips for dealing with them. Additionally, it’s password protected so all of your information will be kept safe
  • Self-help for Anxiety Management (SAM) for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Allows the user to rate their level of anxiety or worry, then guides them through one of many relaxation exercises
  • Worry Watch for iPhone and iPad ($1.99)
    • User fills out a template that describes a recent worry then eventually makes a note of the outcome and whether this outcome was as bad as their initial worry. Then, the next time you feel worried you can return to the app and view the past entries that show that the outcome is rarely as bad as the original worry. This app is also password protected
  • MindShift for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Presents the user with strategies for specific symptoms or scenarios, such as test anxiety, social anxiety, performance anxiety, worry, conflict, panic, and perfectionism. Also allows you to “check yourself” by rating your symptoms. This app is especially helpful as it encourages the user to stop avoiding their worry and shift their fame of mind instead!

 

Apps for Meditation

  • Take a Break! for iPhone and Android (free)
    • A very basic meditation app that presents 2 guided meditations: a 7 minute “work break” or a 13 minute “stress relief” exercise. Also gives you the option to play nature sounds in the background
  • Calm for iPhone and Android (free) as well as free online at Calm.com
    • User selects an amount of time to meditate (from 2 to 20 minutes) as well as the theme of the guided meditation such as positivity, self-acceptance, or sleep. User can also select one of the “immersive nature scenes” to display throughout the exercise
  • Headspace for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Presents the user with 10 short guided meditations and allows them to track their progress over time and even set reminders for future meditation

 

Apps for Relaxing Soundtracks

  • Relax Melodies Free for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Select from 50 relaxing soundtracks to help put your mind and body at ease! Most useful for helping the user get to sleep as it allows you to set a sleep timer and an alarm for the next morning

 

Apps for Diaphragmatic Breathing

  • Breathe2Relax Free for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Allows user to rate their level of stress then guides them through a diaphragmatic breathing exercise. When phone volume is up the app plays relaxing noises in the background and tells the user when to breathe in and release. Also give the user a visual of the length of their breath and allows you to adjust the length as needed. Keeps track of your stress ratings over time
  • BellyBio Interactive Breathing for iPhone (free)
    • This is a biofeedback based app that monitors the user’s breathing while playing a soundtrack of ocean waves in the background

 

Additional Helpful Apps

  • Anti-Stress Quotes for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Presents the user with calming words of wisdom and also gives you the ability to save them for later or share via e-mail, text message, or Facebook
  • Positive Activity Jackpot for Android (free)
    • Based on pleasant events scheduling, this app utilizes the phone’s GPS to help users find enjoyable activities near their current location. The user can select the type of activity they’re looking for (e.g., “water activities”) or you can simply “pull the lever” to have the app pick for you! The app also provides you with the exact address of the activity and allows you to save locations for future use
  • T2 Mood Tracker for iPhone and Android (free)
    • Allows the user to track symptoms on 6 pre-loaded scales: anxiety, depression, well-being, stress, heady injury, and posttraumatic stress. This allows the user to see their symptoms over time to see what things may be contributing to these symptoms and also to help the user talk to their mental health provider about their progress over time or possible effects of medication changes. 
  •  PTSD Coach for iPhone and Android (free)
    • This app screens the user for symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and can also track symptoms over time. In addition, it provides tools for dealing with these symptoms, links for additional support, and even a section to help the user teach their friends and family about PTSD
  • Previdence for iPhone (free)
    • Allows the user to check symptoms of different disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as other issues like problematic relationships or drug or alcohol use. App then provides some recommendations based on the reported symptoms
  • Operation Reach Out for iPhone and Android (free)
    • This app was developed by the military to help prevent attempts of suicide. If the user is someone that is facing suicidal thoughts, the app allows them to enter the phone numbers of people they can call while in a crisis and also comes pre-loaded with a few suicide prevention hotlines. The app also has videos that encourage the user to reach out for help and provides instruction on how to do so. Other videos in the app give facts about solutions and treatment options, giving the user hope that things can get better. This app can also be helpful for those that are trying to help someone in a crisis, providing suggestions for how to best talk to the friend and get them the help they need. 

 

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 

(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing

Holland, K. (2014, May 27). The 18 best anxiety iPhone & Android apps of 2014. Retrieved

from http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/top-anxiety-iphone-android-apps

Kiume, S. (2013). Top 10 Free Mental Health Apps. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 16,

2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/09/20/top-10-free-mental-health-apps/

National Institute of Mental Health. (2009). Anxiety disorders. Retrieved from

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/nimhanxiety_34436.pdf

Weingus, L. (2014, October 27). 5 apps to help you cope with anxiety. Retrieved from

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/20/27/apps-anxiety_n_6054270.html