13 Cheap (or Free!) Apps That'll Help You Feel Better When You're Going Through a Rough Patch
More and more, your state of mind and physical wellbeing are being recognized as essential factors in determining your mood, work ethic, and general productivity level. And when you’re stuck in a bad mood that you can’t quite shake, it’s not just productivity that’s at stake—it’s your day’s sanity.
So, whether it’s pre-interview jitters or heavy rain clouds getting you down, here’s a list of phone apps, available on iOS or Android, that are sure to help you feel better, both in the moment and long-term. Best part? Most of them are free.
Mitigating Stress and Anxiety
This is my favorite app to go to when I’m stressed out, overwhelmed, or generally just in a funk. Built to respond to your exact feelings in the moment, the program lets you select five adjectives to describe your mood, from categories like happiness, sadness, anger, and more. Then it spits out a few meditation sequences (most of them less than 15 minutes long) to put you in a better mental space.
A daily 10-minute mindfulness sequence, the app teaches you how to meditate by building on your routines over time. Self-proclaimed as a “gym membership for your mind,” the free app’s backed by science to act as a long-term treatment for stress, anxiety, distraction, and so on.
An ambient noise platform available for free in your web browser or for $1.99 to download on your smart phone, this app has sound settings for almost every environment you would want to be in to help you focus. Whether you’re in a rainy day mood or you want the crackling sounds of a fire, you can use the random, productivity, or relax sessions to try something new every day or find what works for you best.
4. SAM App
SAM, or Self-help for Anxiety Management, is exactly what it sounds like—an app that helps you “understand and manage anxiety.” By monitoring your day-to-day moods, offering you exercises for personal reflection, and gauging where your anxiety comes from, the platform’s extremely helpful for anything from baby steps towards feeling better to long-term methods for relief.
Establishing Good Habits
Probably most helpful because it syncs across all your web and mobile platforms, Any.do organizes all your goals, from daily to-do list tasks to long-term personal projects.
A leading habit-tracking app for iOS and Android, this free program helps people learn new skills, get fit, work on relationships, and more. By encouraging consistency over time, celebrating milestones, and setting you up for realistic progress, the app is a tried-and-true system that more than one million people have enjoyed.
If you get mid-day headaches, have a hard time focusing, or generally feel sluggish, it could just be that you’re dehydrated during the day. Thanks to WaterMinder, you can keep track of how much water you’re drinking. Even more, the app takes into account your habits and will set up phone notifications to remind you when to get another glass. It's available for $1.99 for iOS or free for Android.
If you’re like me, then you also need a community to keep you motivated in developing consistent fitness and health routines, like a weekly yoga session or a group fitness class. The cool thing about this app is that it helps you do just that—find and access local networks for healthy living, whether that’s a fitness class or a beauty service. Even better? It helps you find all the best deals for them, too.
Regardless if you want to track your average heart rate long term or just find out if you’re stressed out in the moment, this app’s good for helping you stay in tune with how your body is doing. If you want a good way to keep track of your health and get ahead on lengthening your life span, this tracker will help you do just that. You can download the "first, fastest, and most accurate mobile heart rate monitor" for free on iOS or Android.
10. Sleep Cycle
This is your sleep tracker, health analyzer, and alarm clock—all rolled into one. All you have to do is download the app on your smartphone and leave it on your night stand or in your bed overnight, and it works it magic. By keeping track of your sleep cycle, it calculates the best time to wake you up. Best part? People will actually start enjoying being around you in the mornings. You can get it free for iOS or for $0.99 for Android.
Practicing Confidence and Gratitude
Interested in developing a more optimistic attitude? Science says it has everything to do with practicing thankfulness as a habit. This app, which acts as a daily gratitude journal for you to keep track of those memories you relish the most, has been proven to help you become more creative, sleep better, and work with greater productivity.
Whether you’re practicing your big spiel for a big company presentation or an important job interview, you want to make sure you nail it right—and that means getting your pace right, too. If you notice yourself rushing, this free metronome app is perfect for perfecting your timing and delivery.
If you wish you had a happier or more successful life, Bliss promises to deliver just that with tried-and-true psychological exercises for building positive energy. It treats optimism as a muscle you can strengthen, and gives you all the tools you need to work it out.
Photo of person using phone courtesy of Phil Boorman/Getty Images.
Caroline Liu is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and computer programmer studying at Wesleyan University. She is pursuing majors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science in order to bridge her passions for tech, design, and social justice. Learn more about Caroline on her website or follow her on Twitter.More from this Author