5 Mental Health Apps to Reduce Anxiety & Boost Happiness

Hiya Gorgeous!

Your mental health matters, and it’s time to make it a priority.

There, I said it! Yes, there’s a lot going on in our world and it may be easy to compare your struggles to those of others. And you do have a lot of reasons to be happy! But whatever ifs/ands/buts are going through your head right now, your mental health is still important.

Tough love time… You cannot be or do your best if you’re not taking care of yourself. End of story! If you dedicate every moment of time and ounce of energy to everyone and everything but yourself, you will eventually burn (or spin) out. You can count on that.

Luckily, helping yourself and helping others aren’t mutually exclusive! Self-love isn’t selfish. Practicing it actually makes you better equipped to love and care for other people, animals, causes, etc. Prioritizing your mental health doesn’t have to mean neglecting everything else—you can do both, I promise.

I know it can be intimidating to face your innermost thoughts and challenges, but I’m right here with you! Also, rest assured that you can go at your own pace. While it’s great to dig deep if and when you’re ready, this kind of self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming on a daily basis—especially when you have the right tools at your disposal.

And on that note, I’ve got good news… You’re about to get some wonderful tools for your toolbox! I’m sharing 5 mental health apps that will help you reduce stress and anxiety, prioritize happiness and balance, and practice self-love in just minutes a day.

Sound like a plan? Let’s get into it!

5 Mental Health Apps to Reduce Anxiety & Boost Happiness

1. BetterHelp: Professional Counseling in Your Pocket

I’m a big believer in the power of therapy. I think everyone should have a therapist! Not just when we’re facing specific challenges or major life events, because let’s be honest—being human isn’t always easy, no matter what your circumstances are.

BetterHelp is first on my list of must-have mental health apps because its mission is to make counseling more accessible, affordable and convenient (can I get a heck yes?!). Just download the app, answer some questions and voila, meet your very own professional, licensed counselor!

From there, you can schedule live chat, video or phone sessions with your therapist, and send them messages anytime you want through the app. BetterHelp literally puts your therapist in your pocket, how cool is that? No worries if it’s not a match—you can request a new counselor anytime.

Online counseling is a great option if you’re traveling, between therapists or just want some extra support. It’s also good for folks who have limited or no access to other mental health resources for whatever reason, such as lack of reliable transportation or limited ability to leave the house. Some people also don’t feel safe or comfortable seeking help in person, and need a more discrete alternative.

Cost is still a barrier for many, but e-counseling may be slightly cheaper depending on factors like insurance coverage (BetterHelp costs $40-70 per week depending on the services you use). We definitely have more progress to make in that area!

Important note: BetterHelp is not suited for those in crisis or with severe mental illnesses. If you or someone you know is in danger, or having thoughts of self-harm or hurting others, please reach out to one of the organizations on this list. If this is an emergency, please call 911.

Check out BetterHelp for iPhone here and Android here (you can also get started on the website).

2. The Tapping Solution: A Simple Technique for Breaking through Mental Blocks

Thanks to my dear friend Nick Ortner, I’ve been reaping the benefits of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka “Tapping”) for years. This practice, which is a combination of ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology, has helped me work through some of my biggest mental and emotional blocks—I can’t wait for you to experience it!

When practicing EFT, you literally tap on acupressure points (your body’s meridian points) while saying simple affirmations and focusing on a particular negative emotion, event, etc. Tapping has been shown to help treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, pain and more (source). This powerful healing method is no joke!

If you’re intrigued and want to try it out, I can’t recommend The Tapping Solution app enough. Nick and his team created this app for newbie and experienced tappers alike. It’s chock full of exercises designed to free you from fear and anxiety, and address numerous other mental health challenges. There’s even a quick Tapping Basics series to help you get up to speed!

The free version of the app is a great place to start because it comes with plenty of sessions to choose from, such as Instant Boost of Happiness and Motivate Me to Have a Productive Day. Then if you love Tapping as much as I think you will, you can upgrade to the full subscription ($11.99/month) to get access to the full library, new sessions every month, and the ability to download and listen offline.

Get The Tapping Solution app for iPhone here and Android here!

3. Sanvello: Meditations for Every Mood

It probably comes as no surprise that my list of favorite mental health apps includes one for meditation. Consistent meditation is how I stay centered in busy times, sad times, exciting times and well, all of the time, really!

In addition to my own meditation albums (of course I have to shout them out!), finding an app that works for you is a great way to start or grow your own practice. I’ve been a dedicated Headspace user for quite a while now. It’s one of the most popular meditation apps for good reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect fit for everyone. We all have different needs and preferences, so I’m sharing a lesser-known alternative to show you just how many options you have to choose from!

And to be honest, Sanvello is more than just a meditation app. In the company’s own words, “Sanvello gives you clinically validated techniques to help you manage your moods and thoughts, so you can understand what works for you to feel better.” That’s done through features like daily mood-tracking, community discussion, guided journeys to address your specific challenges and, of course, meditations for every mood!

There are mindfulness meditations to help you connect with your senses and check in with your body. You’ll also find guided tracks for stressful situations like flying and going to the doctor. The free version of Sanvello gives you access to some meditations, or you can subscribe for $8.99 a month for the whole library and lots of other awesome tools.

Like I said before, finding an app you’re comfortable with is key to consistency with meditation (if you hate using it, you probably won’t!). Every app has different features and strengths, so don’t hesitate to try a few out before settling on a go-to. Based on my own experience and research, as well as recommendations I’ve gotten from other people, you may also want to check out Oak, Calm, 10% Happier, Insight Timer and The Mindfulness App (just to name a few!).

Get Sanvello for iPhone here and Android here!

Psst… Need a quick mood booster? My Pep Talk meditation is just the ticket—download it free today so you can listen whenever you need some stress-busting magic!

4. ThinkUp: Reprogram Your Mind for Positive Thinking

Affirmations are a big part of my personal self-care practice, which is why ThinkUp is one of my favorite mental health apps. Whether you’ve got sticky note affirmations posted everywhere in sight or you’ve never even heard the term, this tool is a fantastic way to inject your day with positivity and spark long-term mindset shifts that improve your overall well-being.

Positive affirmations are self-empowering statements that you repeat to yourself (similar to a mantra) on a regular basis to reprogram or override limiting beliefs. So say you have a recurring negative thought pattern about being unqualified for your new job—a good affirmation might be, “I am capable and qualified. I trust myself to do this work.”

I’ve found affirmations to be incredibly powerful in all areas of my life—personal and professional situations, relationships with myself and others, goals big and small, and everything in-between. And thanks to ThinkUp, I can have them at my fingertips whenever I want to practice positive thinking or need a quick jolt of reassurance.

This easy-to-use app gives you access to a whole library of affirmations for channeling self-confidence and gratitude, dealing with anxiety and depression, and so much more. When you find an affirmation that resonates with you (or want to write your own), you can save it to your favorites and organize them into categories. For example, you might have one set of statements to help you relax and another for when you want to spark motivation.

And here’s the best part: You can record yourself saying the affirmation and save it to play back as part of your practice. It might feel a little silly or uncomfortable at first, but according to ThinkUp, our brains are more receptive to our own voices. Listening back to these recordings, especially when you’re not feeling your best, can be a potent reminder of your inner confidence and wisdom.

A limited version of ThinkUp is available for free, so start there and see what you think! Then if you want to expand your practice, the premium subscription is $7.99 a month.

Download ThinkUp for iPhone here and Android here! If you’re looking for an alternative, check out Unique Daily Affirmations.

5. iBreathe: Get Centered with the Power of Your Breath

Have you ever caught yourself holding your breath? We don’t just do this when we’re on the edge of our seats watching a scary movie—it can be a sign of stress or anxiety, too. Many folks also experience trouble breathing or shortness of breath during panic attacks.

Luckily, breathing is something we can improve with practice. We can even turn it into a tool that helps us access a sense of calm and safety when everything seems to be going sideways. This isn’t just some woo-woo nonsense, my friend… it’s science! Slow, deep breathing has been shown to activate your vagus nerve (part of the parasympathetic nervous system), which effectively triggers a relaxation response in your body (source).

Breathwork has been part of my self-care routine for a long time, so I admit that I was skeptical when I first heard about iBreathe (do I really need an app for such a straightforward practice?!). But as soon as I used it, I saw the power in its simplicity. The app guides you through your choice of breathing exercise (including 4-7-8, Ujjayi and box methods) with simple visuals, vocal queues and haptic feedback. It’s easy to customize and you can even add reminders so you don’t forget to practice!

I have the free version of iBreathe, but you can remove the ads if you want for $1.99. I always feel more grounded when I start my morning with this app. And when I’m dealing with anxiety, it helps me use my breath to come back to myself. Inhale, exhale… ahhhh!

Check out iBreathe for iPhone here. It’s not currently available for Android, but Breathly is an alternative that appears to have similar functionality!

I hope one (or a few!) of these mental health apps becomes a resource for you, dear one!

And please know that whatever you’re going through, you are not broken. These apps (and any mental health support, for that matter) aren’t designed to make you whole—you’re already complete, just as you are. But if these tools can give you a boost or some support along the way, then that’s a win in my book!

Your turn: Which mental health apps have made a difference in your life? If you haven’t found one yet, which app from my list will you try?

Peace & hAPPiness,

Kris Carr

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